A session looking at the phenomenon that was Big Brother.. some people love it, some people hate it, but let’s dive in to take a closer look at it.. this was done in response to your searches done on this site for this! Add, use, choose the content as you want/need. This is not a great TV show so just be careful – don’t waste your life watching it! (As of November 2018, Big Brother is no longer running in the UK).
If TV is a reflection of our society, what does Big Brother now say about modern Britain, our values, our media..?
- How do we respond to Big Brother and the phenomenon / reality TV?
- As Christians, what do we do?
- Do we watch Big Brother?
- Do we encourage young people not to watch it?
- Are there any alternatives that?
- How do we react in love but with truth?
- Is it totally mindless drivel?
- How do we pray for the candidates?
One of my passions is that as church, we need to become more radically Biblical in order to live lives that feature the full life and fullness of Jesus. Too often we have churches ministering without the power of the Holy Spirit, or irrelevantly. No wonder people choose to watch Big Brother and do all kinds of damaging things. I’m not saying we should compete. What I’m saying is that the call of Jesus, the relevancy of church, the excitement and passion of the Spirit filled life needs to become such that anything else becomes irrelevant and lame in comparison.
1. If we have true life, full life, THE life in Jesus, why are we so bad at expressing it? How do we reach that place?
2. What can we learn from Big Brother? (In terms of perhaps human relationships, loving others, living in a community)
3. Before we judge too closely, how would we do in that situation?
Set up sketch / movie – and film it
What you do is get the youth leaders and/or others in a room from someone’s house, preferably a house the young people won’t recognise, and a room that’s pretty small. The youth leaders/others then become the Big Brother household.. Write a script involving the ‘inmates’ and add lots of spicey twists – ones that relate to the leaders and/or the group. You could even have leaders take on acting roles and become another character – like a vicar, or whatever.. You could even nominate someone to leave and then film them leaving etc. This will all need to be filmed and edited if necessary!
Now we cut ‘live’ to you doing this session with your young people.
Then get 2 youth leaders out the front with a pre-prepared script – a ‘presenter’ and a ‘psychologist’ (dressed in white coat, with beard for effect) to watch the housemates behaviour (the pre-recorded footage which you’ll then play back) and comment on it. Make sure the comments are funny!
Have the film you’ve made cued up and ready to roll, controlled by the ‘presenter’. The presenter can pause the it every so often to then comment on what has been seen.
For example, perhaps 2 people are scripted in the ‘Big Brother’ house part to have a pretend row. Maybe in real life, those 2 people are married to each other. When you play the the film back then pause it, someone could say, “I see there’s an argument going on, I bet that never happens in real life” etc.
Big Brother Chair
This can be live in the room – or you can get people going out to say something in another room, being filmed. Decide what kinds of questions you’d ask. Make them fun, relevant, Biblical or whatever. ‘Which New Testament character would you be and why?’ or ‘Do you like Big Brother? Why or why not?’ etc. If you film it, make sure you tell them only 1 minute each maximum, then bring the tape through and replay back to the group.
Ask a few questions about Big Brother in this section and try to get a good discussion going, if your group is up for it.. if not, then talk through the issues as you see them, and ask other leaders or young people to chip in with their comments
1. Is the Big Brother chair like a kind of ‘confession’ (explain that Catholic churches can have a confession box where people confess their sins to the priest confidentially)
2. Or is the Big Brother chair like a patient’s chair in a psychiatrist’s room? Do you think people talk or listen enough to others?
3. Why do people like Big Brother? (real life, people can feel involved in someone else’s life, they step outside of their own maybe boring life, we are interested in other people deep down etc.)
4. Do you think Big Brother is spiritual in any way? How? Why?
Spiritual Big Brother?
In some ways, there are issues from Big Brother we can draw out..
1. We are all ‘contestants’ in a very big ‘Big Brother’ and it’s called Planet Earth! The difference between us and the housemates is that we have a choice about being evicted. What is being evicted? It’s not spending eternity with God. We have a clear choice. Jesus or hell. It’s very simple. But we have a choice, unlike the housemates who get evicted at the whims of the public vote.
2. We can watch Big Brother 24/7. Some sad people do practically. Yet our lives are constantly on display, except it’s God who sees all. The Big Brother programme produces all kinds of experts to assess the housemates. But God sees right into the centre of our beings, hearts and minds. God knows everything, sees everything. Right now, your life and thought life is on display to God. Aren’t you glad that other people can’t see the thoughts in your mind! I am! Aren’t you glad that through Jesus and our confession of the wrong stuff we do, God chooses to set aside our sins and look at us through the sacrifice of Jesus.
3. Big Brother is a snapshot on the world. Leave people in the house long enough and there will be all kinds of things happen, that happen in our world. I was watching a programme on vandalism and it said the answer was to evict people from houses if they caused problems and disorder. They’re right but it’s only a temporary solution. The only thing that will make a difference in this world is a changed heart and only Jesus can do that. People watch Big Brother and step outside their own, often boring (some would even say pointless?) lives. But like The Truman show, once the programme ends, we are forced to confront our own reality. The only way to get real life is through Jesus who said that he’s THE life. (John 14.6)
PSALM 139 – The talk
If you want to find a good bit on this from The Bible then go visit Psalm 139.1-10 for a snapshot.
You can bring in the 3 points above and relate them to Psalm 139. For the first point, use Psalm 139.1-4. For the second point use Psalm 139.5-6. For the third point, use Psalm 139.7-10. Bring in other Bible verses as God brings them to mind.
But what else can we say?
Let’s go and visit Psalm 139.23-24 which is kind of the crunch point of these verses.
This is about God examining our hearts and thoughts, testing what we do, say and think. It’s about asking God to see if there is any evil in us and to help us walk on the road to everlasting life instead. You see, if there is evil in us, we need to ask God to reveal it and deal with it. It may go straight away, we may need to persist and work on something for a long time. The bad stuff can be physical – violence, anger. It may be in our minds – envy, lust. It may be in our words – lies, abuse.
Whatever it may be (and let’s face it, it’s most of the above for all of us at one level or another), then it puts up a barrier between us and God. Psalm 139 is like the Big Brother house. If they step out of line, say or do anything, have any ‘skeletons in the closet’ then the media will reveal them. With God, it’s more. We can’t run and hide from ourselves. We have to stop, face reality and ask God to change us. Admitting you need God’s help to change is the first step. Actually dealing with stuff is the next step. It’s hard but how does it apply to you today?
It may be appropriate for you to talk about your struggles and experiences of God here. Not too personal but what feels ‘God-right’.
Just a space for young people to confess sin, saying sorry, to pray, to ask God to help them etc. This can be low key in the quiet, or play music in the background etc. Whatever is comfortable for your group and how ever the Holy Spirit leads.
It may be good to say a closing prayer.