Sunday, November 6, 2011

Faith and Disney: Mulan


Faith and Disney.  Two things that are very dear to me!  If you have been a follower of my blog for a while, you know I do a weekly segment on Sundays called "Faith and Disney."  I have done "Disney Bible Studies" with my junior high youth at church for a while now.  We will watch a short clip from a Disney movie and have a lesson based on the moral or theme of the clip.  This week's lesson is on Mulan.  

Share movie recap: (read this out loud to the group and stop after the bold questions to have the youth answer)

In the time that this story takes place, Chinese women brought their families honor by marrying well and having sons. What do you think would bring your family honor?  However, Mulan is not a typical Chinese girl.  In what ways do you feel you are not typical?  What makes you special?  When Mulan’s father is called to join the army and fight the Huns, she believes he won’t survive another war. So Mulan pretends to be his son and enlists to fight in her father’s place.  Would you lie for your family to save their life?  If the truth is discovered, there will be ultimate dishonor for her father and death for Mulan.  What would keep us from being willing to do something like this for our family?

Watch Movie Clip- Start 1:01:58 “I was this close…this close.”  End 1:04:08 “I promise.”
After her regiment abandons her in the mountains, Mulan admits she joined the army with less than honorable intentions.  She really wanted to prove that she could do something right and that her life is worthwhile, but she ended up feeling like a bigger failure than before.  Mushu tries to offer a little comfort by confessing that he’s also a fraud.  Regardless of their intentions, it’s time to go home and face the consequences- and Mulan’s father. Mushu promises they’ll do so together.

  • Before this scene began, Mulan’s bravery stopped the Huns and saved her commander’s life.  Yet Mulan says she sees nothing when she looks at her reflection.  How can Mulan let one mistake negate all the good she’s done since joining the army?  Can you relate to her way of thinking?  Why do people forget all the good stuff about themselves when they are feeling low?

  • Mulan isn’t looking forward to facing her father.  On a scale of 1 (I can talk about anything at any time) to 10 (no one understands me!) rate how easy or difficult it is for you to talk with your parents when you’re feeling low.

  • Using the same scale, rate how easy or difficult it is for you to talk to God when you’re blue.

  • Now rate yourself in terms of talking to your friends in the same situation.  If there’s a significant difference between the three ratings, explain why.

  • Who are the people you talk to the most when you are feeling down?  Make a list on newsprint of ways they try to cheer you up to comfort you.  Which ways work best for you?  How do you try to cheer people up when they are down?

  • Read Hebrews 12:7-11
    7
    Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 10Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.


    This tells how God proves his love for us through discipline.  Name some ways that discipline can serve as proof of love.  (This might need explanation.)

·     Have a youth summarize the parable of the lost son or the prodigal son found in Luke 15:11-24.   Then read it from the bible:
11Jesus continued: "There was a man who had two sons. 12The younger one said to his father, 'Father, give me my share of the estate.' So he divided his property between them.     13"Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
    17When he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.' 20So he got up and went to his father.
      But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
    21"The son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.
    22"But the father said to his servants, 'Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. 24For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' So they began to celebrate.

Where do you see Mulan in this story?   How might this story encourage Mulan as she heads home? Where do you see yourself in this story?   What does it say to you about talking with your parents about your mistakes?  How does this parable encourage you to talk to God? 

How does Psalms 34:17-18
encourage you to talk to God? (17 The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. 18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.)

2 comments:

  1. Great thought provoking questions regarding one of my favorite Disney films. Even if you don't have children to bounce these questions off of taking a personal inventory of your answers makes it fun.

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  2. I love this movie. When I was younger, this was my fave Disney movie. In fact, it still is. My dad claims I made him watch it too much, lol

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