September 2010 Study Guide

Bible Blurbs

“More tortuous than all else is the human heart, beyond remedy; who can understand it? I, the LORD, alone probe the mind and test the heart”
Jeremiah 17:9-10

“The eye is not satisfied with seeing nor is the ear filled with hearing… Nothing is new under the sun. Even the thing of which we say, “See, this is new!” has already existed in the ages that preceded us.”
Ecclesiastes 1:8-10

“What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? Or what can one give in exchange for his life?”
Matthew 16:26

“Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.”
Romans 12:2

Catechism Clips

1723:
The beatitude we are promised confronts us with decisive moral choices… It teaches us that true happiness is not found in riches or well-being, in human fame or power, or in any human achievement… but in God alone…
2501:
Arising from talent given by the Creator and from man’s own effort, ar t is a form of practical wisdom, uniting knowledge and skill,to give form to the truth of reality… To the extent that it is inspired by truth and love of beings, art bears a certain likeness to God’s activity in what he has created.
2513:
The fine arts, but above all sacred art, “of their nature are directed toward expressing in some way the infinite beauty of God in works made by human hands.

Pope Quotes

Society needs artists, just as it needs scientists, technicians, workers, professional people…, who ensure the growth of the person and the development of the community…”
–Pope John Paul II, Letter to Artists, April 1999

Artists… know, too, that they must labor without allowing themselves to be driven by the search for empty glory or the craving for cheap popularity; and still less by the calculation of some possible profit for themselves.”
–Pope John Paul II, Letter to Artists, April 1999

In the place of irrelevant or harmful shows, present pictures that are good, noble, beautiful, which undoubtedly can be made attractive and uplifting at the same time, and even reach a high artistic level. You will have the agreement and approval of everyone of upright mind and heart, and above all the approval of your own consciences.”
–Pope Pius XII, Address to the Cinema Industry, June 1955

Only through an encounter with God are we able to see in the other something more than just another creature, to recognize the divine image in the other, thus truly coming to discover him or her and to mature…”
–Pope Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate

Activity

Pick a Lady Gaga song. Rewrite some of the words so the song portrays a positive or hopeful message that values purity and dignity. If you can, post the new lyrics as a comment to this story on ourfaithinaction.com.

Debate

There is a famous saying from Lord Acton: Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Can the same be said for fame? Does fame corrupt like power? Divide in to two teams, and debate: one side argues that fame leads to compromise of one’s values and corruption, the other argues that one can be famous and maintain their morality. Find examples to back up your arguments.

Discussion Questions

1. Lady Gaga said that she is completely devoted to love and art. Yet, when asked about her zany shows and crazy public antics, she says that it’s all about putting on a show to become famous. She seems to have dedicated her career to fame. Is this a contradiction? Can someone be truly devoted to love and to their artistic expression, and at the same time be motivated by fame and money?
2. Lady Gaga is a very talented musician and songwriter. Do you think it is necessary for her to engage in outlandish behavior, wear scandalous costumes, or present herself in public wearing her underwear in order to be successful? Do you think she could do well in music without these things? Do you think there might be some other, hidden reason why she does these things?
3. Do you believe there is a point at which one person’s self expression crosses the line and starts to offend someone else’s rights? Does freedom of speech include indecent language, clothing, behavior, and obscene gestures? Who should get to decide what is proper for public behavior?
4. As extreme as some of Lady Gaga’s negative behavior is, we have seen that she can still say some really good things. Does this mean that God can still use and work through negative people and situations? Can God allow someone to do something that is for our good, and for His glory, without that person even intending to do something good?
5. Lady Gaga claims to be a feminist, and yet often times it appears as though she is allowing herself, and teaching other girls that it is ok, to have her body and sexuality used to get negative attention. Is this really in a woman’s best interest? Does this serve to make stereotypes stronger? Is there such a thing as truly good feminism? If so, what does it look like? Who are some examples of this?
6. Lady Gaga says she is spiritual, but not religious. What do you think that means? Is it possible? Can anyone just make up their own way to God? Didn’t God give us the ten commandments, and didn’t Jesus give us the Church? Why would he do this if we could just make it up on our own?

Definitions

1. faith – “the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1) One of the Theological Virtues, a gift God gives to us which enables us to believe even without seeing
2. dignity – the value and respect due to every human person simply because they are created in the image and likeness of God.
3. self destructive – causing yourself harm or injury, whether physically, emotionally, spiritually, or mentally. This is a sure sign of evil, as God always builds and makes grow and evil always seeks to break down or destroy.
4. celibate – traditionally it meant unmarried; in modern usage it means, more specifically, abstaining from sexual relations.
5. doubts – ideas or thoughts which no longer make sense, or we have unanswered questions about. Things which cause us to question what we were taught or had previously believed.
6. religious – following a set of beliefs, behaviors, and rituals in order to communicate with or please God (or a god, or many gods in some cases).
7. marginalized – literally, pushed to the outside; a feeling of being excluded or left out.
8. humility – – willingness to be obedient to God, recognizing one’s need for Him; aware of both one’s strengths and weaknesses.
9. trust – – confidence and peace knowing that God (or another) is taking care of something we need.
10. chaos lack of order, structure, or routine; unpredictable and without any boundaries.
11. self discovery the journey of learning who we are, who God made us to be, and how we fit in to the world around us.

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