Monsters, Inc. and Apocalypse
Topic for Conversation: Middle school youth love to talk about the end of the world. Apocalypse is a word that gets thrown around and misused fairly often. The word “apocalypse” actually means “unveiling” or “lifting the curtain”. In this short study the youth will explore the true meaning of “apocalypse” with the help of a clip from Monsters, Inc. This could be a beginning session to a deeper study of “apocalypse”, or you can use it as a stand-alone session to help youth understand the true meaning behind the word.
Age group/intended group for discussion: Middle School Youth/ High school youth
Time frame: 30 minutes
Film (Title, year, director, availability – sources and formats): Monsters, Inc, 2001, Peter Docter DVD, Blue Ray, Netflix DVD
Scene(s) to use: Chapter 1 on DVD, “Monster in the Closet”, Time frame 1:32-3:21
Description of scene(s): This clip is the opening scene of the movie. A monster sneaks into a boys room to scare him. Little do we know that this is a simulation for practice. All is revealed when the horn blows and the curtains are raised exposing the demonstration.
How to set up clip viewing: Not much description is needed here since the clip is so short and it’s the beginning of the movie. The plot line does little to help this study. Let the youth just watch the clip and get the surprise of the unveiling of the simulation for those who have not seen it. Simply tell them that you are going to talk about the apocalypse and watch a short clip from Monsters, Inc.
Questions to ask Youth before watching clip: (Write out these answers for all to see.)
1. What movies have you seen that are about the end of the world?
2. What does “apocalypse” mean? (Don’t give them the answer yet!)
3. Do you ever get scared or nervous when people start talking about the end of the world? (or Mayan Calendar, 2012, etc).
4. What is God’s role in this world? (Creation, sustaining, redeeming, etc)
5. Where do you get your knowledge about your opinion of the end of times?
View the clip: Chapter 1 on DVD, “Monster in the Closet”, Time frame 1:32-3:21
Theological conversation after viewing:
1. Ask someone to explain what happened in the clip.
2. As a group turn to Revelation 21:1-5. You read it once. Ask a youth to read it. And then you read it again.
3. Bible discussion:
a. What does John see in this passage?
b. What are some things that are “no more” in this new heaven and new earth?
c. This passage says God will dwell among his people. What would it be like for God to live next door to you?
4. Say this to the youth or say it in your own words: “In the movie clip we saw a monster in a simulation. The curtains were raised and then we saw what was really going on. This is one way to think about what “apocalypse” means. It means “Unveiling” or “Lifting the curtain”. When we hear talk about “apocalypse” and the end of the world we can be assured that this should not be a scary thing. God will make all things new and “lift the curtain” so we can see how the Kingdom of Heaven actually works. On “that day”, whatever and whenever that may be, we have hope that God will be with us and that death and pain will be no more. God will put an end to injustice for good and all people will see the truth which is Christ our Lord. This may be confusing for some or all ofyou, and that’s OK. The point of today’s session is to understand what “apocalypse” really means and that God is the one who reigns supreme. “
6: Activities- Do at least one depending on time.
Option 1: Split the youth into groups of 2-3. Give each youth a poster board and some markers. Instruct them to make their own version of “end of the world” signs that use Revelation 21:1-5.
Option 2: Split youth into two groups. They will have a debate, each group taking one side of the argument regardless of their personal opinion. First group will take the argument that the world will end this year and all must repent or go to Hell. The other group will take the side of Revelation 21:1-5 that God will “Wipe away every tear from their eyes and death will be no more”. Ideally an adult or two will be with each group to help the debate along.
Give each side 1 minute to talk then the other side 1 minute to respond. Do the same so that other side can have their turn to speak. If you do this activity use these questions at the end to help debrief:
a. Pick a side: How did you feel when the other side disagreed with you?
b. Which side had more Biblical support?
c. Which side would you more likely follow if you had to pick one? Why?
d. Why do you think some people focus on “not going to Hell” as a argument?
e. Knowing what you know now, how would you respond to each group?
Close the session:
Gather the group in a circle. Ask for prayer requests to be shared. Write down the prayer requests on newsprint for all to see. Assign each youth a particular request that was not their own to pray for. Tell them to say the request when prompted in the prayer time.
Pray this prayer or make one up:
Gracious God, we thank you for loving us beyond our understanding. Help us to understand that you are the one who will lift the curtain and one day we will truly see. Give us the courage to meet everyone with love, especially those we don’t agree with. Lord listen to your children as we pray: (Prayer requests). Lord we believe you are a God who hears us when we pray. Be with all these people and others as we all seek to see Your face. In Christ’s name, Amen.