Nothing More and Nothing Less
Virginia Moffat, Darton Longman and Todd, 2017

£6.99 (Approx)
4.6
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Overview

What does it say on the tin?

Nothing More and Nothing Less is a new and original Lent course by Virginia Moffatt, which uses the powerful, multi-award winning film I, Daniel Blake, directed by Ken Loach and written by Paul Laverty, as an opportunity for us to question why so many people in our society are suffering, what causes injustice and oppression – looking at examples from Jesus’ time as well as today – and what we can do in response.

The course is based around five weekly group sessions entitled:

  • Systems of Oppression.
  • Staying Human.
  • Compassion in the Darkness.
  • Fighting Back or Giving In?
  • The Suffering Servant.

Each session includes suggested clips from I, Daniel Blake to watch as a group (with timings for a DVD or film download), reflection points and discussion starters, a suitable Bible reading and prayers, and a short section of suggestions for ways in which course members could make a positive practical response.

What do you get?

A small book that is directly related to the DVD of I, Daniel Blake (not included with the book). The book contains 5 sections designed to be incorporated into the five weeks of Lent. Each session contains three sections:

  1. Think: Each week begins with a couple of clips from the film to prompt thought and discussion facilitated by the group leader.
  2. Pray: This is followed by a time of prayer, based on the week’s theme.
  3. Act: The session concludes with some thoughts about further actions you could take.

Who is it for?

Adults, Small groups, Growing, Beginning

Review

  • What is the overall quality of material presentation?

    A neat book that is laid out in five sessions designed to fit over five weeks. Together, the book and film take you on an emotive journey through a realistic depiction of the hardships and struggles surrounding poverty, oppression and injustice in the 21st century. It provokes emotion, inspires mission and leads us on a journey to begin to understand how we might respond to these issues.

    How clear are its aims and outcomes?

    The book provides the opportunity for a group, over the five weeks, to journey through and question together why so many people in our society are suffering, what causes injustice and what we can do, as Christians, in response.

    How accessible are the leader’s notes?

    There is a small section at the front of the book explaining the layout of the sessions. The session notes give detailed instructions for the group, including film clips to study, discussion questions, Bible reading, prayers and application notes. Details for specific film clips to watch, including scene numbers are included. The session notes are fairly detailed and include timings and other practical details, which should provide sufficient content for the whole of the session, excluding worship. Each session will take about an hour and a half. There is no clear distinction between the leader and participant notes.

    Who could lead it?

    The book suggests having one leader to facilitate the group. However, this does not always have to be the same person each week. The book provides all the necessary details for leading the session and so should be accessible to new leaders too.

    How helpful are the participants’ resources?

    There are no specific participant resources and it is unclear if the group needs one copy or one per participant. It looks like it could work either way.

    How good is any digital material?

    Although the film is not included with the book, it is vital to watch it when using the resource. It is a very powerful and emotive film that creates a raw depiction of the state benefits system for people with disability. It is rated a 15 and includes very strong language.

    How much prep will I have to do?

    The book suggests watching the film together before starting the Lent course. The leader should pre-read the weekly session and familiarise themselves with the material, preparing the DVD materials also. The notes at the start of each session can either be read individually in advance or can be incorporated into a session.

    Is there website support? Links?

    No specific website support.

  • How well does it encourage interaction with the group?

    The sessions are structured for interaction between the group and include discussion questions, group prayer and action sections, designed for the group to discuss ways to apply the material and act on it.

    How well does it cater for a variety of both learning and delivery styles?

    Visual learning, reading and discussion questions.

    How adaptable is it to my situation?

    Could be adapted for larger groups by using a large projector and splitting into small groups for discussion. Otherwise, would work well in a small group setting. A DVD player and large screen, or decent-sized TV, is required to watch the film clips as a group. The book sometimes includes written prayers and occasionally instructs spontaneous out-loud prayer, which could be adapted for Christians less familiar with this format. At the end of each session there are references for the different articles discussed in the main session; this could be used for adapting it to focus on certain issues.

    How well does it encourage people to work together in applying the material?

    Each session includes a specific section called ‘Act’ in which the group are invited to discuss ways they could physically act in response to the topic, such as joining a local foodbank.

  • How much of the material is Bible-based?

    A good mixture of Bible content with a real-life focus. Focuses on the life of Jesus and examples of suffering and injustice in the Bible, inviting us to reflect on how we might show compassion to those facing difficult times.

    How well is the biblical material presented and used?

    The Bible scriptures set for each session are usually written out in full. The book is rooted in Scripture, looking at Jesus’ life and parables and reflecting on how the Bible calls us to respond to injustice and oppression.

    How well does it apply biblical material to everyday life?

    Small commentary at the start of each session relating the material and Bible verses to everyday life to introduce a topic. The topics are all real-life issues and the biblical material directly relates easily to each issue. The commentaries include real stories that are referenced at the back of each session, enabling the group to read and investigate further if they wish.

    Is there a particular theological perspective?

    No distinguishable perspective. Should be applicable to all.

  • How well does it inspire people towards whole-life discipleship?

    Very well in reflecting on Jesus’ life, how he responded to oppression and injustice and how we might do the same to support others facing these.

    How well does it encourage and enable people to grow in their faith?

    The resource explores faith in relation to current real life issues. It gives opportunities to discuss and reflect on why people in our own society are suffering, what causes justice and oppression, and how we can begin thinking about helping people in these tricky situations.

    How well does it stretch faith and vision of God and his purposes?

    The material revolves around explaining and reflecting on how, as Christians, we are called to love each other, show compassion, serve the poor, feed the hungry etc. It explores understanding what Jesus commissioned us to do on this earth and how we might respond in our own lives, offering some practical ideas and advice.

    How well does it connect with real life issues?

    The book is deeply rooted in real life issues and poverty, referring to many different historical, current and fictional (yet reflecting real life) events and examples of injustice and oppression. The film is centred on disability benefits and issues relating to state benefits systems, however the book resource refers to a much wider range of issues. There are notes at the back of each section that provides references to all news articles and stories referred to.

  • How well does it encourage personal evangelism?

    Inspires us to love other people as ourselves, to love people and support those in poverty and who are facing injustice. To show them the love and compassion that Jesus shows to us, even when it feels difficult.

    How well does it encourage local or network-based community involvement?

    Lots of reference to local mission and inherently provokes us to want to act. It also provides ideas of ways the group could get further involved in local projects.

    How well does it connect with global issues?

    The resource is rooted around injustice and oppression, using the film as an example of how the disability benefits system can fail people. Many other real and fictional – but deeply illustrative of true situations - global issues are highlighted and commented on and the focus is on how we should respond to global injustice as Christians.

    How well does it encourage global mission?

    Deeply missional focus, the book is designed to engage the group in ways they could act and apply the material they have learnt.

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