I'm teaching at a private school now, and Homeroom is for "Christian Studies". We're supposed to be discussing the New Testament, but a vigorous debate started up about Comic Book movies, mainly centering on whether aspects of the characters' personalities and origins were portrayed faithfully on the screen adaptations. (Obviously, that's my summary, but that's what they/we were talking about.)
It was a fun discussion, and rapport building too, so I let the discussion go throughout HR (20 min), and with two minutes left, I asked, "Hey. What would it take for us to be able to have this kind of a discussion about the New Testament?"
Silence. Finally, one kid said, "I'm just not that comfortable talking about philosophy."
"Aahh!" I said, "Is that what the New Testament is to you? Philosophy?" (pause) "That's certainly what it is to a lot of people..." I added, trying to balance my challenge with some encouragement. It's okay to be honest.
"Well, yeah. I guess."
Then I said to the class, "But aren't there characters and stories in the New Testament? Aren't there people who DO things?"
Silence. Pondering. Quizzical looks.
Hmmmm. What to offer them next?