The lessons on apocalyptic scripture were challenging and enlightening. A very strong case was made for the fact that the "Left Behind" scenario is way off base. I'd been coming to that conclusion for a while now. To sum it up, the basic premise of the teaching is that we are not waiting to escape to heaven but that heaven is coming to us. The concept of escaping earth to go to heaven was not a part of Jewish writing or teaching. God will set things right and establish his kingdom on earth. Jehovah will be our king and we will all be set free from the bondage and oppression of this present age just as He's done time and time again throughout scripture for His people. Only this time, it will be final. He also did a great job of helping the kids understand that this present state we are in is "less real" than the physical newness that we'll experience in the age to come. He brought to our attention the way Jesus kept appearing after his resurrection and seemed to walk through walls. His point was that Jesus was able to do that not because he was "ghost-like" but because this world was "ghost-like" to him. He had become "more real" than anything here on this earth.
The teenagers were awesome. Here's the thing about teenagers. They do live in their own worlds and are, for the most part, incredibly self-centered. But, if you take the time to relate to them, understand them, take them seriously and care about them, they not only teach you things, but they, without even trying, will affirm you as well. They are also fun to be around and hilarious. Their energy is contagious. My favorite activity of the weekend was this...groups of 4 to 6 were handed lyrics to songs from the 80's. Things like, "Total Eclipse of the Heart", "West End Girls", and "Down Under" to name a few. The groups had to make up a tune and perform the songs. So many of them turned 80's pop tunes into Gangsta Rap. Then we'd play the real thing and they'd perform again, lip-syncing. I can't remember when I've laughed harder.
I also made an important personal discovery this weekend. Curling irons are OUT, flatirons are IN. Not one girl there had a curling iron but every one of them had a flatiron. I gotta get one.