Monday, September 15, 2008

The Salsa Lesson

In Priest's quorum on Sunday, I gave the "Salsa Lesson". I didn't call it that when I gave it, but when one of the priests gave the closing prayer he said, "and please help us to apply this salsa lesson to our daily lives..." (as the class snickered). One of the boys spontaneously said afterwards, "I don't think I'll ever forget THIS lesson. Thus was born the "Salsa Lesson", which I will probably give this time of year to whatever class I teach in the future.

It started with the class voting for the most manly person in the room- who was toughest, could take the most pain, etc. After we had decided on the victim, we went on a field trip to the kitchen (young men love field trips at church- instant attention grabber), where we sat him down in front of several bowls of salsa, some chips, a cup full of water, and an empty cup. The salsa immediately in front of him was made of almost pure habanero, jalapeno, serrano and tabasco peppers, with a little tomato for color, and some salt and lime. The other bowls had mild salsa with slight differences in spiciness.

I instructed the manly priest to load up a chip with the hot salsa, and eat it. He did. He turned bright red. After he had swallowed, I then had him test the mild salsas, and tell me which one was the hottest, which was the mildest, etc. (he got it right, but admitted he was just guessing). When he finished testing the salsas, he immediately grabbed the water and started chugging. I told him to hold up, and asked him if he was sure he wanted the water- wouldn't he prefer something else? Maybe something that would actually neutralize the heat? He paused for a moment, and asked, can I have some milk? I opened the fridge, took out the milk and poured him a cup- in the empty cup next to his water.

We all then had our own chips and salsa, then went back to the classroom for the lesson. We read Isaiah 55:1, which says:

Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.

I asked them to interpret the object lesson I gave them. This was the part I liked, since they actually all participated and were throwing out ideas- their interest was piqued. It is funner for a teenager boy to figure out a puzzle than to listen to a lesson. They settled on, with my help, something like this: The hot salsa is sin. When you sin, you desensitize your soul/emotions/feelings such that you no longer can feel the quiet whisperings of the spirit (or alternatively, you no longer are shocked by the "little" sins- you're past feeling). When it feels too hot, you reach for the nearest thing you think will bring relief. The nearest thing doesn't always help like you think it should (ie, drugs, alcohol, porn, etc.) Usually, you need someone to tell you where to get help (missionaries), and you need to actually ask for the help (the boy asking for the milk is like a sinner asking for the atonement). The milk offered was given instantly and free, as much as the asker needed.

We also got into a little discussion about common symbols in the scriptures: water, bread, milk, wine, blood, seeds, sheep.

My question is this: the lesson went over very well, and I think I will use a variation of it every year. What can I do to tweak/improve it, whether in the salsa demonstration itself, or in the lesson that comes afterward?



Muriel said...

I just got called to teach the 15 year olds in Sunday School. I love this lesson. I'll have to keep it in mind. You won't mind if I borrow it sometime right?