THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

by Mary Scifres

 

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION OR JOURNALING

To help you on this journey of self- and communal- exploration, I have provided summaries and discussion starts for each chapter, followed by study questions. 

 

CHAPTER 3 ~ THE TRANSFORMATIVE POWER OF PERCEPTION

Like the parables of Jesus, the story of Beauty and the Beast challenges us to explore our own perspectives, perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors. When we think about perception and perspective, we discover that both have the power to fuel a journey of transformation or to halt this journey in its tracks. An optimistic perspective invites hope and encouragement, whereas a pessimistic perspective invites fear and fatalism. A clear-eyed perception coupled with an open-minded perspective invites imagination, creativity, and new learning; while a clouded perception coupled with a close-minded perspective discourages new possibilities, favoring predictability and familiarity, often in pursuit of a sense of stability. 

 

ON OUR PERCEPTIONS

Reflecting on questions like these shows where our perceptions are already open and growing, and where we might want to open more freely to expanded perceptions.

  • Where am I able to perceive with an open mind?

  • In what situations do I close myself off and see only what I expect to see?

  • How does the story of Beauty and the Beast transform my perspective?

  • How do Jesus’ teachings in the gospels transform my perspective to invite hope and encourage transformation?

  • How does the story of Beauty and the Beast and/or the teachings of Jesus encourage me to transform my life and my world for the better?

 

ON OUR BEHAVIORS

Reflecting on questions like these expands our capacity for compassion and opens our minds to perceive others more fully, rather than narrowing defining people as “good” or “bad.”

  • When do my ego and self-absorption reflect the character Gaston?

  • How does my compassion echo Belle’s purity of heart?

  • When do I run away in fear, or turn away in doubt, as Belle and Beast do?

  • How courageously do I pursue new ventures

  • How and when do I timidly return to the familiar? 

  • Are there biblical characters who come to mind who echo some of these same behaviors and attitudes?

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