Cross Circle-Time - A Christian Process

Cross Circle-Time, the circle time concept and process executed in a Christian setting. First things first. I know you are eager to ask me some questions. Let's deal with them first and then we can get into more details.

  1. Is it similar to Jenny Mosley's circle time? - The process is similar although the basis is different. Read on and you will know more.
  2. Why is it called Cross Circle-Time? - I understand the confusion. The shapes cross and circle don't seem to go together. Here the cross refers to the Cross of Jesus Christ and not the shape of the cross and the circle of course is a circle - the shape.
  3. Is the aim of the process the same? - Do you mean that the process aims to achieve respectful interactions to solve problems, learn concepts, take responsibility etc.? Yes it does.

Let me know if you have any more questions about the process even after reading the entire page and I'll answer them. 

Cross Circle-Time and Experiential Learning - Circle time is an experiential method of learning the importance of social norms and the use of it to have meaningful, socially fulfilling, mutually respectful, learning oriented interactions among human beings.

It is a means of learning to interact without regressing into mental, emotional or physical forms of harmful behavior.

The Cross of Jesus Christ is also an experiential truth. It provides the experience of the consequence of the sins of human beings on one sinless person - outpouring of blood and death, of the love of God for humans in that He knew that if we would be judged like Christ was judged for our sins, He would not have a human race with whom to interact. His love for us provided a willing substitute - His own Son. There are many experiential truths that are the outcomes of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

Experiential belief in this sacrifice of the Lord Jesus produces many wonderful results; one of them being a life filled with good works for the benefit of others.

Now basing circle time - which affects behavior - on the cross which frees us to do good works makes perfect sense to me. it provides a solid basis for learning to interact respectfully. 

It does not give anybody the excuse to get on their high horse and claim a 'holier than thou' attitude.

Cross Circle-Time or Christian circle time is derived from 'circle time' of the Jenny Mosley fame. It has been adapted for Christian schools/organisations. This kind of circle time helps to deal with social or behavioral problems that present themselves in these organisations. 

It can be used any group on the condition, that they express their belief on the statements given in the divider below.

Punishments are not meted out. Consequences are spelled out by the group which the group/individuals subject themselves to in case of infractions. 

The consequences are like speeding tickets - which have to be honored in case the speeding norms are broken.

Cross Circle-Time - How is it different from the conventional circle time? Well, the conventional circle time is based on the understanding that rules (whether spoken or unspoken)when they are broken need to be classified on the basis of seriousness.

Most rules that are broken do not cause bodily harm to anybody and so should be dealt with by administering pre-determined consequences, which will enlighten the rule breaker of the value of the rule and create a conditioned response which will prevent future rule-breaking.

Cross Circle-Time: In this rules are treated as equally important and the 'punishment' for all rule-breaking is the same, with the exception that the punishment is not borne by the rule-breaker, rather it has already been borne by the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. (So evidently, the punishment was - cruel death by crucifixion). 

This means that this punishment cannot be borne by anybody - obviously it has not been in operation for a long, long time. Another reason is that it has already been borne by Christ Jesus so that we need not bear it or anything resembling 'punishment' today. 

'Punishment' here includes shouting, using abusive or denigrating language, punitive actions etc. This does not include 'consequences' like giving extra time, if the punctuality norm is broken, foregoing privileges etc.

Cross Circle-Time therefore presumes that the members of the group - students or employees have been introduced to the atoning sacrifice of the Lord Jesus which has the following basic beliefs:

Cross Circle-Time - its Bases

  • There is one God, who exists in three Persons - the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He is loving, holy and just. (this basically deals with the question of our origin - created by God)
  • The Bible is God's Word. It is inspired and accurate. It is our perfect guide in all matters of life. (this deals with the question of the efficacy of the concept of God - how do we know Him? He has made Himself known to us by His book - the Bible: the written Word of God)
  • Sin (rule-breaking) has separated us all from God, and that only through Jesus Christ can we be reconciled to God. (this deals with the issue of what keeps God and us apart - why don't we know our creator?)
  • Jesus Christ is both God and Man. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He led a sinless life, took all our sins upon Himself, died and rose again. Today, He is seated at the right hand of the Father as our Mediator (this deals with the issue of - Why Jesus Christ alone and not somebody else?)
  • Salvation is the gift of God to man. This gift is given in grace and received through faith in Jesus Christ and it results in works pleasing to God. (this answers the question of the process of obtaining this salvation - receiving it rather than working for it)

Cross Circle-Time - Bases contd.

  • Salvation involves forgiveness of sins - past, present and future. It means that Jesus has taken the punishment for all our sins. The punishment or judgment includes the guilt, condemnation, sickness, poverty, aging, wearing out of body parts, conditions caused by malnutrition, or any other ill-effects that could be called the human condition.
  • Forgiveness of sins through the death of Christ means we have also vicariously died with Christ. This life that we now live is the resurrected life of Christ - which is unresponsive to law so unresponsive to sin and its ill-effects. Consequently, our focus is on His resurrected presence in us which inspires us to do 'good works'
  • Forgiveness of sins means that we are a new creation in the spirit, born-again, like a new species who have a living spirit - not a dead one.
  • While sin still influences our behavior, we do not focus on it. Rather we focus on the forgiveness that has already been effected for us on the cross.  
  • As we continuously experience His resurrected presence, we become transformed inside out - mentally, emotionally and physically.
  • God provides us with His Holy Spirit, who can now freely live in us because of our cleansed spiritual nature and works with us to renew us totally.

Cross Circle-Time - Begin using it in Children's Church, Sunday school, Moral Education classes, Value Education Classes, staff meetings etc. If you have non-christian members in the group take their or their parents' consent to use it in their groups.

If you have their consent, share with them the Gospel, so that they understand the basis of this methodology. One interesting way of sharing the Gospel would be to begin with the screening of the movie 'The Passion of Christ'

Cross Circle-Time - Golden Rules

Do to others what the Lord Jesus has done for you.

In the following list, the basis is in bold, the desirable behavior is underlined and the behavior to avoid is in italics

  • He is gentle - so we are gentle; we don't hurt others or their feelings
  • He is kind and helpful - so we are kind and helpful; we don't turn away from those who seek help
  • He listens to us - so we listen to each other; we don't interrupt
  • He is the truth - so we are honest; we don't cover the truth or lies
  • He worked so hard that He gave up His life - so that our work is inspired by Him; we don't waste our own or others' time
  • He restored our lost property - so we look after property; we don't waste or damage things

Cross Circle-Time - When these golden rules are broken, the individual accepts the mistake and accepts His forgiveness (not voiced aloud, but the undertaking of this action is declared publicly).

If the same individual breaks this rule the fourth time, the consequences have to be accepted. These consequences are decided on by the group.

Cross Circle-Time is a structured process. The framework is as follows:

  • Ice-breaking game – Begin with a game that brings the group together in a fun and enjoyable way. The game can be theme-based – the theme of the CCT or it can emphasize code of conduct, values – social, ecological, ethical etc. The game creates a non-threatening atmosphere and facilitates                participation.
  • Verbal territory – In this round, everybody is given a chance to speak. A prop or speaking object like a pen or pencil or handkerchief or hat is used to focus attention on the speaker and emphasize the rule that all others are expected to listen to the person who has the prop. Either questions or statement stems are used to aid in responding to the question. For e.g. “I feel...”, “When I think of Math, I think of...”.  Participants can ‘pass’. This round develops confidence to speak in the presence of people and participate effectively in a respectful environment.
  • Discussion Time – This time is used to transact content, discuss and solve problems, set targets, draw up action plans. This phase develops skills of discussion and debate, participating and taking action together. To aid the process students can be assigned roles like initiator, summariser, questioner etc. which will focus the discussion to arrive at learning points. The students can volunteer for different roles and develop expertise in a variety of roles. Pupils help each other in making effective points during the discussion and achieving the goals of discussion.
  • Reflection time – Once again using stems, participants reflect on the positive aspects of the discussion. They give positive feedback on the successes – others and their own – during the process of discussion. They could reflect on their own learning or something that somebody else said which was important to them.
  • Closure – is the process of calming down and enabling the pupil to enter into the next activity. This stage can involve saying how they feel in a word, or going through a relaxation exercise or a visualization exercise.
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