The audience: Minority-religion (pagans, Unitarian Universalists, devout hodge-podgers) parents and children.
The need: Children are impressionable, and Christianity, in particular, wants to leave an impression. How to introduce kids to the ideas of Christianity without forcing them to make a decision about it? Children of minority religion households need to innoculate their children against the predatory forms of Christianity by informing them of those ideas, without 1) selling those ideas to the child or 2) necessarily forcing the child away from the better elements of Christianity.
The Metaphor: Many religions are at heart magical constructs (see "Practical Magic" for some background on this.) Christian mass has many of the elements of a wiccan circle-casting, just with some different focuses. So, run with that. Everybody's seen/read Harry Potter, they know what a wizard is, and Rowling's magic is pretty harmless...but it's an introduction to the concept of magic, and magic is as central to Christianity as it is to any pagan path.
Chapters are brief mind-excercises and dialogues. Such as:
- Magic (imagine you're a wizard--what do you look like? What do you use for tools--a book? A wand? A talking cat? What sort of spells do you want to cast? Do you think you want to cast a spell to get some money or toys? Or to get rid of a bad cold, or to make it not hurt when you cut yourself? Or to talk to a ghost, or a tree? How could you talk to a tree, anyway? Could you talk to the sky, or the clouds, or ghosts? Are there any spells that you would never cast, or wouldn't want someone to cast on you?) (This is a generic concept that we can use to lead into prayer, commandments, God, and the metaphor for the entire "class")
- Big spirits, little spirits (How about that spell that lets you talk with trees, or the rain. Let's make that spell now. What's the tree going to say? What's the rain going to say? Could the whole entire world have a spirit? Let's make a spell to talk to that...that's a very big spirit, isn't it? Sometimes people give names to those big spirits...")
- God(s) (Do you remember when we were talking about a spell to talk to the spirit in the rain? What do you think it sounds like? How about the spirit of the thunder? How about the spirit of the whole world? Or the solar system? or the sun? *role-play casting the Spell of Talking to Whole Solar Systems.* The solar system is pretty much everything, right? Oh, it's not/yeah, it is. Do you want to talk to the spirit of everything? Can you? Some people, they're kind of like wizards, already do talk to spirits like this. How does that sound to you? Is that silly? Would you want to?)
Spells (part two, Prayer). Can you lift the couch? How about the refrigerator? Can you lift it with some help? That's a little easier. Wands out, class. Pretend it's the summer, and you really really want it to cool down because it's hot and the plants are dead and you can't eat ice cream because it melts too fast. How do we ask for help to make it rain?...)
The idea is to lead kids to a dialogue with religious ideas, while keeping them safely couched in "wizard-talk." That should get kids to the basic ideas of religion and spirituality.
After that, introduce Christians as a sort of wizard, who tries to talk to the spirit of everything. Maybe they can, maybe they can't, but they want to, and some of them think they can. They have big spirits and small spirits they talk to. Here are their rules. What happens to them when they break a rule?
The Most Important Part: DO NOT make fun of anyone. Period. Just ask a LOT of questions. If talking to a spirit is silly, well, do you ever dream, or see something in your imagination? If you can't REALLY cast a spell, well, if you were hungry and cast a Spell of Getting a Hamburger, and mom got you a hamburger for dinner, did the spell work? &ct.
Anyway, just some ideas I'm kicking aroudn...