Walk the Line Movie Guide

Youth Specialties
November 17th, 2005


Optional Activity #1:

Draw a chalk line on the parking lot around your church.  Students are to “walk the line” and follow it wherever it goes.  You can make this an obstacle course if you wish, as long as one foot (or other body part is on the line at all times).  Have adult volunteers lobbing water balloons or nerfballs at those walking.  You may even have someone with a plate of cookies or M & Ms just off to the side so that the students will have to leave the line to get the cookies.  Turn this into part of your Bible Study. Ask questions like, what things get thrown at you that make you lose your footing?  What things are just off to the side that tempt you away from walking the line?

Optional Activity #2

Have a Johnny Cash lip sync contest.  Purchase a “Best of “ CD and see who can do the best impression of Juaquin Phoenix doing an impression of Johnny. 

Further Options:

Johnny Cash’s last work is probably his best.  See if anyone in your congregation can loan you theUnearthed box set.  Cash has wonderful versions of U2’s One and Depeche Mode’s Personal Jesus.

For further study check out the book When The Man Comes Around: The Spiritual Journey Of Johnny Cash.  Written by YS author/editor Dave Urbanski

Johnny Cash Lyrics can be found at www.azlyrics.com


Job 31:7 

Psalm 101:6  

Psalms 25 & 27

Proverbs 21:16  

Romans 12:1

The Questions:

  1. What did you know about Johnny Cash before you saw the movie?  Did you feel like you lived those years with him?
  2. Read the lyrics to Walk The Line.  What about this song made the filmmakers use it as the song title?
  3. Johnny Cash is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Country Music Hall of Fame, and played on the bill at Lalapalooza.  What is it about his music that allows him to appeal to all audiences? 
  4. Johnny’s brother was going to be a preacher. In the movie he said “You can’t help nobody if you don’t know the right stories.”  Do you think this is true?   Do minister have to know the scriptures by heart?
  5. Johnny’s dad said, “Satan took the wrong one”  when his eldest son died.  Do you think Satan works that closely in our lives?  Why do you think God allows tragedy?  Do you think we would have had a “Johnny Cash” if he had not lost his brother?
  6. In what way did Johnny Cash become a minister?  Read Matthew 25:44 and Luke 7:34.
  7. June is stopped by a woman in the store and told she is an abomination for getting divorced.  Johnny is told that Christians don’t want him to sing the wrong kind of music to the wrong kind of people.  Can you be screwed up and still be God’s servant? 
  8. What is a “good Christian?”
  9. To the woman who confronted her in the store June said, “I’m sorry I let you down Ma’am.”  Why do we do we so often use our faith to judge other people?  June says “I got a whole lot of judgment on me right now.” Have you ever felt that way?
  10. Do murderers and rapists deserve a free Johnny Cash concert?
  11. During the scene just before Johnny first marriage falls apart. Johnny is listening to the song Highway 61 Revisited by Bob Dylan.  The lyric goes like this: Oh God said to Abraham, “Kill me a son” Abe says, “Man, you must be puttin' me on” God say, “No.” Abe say, “What?” God say, “You can do what you want Abe, but The next time you see me comin' you better run” Well Abe says, “Where do you want this killin' done?” God says, “Out on Highway 61.”
  12. How is this specific verse in this song significant to the life of Johnny Cash?
  13. How is the scene with the tractor significant to the story?
  14. Johnny Cash never did “hard time” but how was he “in prison”?  How do we put ourselves in prison?  How was Johnny Cash released?
  15. June told Johnny he had to learn to love himself.  How can a lot of Johnny Cash’s problems be attributed to the idea that he didn’t? 
  16. Read the scriptures from Job and Proverbs.
  17. What is “the line” we are supposed to be walking? 
  18. What happens we walk away from the path we know we are supposed to be on?
  19. How do we get back?  Do we want to?
  20. What is the incentive?
  21. Read Psalm 101: 6.   Can anybody truly “walk the line?” Why or why not?
  22. Johnny was complaining about the rules that have been laid on him.  Have you ever questioned the rules? Are some rules for our own good? Give an example.  What are some bad rules?  (In your life?  In history?)
  23. Jesus was constantly throwing the Pharisees rules back in their faces.  Who was the most Christ-like character in this movie?
  24. Go back and read all of Matthew 25:34-40.  Isn’t this what June Carter’s family did?  Could your family take in someone like theirs did?
  25. Read the lyrics to Ring of Fire (by June Carter) How does this relate to June and Johnny (separately and together).
  26. Does God choose his servants or do we choose to serve?  Explain.
  27. Record producer Sam Phillips tells Johnny, “If you got hit by a truck…. And you had just one song…
  28. Johnny sings Folsom Prison Blues.  Could this be called a “grace of God” moment?  How so?
  29. If you had to choose just one song to be played at your funeral that summed up your life…(NOT your current favorite song on the radio)  but the one song that told the world who you were and told heaven who was coming…what would that song be?
  30. Perhaps part of the problem we have with understanding the Bible is that we have an incorrect perception of  who wrote the words.  Look at the book of Psalms.  When we say David wrote the Psalms we think of the wise old king.  David was the giant killer, the warrior, the adulterer, and the “undignified” dancer.  Look at the Psalms and read them out loud. Picture Johnny Cash singing these lyrics from the stage.
  31. David was one of God’s main guys.  God ‘s own son came from David’s family tree.  Yet David screwed up A LOT.  Many of the Psalms are written about feeling like he is in a pit.  Would God choose someone who was that messed up to be a servant? 

Take Psalm 25 and turn it into a Johnny Cash song.

Youth Specialties

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