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Activity time: 20 minutes

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Review Handout 2 and make copies for participants.
  • Prepare to project Leader Resource 1, or print a copy.
  • Optional: Read background information about the life of Henry David Thoreau. Refer to the Find Out More section of this workshop for resources.

Description of Activity

Introduce Henry David Thoreau as an example of someone who offered a prophetic voice and approach to social justice. Distribute Handout 2, Henry David Thoreau and project or pass around his portrait. Invite participants to read the handout to themselves, or read it aloud. Engage participants in discussion, using these questions:

  • How does this story about Thoreau exemplify the prophetic approach? Did Thoreau employ other strategies in addition to the prophetic voice?
  • Modern Unitarian Universalism embraces many of the ideas the Transcendentalists espoused. How do you see these reflected in our current Principles and Sources? Has Thoreau's "prophetic" stance become mainstream in Unitarian Universalism?
  • Can you recall situations where your congregation has used the prophetic voice? When you have used the prophetic voice?
  • Are there situations where you have used (or might consider using) a civil disobedience strategy?
  • Are there times when resignation from a group or organization would be the best way to push it toward change?

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