Activity 2: Story - The Curse of Babel

Activity time: 5 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • A copy of the story "The Curse of Babel"
  • A bell, chime, rain stick or other musical noisemaker

Preparation for Activity

  • Read the story in advance.

Description of Activity

Ring the chime (or other noisemaker), make eye contact with each participant and read or tell the story.

Sound the chime again at the end. Invite one or two volunteers to retell the story in their own words. Then, lead a discussion with these questions:

  • Is it a curse that people speak different languages, or a blessing?
  • What was the role of God in the story?
  • If God was trying to teach the people a lesson, what was it? Was it a good lesson or a bad one? What might be the results of the people learning this lesson?

Point out that in the story, God took away a common language to keep humans limited in what they could accomplish together. Ask:

  • Whether or not you believe in a God that could or would do that, do you think people need a common language to accomplish great things together?
  • Do you think that here in our congregation we share a common language? How does that help us accomplish things together? How does a lack of common language get in the way?
  • How about in our families?
  • As Unitarian Universalists?
  • As Americans?
  • As humans?

Help the group discover through discussion that "language" can mean one's mode of moving, singing, drawing, etc. You might say:

All forms of communication are in a language, not just writing and speaking. There are lots of ways to find common language-not just words, but also music, physical activities, artistic expression and simple things like a shared understanding of what a smile means.

For more information contact religiouseducation@uua.org.

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