In "Building Bridges," a Tapestry of Faith program
Participants hear and respond to a message one might hear at an Evangelical worship service.
Gather the group in the "congregational" setting you have arranged. If you have music, play some. Then bring the music down. Introduce yourself and say you are happy to have the chance to preach to this group today (or have a volunteer presenter do this). Then present, or have a volunteer present, one of the handouts. If you wish, at the conclusion of the presentation bring up the music for a few moments.
Note: While this activity invites an intentionally dramatic presentation, be careful to respect the words and ideas in the handout. Avoid extra dramatization or embellishment such as a made-up preacher name or a costume. Some youth may respond actively during the reading, for example, shouting "Amen!" If this happens, great—process it later. Invite the youth to share how the reading inspired them. Was it the words, or the way they were delivered? Something about the experience of being preached to in a group?
Now distribute the handout that was presented. Tell the group it provides the speech they just heard. Say:
Let's think about the presentation we just experienced. What was the message?
Post the two newsprint sheets you have prepared. As youth respond, write their contributions on the appropriate sheet: "Ideas"or "Emotions." Invite the group to tell you on which sheet each response belongs. Make brief notes—the point is not to build long lists but to show the distinction. Encourage the group to look over the handout for phrases that speak to "Ideas" and phrases that speak to "Emotions." Some may be both.
When the lists look full, lead a discussion with these questions:
Now guide the group to reflect:
Unitarian Universalism offers different ideas and tends to inspire different feelings than Evangelical Christianity.
Ask for examples. [We do not believe in one idea of God or one theology; we are open to learn from science, the arts, history, other religions, etc.; we expect our ideas to change over time with new knowledge and experience.]
Nonetheless, for us too, both ideas and feelings are extremely important. Our fourth Principle is that we value a free and responsible search for meaning—we consider it religious to thoughtfully examine ideas and to diligently develop our own. Feelings are also important; we trust our feelings to show us what is true and how we should live. Our first Source is "Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life."
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Last updated on Wednesday, October 29, 2014.
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