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Opening (20 minutes), Workshop 8: Taoism

In "Building Bridges," a Tapestry of Faith program

Materials for Activity

  • Chalice, candle, and lighter or LED/battery-operated candle
  • Newsprint, markers, and tape
  • Leader Resource 1, Taoism Background
  • The quotation from the Tao Te Ching, from the beginning of this workshop
  • A copy of the Tao Te Ching

Preparation for Activity

  • Read Leader Resource 1, Taoism Background, so you will feel comfortable presenting it.

Description of Activity

Answer any questions you could not answer from the last workshop.

Invite the youth to sit in a circle. Light the chalice with these words:

We light this chalice in celebration of Unitarian Universalism and the sustaining faiths of all people of the world. May the flame represent the fire of our commitment to understand all faithful people and build bridges that connect us as one human family.

Invite participants to check in. If they participated in the Welcome and Entering activity, say:

For check-in, say your name and then tell us something you noticed about the dance we just did—for example, how the dancers interacted with each other, or what effect using the scarves had, or how the music affected your own movements—something you noticed as you experienced the dance.

If these observations are mentioned, point out that they are attuned to Taoism: flow, connectedness, peaceful feelings associated with moving to the music, or a balance between people.

If you did not do the Welcome and Entering activity, invite participants to check in by saying their names and briefly sharing something they know or have heard about Taoism.

Ask participants if they know any adults who describe themselves as Taoists. What do they think people mean when they say they are Taoists? What does that mean for the way those people live or think?

Ask what questions they have about Taoism, and write their questions on newsprint. Answer the ones you can. Tell the group that during this workshop, many of their other questions will be answered, and, after the workshop, you will seek the answers to any remaining questions, which you will share at their next meeting.

Read or share with the youth, in your own words, the information in Leader Resource 1, Taoism Background. Use newsprint to list important terms from the resource.

Read the quotation from the beginning of this workshop. Ask for responses. Tell youth the reading was from the Tao Te Ching, the most important text in Taoism. Tell them that although it is a tiny volume (show them the book), the Tao Te Ching is very important as a religious text. It has 81 chapters, which sounds like a lot, but each chapter is only a few lines or paragraphs long. (Open the book and show them a page or two.) Part of the reason for this simplicity is that there is a trade-off of work: The chapters are intentionally spare because they are intended to be catalysts. The reader must contemplate them to discover their meaning.

Remind the youth that during the workshop, they should reflect on how Taoism meets the basic human needs met by religion, such as answers to our big questions, ways to know right from wrong, and a connection to something greater than ourselves.

For more information contact web @ uua.org.

This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.

Last updated on Wednesday, October 26, 2011.

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