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Activity 1: Story — The Jellyfish (10 minutes), Workshop 5: Difficulties of Interfaith Work

In "A Chorus of Faiths," a Tapestry of Faith program

Materials for Activity

  • A copy of the story "The Jellyfish"
  • Newsprint, markers, and tape

Preparation for Activity

  • Read the story and prepare to present it effectively. Consider reading the story dramatically. If you wish to assign the three parts (narrator, anthropologist, and jellyfish) to participants, provide the story to volunteer readers ahead of time.
  • Write on newsprint, and post:

All people and cultures without exception hold myths to be true. Anyone who believes that others—less sophisticated—may naively hold myths to be true while they themselves do not, are themselves naive. — Alice Blair Wesley, Unitarian Universalist minister

  • Optional: Copy the story for all participants.

Description of Activity

Youth hear a creation story from the point of view of a jellyfish and consider the difference between myth and reality.

Tell or read the story. Or, distribute copies to participants and have volunteers read aloud, taking turns at each sentence or paragraph or acting out the parts. Remind the group that anyone has the right to pass.

Then lead a short discussion with these questions:

  • Why did the jellyfish claim that its story of creation was a scientific account and not a myth?
  • How does the human scientific account of creation compare with that of the jellyfish? Which is true?
  • How does this story compare to religious or mythic accounts of creation you are familiar with?
  • What values are implicit in the story? (Participants may recognize rationalism/logic, faith and belief, and inquiry as values lifted up in the story.)
  • What are the implications for doing justice work with people who believe in a different reality? For example, working with people who do not believe in evolution or who believe that Jesus performed miracles exactly as stated in the Christian scriptures?

Read the quote from Alice Blair Wesley you have posted. Ask participants if they agree or disagree, and why.

For more information contact web @ uua.org.

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Last updated on Thursday, October 27, 2011.

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