Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: What Moves Us: A Unitarian Universalist Theology Program for Adults

Activity 2: Surprising Emotions

Part of What Moves Us

Activity time: 10 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Newsprint, markers, and tape
  • Participant journals
  • Variety of writing and drawing implements
  • Timepiece (minutes)
  • Optional: Bell or chime

Preparation for Activity

  • Prepare a piece of newsprint with these questions:
    • Did this experience challenge your understanding of who you thought you were?
    • How did you learn (or are you still learning) to make peace with this experience?

Description of Activity

Introduce this activity using these or similar words:

When he was twelve years old, George de Benneville first discovered a difference between what he expected to feel as a self-exalted member of the English aristocracy and what he actually felt. This difference astonished him, and eventually transformed him into a humble man of God who preached universal love and salvation for all. As preparation for our investigation of de Benneville's experience, we will look for an experience within our own life that replicates, at least in small part, de Benneville's experience.

Invite participants to recall an experience in which they expected to feel one set of emotions about something that happened to them, but instead felt a very different set of emotions that surprised them. Assure participants they will not be asked or expected to share the details of this exercise with others. Invite them to make notes and comments in their journals describing the experience. Invite them also to respond to the questions you have posted on newsprint. Allow participants five minutes to reflect in their journals.