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

Activity 4: Testing de Benneville

Part of What Moves Us

Activity time: 30 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Newsprint, markers, and tape
  • Timepiece (minutes)
  • Optional: Bell or chime

Preparation for Activity

  • Write on newsprint and post:
    • Have you ever experienced a spiritual crisis? If so, how did the spiritual crisis differ from a purely emotional crisis? How were they similar?
    • Are your personal experiences of humility, contrition, and of receiving love from others linked to a Unitarian Universalist affirmation of the inherent worth and dignity of every person? If so, how?
    • Is the feeling of being loved a feeling that is or could be a foundational experience for your own Unitarian Universalist faith?
    • Does it make sense to you to talk of the feeling of being loved unconditionally as "the spirit of Love?" If not, what, if any, spiritual or religious terms would you use when talking about your liberal faith and the emotional foundations upon which it rests?

Description of Activity

Share de Benneville's words:

The spirit of Love will be intensified to Godly proportions when reciprocal love exists between the entire human race and each of its individual members.

Invite participants to form groups of three and share their personal feelings and reflections on the ways de Benneville's writings and experience illuminate their own thoughts and experiences, using the posted questions as they are moved to do so. Explain that groups should give each person about four minutes to share their experiences. After everyone has spoken, participants may share insights and further reflections prompted by their experience of listening to the others in their small group. Remind them that they are not to critique the thoughts, feelings, and experiences of others, but rather to share personal reflections, thoughts, and insights prompted by their small group experience. Invite groups to appoint a timekeeper or to share that function to make sure each member has their opportunity to speak.