Activity 4: Testing Ballou
Activity time: 35 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Handout 2, Excerpt from A Treatise on Atonement
- Participants' journals
- Variety of writing and drawing materials
- Optional: Microphone
Preparation for Activity
- Read and make copies Handout 2, Excerpt from A Treatise on Atonement.
Description of Activity
Invite the large group to discuss the family and social messages they receive about happiness, using these questions:
- What are the family and social messages we have received or currently receive about the right to human happiness?
- Do we have the right to be happy? Are there conditions or limits on that right?
Distribute Handout 2 and read aloud the sections in bold text in the handout, inviting participants to read the remainder at their leisure.
Give participants a minute or two to reflect on Ballou's thoughts in their journals. Then invite volunteers to share their reflections with the larger group. Ask: Does Ballou's writing draw into sharper focus any of those family and social messages we have received or currently receive about the right to human happiness?
Explain that this exercise invites participants into deep listening and sharing; they are to share their own thoughts and feelings, rather than comment on the feelings and insights of others. Encourage each person in turn to share their reflections and to listen deeply with an open heart and an open mind while others speak. Allow at least five seconds between shared thoughts or feelings. If there is time, invite a new round of sharing in which participants may share their new thoughts and feelings based on what they have learned from the first round of personal reflections.