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

Activity 4: Religious Experience and Unitarian Universalist Experience

Part of What Moves Us

Activity time: 15 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

  • Write on newsprint and post:
    • Do you call the ways in which your basic emotional needs are attended to within your faith community a Unitarian Universalist religious experience or simply a religious experience? Why does calling the experience Unitarian Universalist have (or not have) meaning for you?
    • Fahs believed that religious emotions in us and in our children emerge from ordinary emotions that have been transformed into religious ones. Do you agree?
    • Is the distinction Fahs makes between religious emotions and general emotions helpful when thinking about the emotional foundations of your own religious experiences as a Unitarian Universalist? Explain.

Description of Activity

Remind participants that Fahs moved beyond her conservative Presbyterian roots. She did not, however, become a member of a group called "religion in general," but instead became a Unitarian, a member of a particular religious tradition. Invite participants to take five minutes to reflect in their theology journals on the ways in which Fahs' theology speaks to contemporary Unitarian Universalists. Indicate the questions you have posted on newsprint, inviting them to respond to one or more of the questions in their reflection.

When time is up, ask them to compose a one-sentence statement to share with the large group, based on their reflections about Fahs' relevance to contemporary Unitarian Universalists. Allow two minutes for participants to compose the sentences. Then, explain that each person will have an opportunity to read their sentence to the large group-without elaboration. Invite volunteers to read theirs. To conclude, ask for final insights and reflections.