Tapestry of Faith: Resistance and Transformation: An Adult Program on Unitarian Universalist Social Justice History

Alternate Activity 2: Envisioning Alternatives

Activity time: 15 minutes

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Choose a conflict in the world about which people in your congregation are currently concerned. Briefly familiarize yourself with the main antagonists in the conflict and their positions. Reflect on how the positions of the antagonists reflect any of the approaches explored in this workshop.
  • If needed, copy the handouts for participants. Plan to give them a few minutes to look them over, if the group has not seen these handouts before.
  • Divide a sheet of newsprint into three vertical columns. Head the columns "just war," "pacifism," and "peacemaking."

Description of Activity

Participants apply the concepts of just war, pacifism, and peacemaking to a contemporary conflict. If time allows, use this activity to extend the workshop.

If needed, distribute handouts. Invite participants to review them. Allow a few minutes if the group has not seen these handouts before. Explain that the group will apply these three approaches to a current world conflict. Present the positions, as you understand them, of the major antagonists in the conflict. Invite participants to briefly offer their input into the positions of the antagonists. Explain that it not necessary for the purposes of this activity to get the nuances of positions exactly correct. The focus of the activity is to try and imagine how the approaches explored in the workshop might be used to address the conflict. Lead the group to brainstorm ways to apply each approach to the conflict. Ask questions such as:

  • Are any of the antagonists in the conflict currently applying one of the approaches that we have discussed? If so, which one? Is that approach working?
  • If one antagonist took a pacifist position how would it affect the outcome of the conflict? A peacemaking position?
  • Would the application of any of these approaches by the international community affect the outcome of the conflict? How?

If the conversation becomes heated, remind participants that the purpose of the activity is not to find right or wrong answers. Rather, it is to explore how the approaches discussed in the workshop might open new possibilities for addressing conflict.