Guilt is anger directed at ourselves.
— Peter McWilliams
IN TODAY’S SESSION… We talked about the kinds of punishments some early Unitarians faced because they believed in one God instead of the trinity. We heard the stories of James Luther Adams and James Reeb. We said that all decisions and actions have consequences, some bad and some good. We considered what punishments might fit what wrong acts, and we talked about our congregation’s social action programs.
EXPLORE THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Talk about…
- Guilt that family members felt when they were kids.
- Punishment in your family. Is it used? Is it fair? Should it be used more often? Less often? Who decides when punishment is due and what the punishment should be?
- The situation your group did in Ethics Play, if you played the game. What do family members and friends say the Star should have done?
EXTEND THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Try…
- Watching the news to see what happens to people who commit crimes in your state. Are the punishments fair?
- Thinking about what should happen to youth when they break the law. Should they be treated like adults? Should their childhood and teenage court records be destroyed when they turn eighteen?
- Doing something as a family—anything at all. When you are done, list the consequences. Were they good, bad, or a mix? Did they make anybody feel guilty?
MYSTERY AND ME
Take some personal quiet time and think about your own god beliefs. Do you believe in one God? A lot of gods? None at all? Are you an agnostic? That means you do not know whether God exists. Are you an atheist? That means you are sure God does not exist. Is the question of God’s existence unimportant to you? If you are journaling, write down the word or words that best describe you as a religious thinker and then add why you believe what you do.
A FAMILY RITUAL
Talk each day about the right and wrong you have experienced. Did you each do something good you want to share? Is there somebody in the family you want to thank for a virtuous act? Is there something you wish you hadn’t done that you need to talk about? How can you make tomorrow a better day?
A FAMILY GAME
Make up your own version of Ethics Play. Think of some difficult decisions and ask what different people would do in those situations. What would you tell them if you were playing the Devil? What would you tell them if you were playing God? Does everybody agree about what the Star should do?
Travel into the past. Get the adults in your family to talk about what punishments were like when they were kids at home or in school. Did they think the punishments were fair? How old were they when they learned that every action has consequences?