Session 2 Learning Goals
- Explore sources and consequences of sex-negative theology in society and selves. Same for sex-positive theology.
- Identify positive and negative consequences of sexuality in our lives and faith communities
- Link, theologically and politically, healthy sexuality with the reproductive justice movement
- Materials: butcher paper and markers (2 sets or more), masking tape for the walls, bell or chime
- Identify a separate space for participants to have small group conversations during the theological reflection time
- Make copies of Handouts 2:3 (PDF), 2:4 (PDF), 3:1 (PDF), and 3:2 (PDF).
Homework for this Session:
- 2:1 (PDF)—Sexually Healthy UU Congregations
- 2:2 (PDF)—Responding to Reproductive Loss
- 2:3 (PDF)—Theological Reflection: Session 2
- 2:4 (PDF)—The Last Abortion
- Chalice Lighting: “Mama’s Got a Girlfriend Now” (Ben Harper)
- Check-In: What was one thing you did for your body this week; what is one thing your body did for you? (15 mins)
- Theological Reflection (20 mins)
Except for the first class, every session in this course has opportunities for theological reflection. Participants are invited to explore various methods of theological reflection over the next five weeks: walking/movement, small group conversation, journaling/writing, and meditation. They are also invited to bring music and headphones. Indicate the separate place for those who will participate in small group conversations. Distribute Handout 2:3 (PDF). After 20 minutes, ring a bell to call the participants back together.
- Group Brainstorm: Words for Powerful Experiences (10 mins)
The class divides in half, each with their pad of butcher paper and markers. One group brainstorms words that describe a powerful sexual experience. The other group brainstorms words that describe a powerful spiritual experience. After a short time, ask a representative from each group to read the lists aloud. Keep the class divided into two groups.
- Toward Sexually Healthy UU Communities (30 mins)
What would a sexually healthy UU community look like? What would be its basic principles be? What would be its supports, its ministries, and its public presence?
Participants reflect on these questions and others and, using the butcher paper and markers, draw a church or other building that visually symbolizes their ideas. They are encouraged to use ideas from Handout 2:1 (PDF), which was assigned as homework. Groups can include portrayals of foundations and beams, walls, rooms, furniture, decorations, gardens, etc. If dividing the class into two groups still results in large numbers of people crowded around one butcher paper pad, create a third or fourth group.
After 15 minutes on the first set of questions, consider these: What keeps UU communities from being as sexually healthy as they might be? Where are the termites, the unfinished walls, or raw wires? Identify these barriers in a list or on the drawing itself.
After another 10 minutes, ask groups to hang up the drawings on the wall and give people time to look at them.
- Responding to Reproductive Loss (30 mins)
Distribute Handout 2:4 (PDF) and give people two or three minutes to complete it silently. Then ask:
- How was this exercise?
- Which three did you choose? (ask two or three people) Why?
- Our judgments about sexuality and reproduction are complexly related and often difficult to identify. What judgments do you have about why people (should/shouldn’t/do/don’t) get abortions, make adoption plans, miscarry, etc.?
After 20 minutes, revisit Handout 2:2 (PDF) which was assigned as homework. Ask these questions and record answers to the first three questions on butcher paper:
- What is reproductive loss?
- Who is affected by reproductive loss?
- Why should our congregations be places where healing from reproductive loss can take place?
- Who would be interested in taking a course on Pastoral Counseling for Reproductive Loss? (If there is significant interest, consider offering a training for your cluster/district. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.)
- Debrief and Closing (15 mins)
Ask participants to share with the group one new idea that struck them during the session.
Distribute Handouts 3:1 (PDF) and 3:2 (PDF) and ask people to read and complete them before the next session.
Read “The Larger Circle” by Wendell Berry and extinguish the chalice.