Table Connection Question - How did it go practicing "Looking to Love" in friendship, compassion, or lovingkindness this week? What did you notice about how it affected your relationships? Was it easy or hard? Did anything surprise you?
Welcome & Covenant
Poem - Wild Geese, by Mary Oliver
Pause - Holding Our Ultimate Concerns
Faith - The Evolution: Reading Observations
“I honor the integrity and necessity of doctrine and theologies that have emerged in conversation across generations and across time. But so many of our categories, defined and wrapped in forms and institutions that no longer quite work, had be- come too narrow. Certain kinds of religiosity turned themselves into boxes into which too little light and air could enter or escape.”
1. For many, the move from childhood into adulthood is synonymous with a shift from mystery to certainty. However, Robert Coles pinpoints the childhood quality of a “questioning spirit” as being an important trait in those who are thought of as the great figures of religion. Have you experienced this sense that mystery can be a great companion? What makes it challenging? What makes it comforting? What is your own experience with faith and doubt or certainty and mystery?
2. Consider the “Nones,” those who respond “none” when asked about their religious affiliation by pollsters. Krista says this non-religious space is far from being absent of spirituality; that many Nones are theologically searching, spiritually curious, and service-oriented. Explore the phrase “spiritual but not religious.” What does it mean in the world you see around you? How is this development interesting/relevant/uncomfortable for you? What challenges/opportunities does it create for your religious/spiritual identity and understanding?
3. Krista shares that the fear of the religion of her childhood was about “measuring up — about moral perfection, and the eternal cost of falling short.” In contrast, she goes on to say that at this point in her life, “faith is in interplay with moral imagination, something distinct from moral perfection.” Does this distinction make sense to you, and how? In what ways can moral imagination (as opposed to moral perfection) be nurtured?
Practice for Week - Write your very own statement of faith! Take some time over the next 2 weeks to feel and think your way into an affirmation of your ultimate concern. Write something down toward the beginning of the first week, then revisit what you wrote during the first week and feel free to edit or change it as you carry it. This could be a traditional statement about affirming Jesus as savior, etc., or it can be open to evolution, imagination, and interpretation as fits your own spiritual journey. There is no right or wrong, only the expression of where you locate yourself on this part of the journey. Then, the 2nd week, look for places where you find your life aligning with your statement of faith and share with the group in 2 weeks!
Prayer - Benediction
Announcements - Looking Ahead
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