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Starting A Faith-Sharing Group


Yvonne
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Hello-

I'm new to the forum, so I apologize if this post is in the wrong place.

 

I want to start a progressive faith-sharing group, but I've no clue how to begin.

I'm hoping someone here might be able to give me some pointers or recommend a website.

Thanks.

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Hi Yvonne,

 

It's great that you wish to start a group.

I assuming that you're talking about something local that you will host personally. I use meetup.com (it's $15 per month) to facilitate/organize local discussion groups that meet on a regular basis. Some places would be very happy to help you host a group, especially bookstores like Barnes and Noble (and especially if you'd like to do a book discussion, they'd advertise it themselves).

 

In any case, I find that it's best to keep such groups open and informal, yet not without a topic/agenda to advance the conversation. If the place has WiFi, it would be quite easy to bring a laptop to show a video (unless, of course, you're hosting the group at your home, which, until you're familiar with everyone, I would be cautious about). What has worked best for me is having something to read, bit by bit - a spiritual text of some sort - that everyone can contemplate and spontaneously reflect and comment on as you progress. When everyone runs out of something to say, you can read another portion of the text. Or, if you are holding a book-discussion, you can go through chapter by chapter or however works for you.

 

It's also important for the conversation to have unity - when I first started hosting discussions we sometimes had 2 or 3 conversations going on at once, which really detracted from the experience. So - for my purposes at least - it has been best to have one person speaking at a time, and to try and make sure everyone has an opportunity to contribute if they are so moved.

 

In my experience you may get some people who try to dominate the conversation, and some people who may be overtly critical and skeptical of religion. In the latter case, you can always make sure the purpose and aims of your group are clear. In the former, it may be that you have to kindly emphasize the communal nature of the conversation.

 

That's all I can think of right now. Good luck.

 

Peace,

Mike

Edited by Mike
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What has worked best for me is having something to read, bit by bit - a spiritual text of some sort - that everyone can contemplate and spontaneously reflect and comment on as you progress.

 

Mike,

 

Thanks so much for your advise. I really like the idea of using a laptop to discuss "bits & pieces" of text. I think that would work great for us.

 

I'm still looking for some material that might be available specifically for discussion groups. Any suggestions are welcome.

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Thanks so much for your advise. I really like the idea of using a laptop to discuss "bits & pieces" of text. I think that would work great for us.

 

You're very much welcome. :)

 

I'm still looking for some material that might be available specifically for discussion groups. Any suggestions are welcome.

 

Any text that can be broken down into small sections is well suited for group discussions. We discuss a lot of Eastern philosophy at my group, and we've read through poems, koans, meditations, scriptures, etc. Even short stories or parables - from any religious tradition you may choose - might be very helpful. It's important to strike a proper balance between theory and practice. For me, I think if people can walk away with a sense of sacredness and connection, it has been a successful meeting.

 

Marcus Borg has always been a good voice for me. 'The God We Never Knew' might be good for a group book discussion. Or, there is content on the internet you may find useful. Saltproject.org has some nice portraits and poems and a few videos, explorefaith.org has a lot of content from many different well-known spiritual teachers - like Marcus Borg - short articles and excerpts about various topics. Here, for instance, is one article.

 

I'm not sure what you're looking for precisely, but hopefully some of these suggestions might be helpful.

 

Peace to you,

Mike

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  • 2 weeks later...

Adrian B Smith wrote an excellent book called Tomorrows Christian which has 36 small chapters on what a Christian of tomorrow might be like - postmodern, nontheistic, forgiving, mystical and so on. There are discussion questions for each chapter and there are guides for use in groups. Best book I have read this year. http://www.amazon.com/Tomorrows-Christian-New-Framework-Living/dp/1903816971/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1311497334&sr=8-7

 

Even cheaper if you are in the UK

 

Regards

 

Mfundisi

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