Games sampler

A bunch of games for you to play, as presented at Pot of Gold Religious Education Conference today.

What are games? Games are FUN. Games have AN OUTCOME. Games are SOCIAL.

Some types of games useful in UU groups:
— Icebreaker and name games: for whenever you have a newcomer
— Classic kid games: for any age, just to have fun
— Fantasy games: unleashing fantasy and creativity
— Active games: get up and get moving
— Simulation or teaching games: learning by doing
— Theatre games: awareness of self, awareness of others
— Energy breaks: very short activities designed to regulate the group’s energy level

Every game-playing group of which I’ve been a part — from Sunday school classes with little kids to adult groups — usually has one or two games that they love best, and the group can play that game over and over again. My goal with every group is to try a bunch of games until I find at least one game we want to play over and over again. Of course I want to play lots of different games, but if there are one or two favorites, then when all other plans fail, we all know that at least we can play our favorite game. The games below marked “Fave Game” been a favorite game of at least one group I’ve led or been a part of.

Please note that rules of games are mutable — you may know one or more of these games with slightly different rules. The rules given here are rules that I know work, but you should change and adapt them as you wish.

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Easy bubble juice

I’m going to be leading a workshop tomorrow at the “Pot of Gold” religious education conference. For the workshop, I’ll be demonstrating bubble juice that makes medium (9-12 in.) soap bubbles. Below is a recipe, and instructions for making a bubble wand.

Easy bubble juice for 9-12″ bubbles


4 oz. very hot (not boiling) water

3 oz. Dawn brand Ultra Concentrated dishwashing detergent

3 oz. personal lubricating jelly (K-Y Jelly or any generic brand)

water to make up approx. 1 quart, about 22 oz.

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It rarely rains in the Bay area in summer time, but today we had a few scattered rain showers.

Just now, I was sitting at my desk, and happened to look up at the sky. I can’t see much of the sky from where I sit: trees and buildings limit my view. But there, in the small portion of the sky I could see, was part of a rainbow. I stepped outside to look at it. There was one small rain shower coming down from the clouds to the east — I could see the gray streaks of rain — and a little patch of sunlight just happened to light up that portion of the sky, causing a rainbow that encompassed about fifteen degrees of a complete circle.

I stood and watched it for about five minutes. At its brightest, there was the main spectrum, then immediately under it a smaller spectrum, the blue of the larger one fading directly into the red of the smaller one, and under that an even smaller spectrum. But soon the rain shower drifted out of the patch of sun, and the rainbow faded away.

It’s that time of year

It’s that depressing time of year. The Red Sox not only just got their butts whipped by our local American League team, the A’s — the Sox are also 15 games back in their division with little hope of even breaking .500 this year. To make matters worse, the SF Giants have been rocked by yet another PED scandal, so that every time I see orange and black I think it’s an ad for steroids.

The baseball season is coming to another sad, wheezing end for me. Sadly, baseball teams keep trading players so fast I can’t even keep track of who is on the team, which means I’m merely depressed by the abysmal performance of the Red Sox without the luxury of enjoying watching longtime favorites like Yaz, Jim Rice, and Tim Wakefield. And do I want to invest any time into following someone like Daisuke Matsuzaka, knowing that the Sox will probably trade him just when I’m beginning to like him?

Worst of all, football is beginning to take over the front page of the sports section. Why would I want to look at steroid-enhanced, brain-damaged football players, when I can look at a bunch of steroid-enhanced — oh, never mind.

Hmm, why do we…

So why do Unitarian Universalists do social justice work? In other words, what’s our religious reason for trying to improve the world?

I know my own personal reasons for doing social justice work. My reasons come partly from classic Universalism: we don’t have do worry about whether or not we’re going to heaven, but it is our job to make this present world a better world. I have updated classic Universalism with Bernard Loomer’s naturalistic interpretation of the teachings of Jesus: Jesus had a vision of the “kingdom of God,” which Loomer defines as an egalitarian interdependent web of existence in which all persons are valued, and in which no person shall go hungry, and this “kingdom of God” is the highest value towards which we can strive (note that Loomer was the one who introduced the phrase “web of existence” to Unitarian Universalists, which he identified with the kingdom of God). Thus I do social justice work to try to bring about what Jesus called the “kingdom of God,” where “God” is understood in an egalitarian, naturalistic way.

But people like me who rely upon Universalism and Jesus are definitely in the minority. What is the religious grounding for other Unitarian Universalists doing social justice? And pointing to the “seven principles” is not a sufficient answer — just because we voted to include the seven principles in the bylaws of the Unitarian Universalist Association in 1986 doesn’t tell me why we included them in the bylaws (e.g., I would argue that we included the seventh principle on the basis of Loomer’s understanding of Jesus).

I want to know why we do social justice. What’s your reason why?