Look. Listen. Feel. Visiting other faith communities.

I’m in the process of updating our congregation’s “Neighboring Faith Communities” course for middle schoolers (available online here).

The introductory video for this curriculum might be of interest to readers of this blog, so here it is:

I’ll put the script for the video below the fold, as some group leaders might want access to it.

 

Script for “Look. Listen. Feel.” video

Note that each new paragraph represents a new image or slide in the video.

[FIRST SLIDE, NO TALK]

When we think about religion, we’re most likely to think about what people believe.

But belief is only one of seven dimensions of religion. And when you actually visit other faith communities, instead of just reading about them, three of those seven dimensions are much more interesting to focus on:

…the emotional dimension — what people are feeling and experiencing…

…the social dimension — the clothes people wear to signal who they are, how people interact, and so on…

…and the material dimension — all the arts used in that faith community, including music, and all the objects they have, including their building.

Emotions and experiences.

Social stuff.

Arts and objects.

When you visit another faith community, look around…

…listen to all that is happening around you…

…be aware of what other people are feeling and experiencing.

Emotions and experiences: what do people feel when they do religion?

They might feel inward strength…

They might feel healing from sickness and sorrow…

They might feel devotion…

They might feel submission to their god…

They might feel inner peace and nothingness…

They might feel happy and exuberant. People doing religion feel many different things.

The social stuff — let’s start with what people wear.

They might wear formal clothes to show respect for each other and for their god and their religion…

Or they might wear t-shirts and sneakers comfy trousers, to show they’re just ordinary people.

The people leading worship might wear special clothes, to show their position in the community…

Or the people leading worship might lead ordinary clothes to show they’re just like everyone else.

In some faith communities everyone wears special clothes different from their day-to-day clothes.

More social stuff — watch how people interact with one another.

In some faith communities, the leaders make a point of talking to everyone.

In some faith communities, the children go off separately for their own programs.

Sometimes after the service is over, the faith community eats a meal together…

…different ways to serve and eat the meal reveal something about social interactions.

Classes or discussions before or after services might be part of the faith community.

In some communities, people do not socialize but just leave after services are over. There are lots of ways faith communities interact socially.

Arts and objects — We’ll start with the building the faith community meets in.

Outside, the building might be very plain…

…or it might have lots of ornamentation.

Inside, the building might be plain and simple…

…or it might have an astonishing amount of decoration.

Art and objects — next let’s consider music.

Does everyone gets to sing along during the service?

Does the faith community have an organ?…

…or a praise band…

…or someone leading the chanting…

…or someone with a guitar leading singing…

…or soloists playing a musical instrument…

…or electronically-based music such as hip hop.

Arts and objects — be sure to look around for beautiful objects.

Objects could include paintings…

…things hanging from the ceiling…

…books used in the service…

…furniture and rugs…

…or other objects.

Some objects might be carried by worship leaders.

Some objects might be touched or used by everyone, such as communion cups.

And always look for special decorations that indicate a special time of year for that faith community.

So — when you visit a faith community,…

…look around.

Listen…

…to all that is happening around you.

Be aware…

of what other people are feeling and experiencing.

[CLOSING CREDITS, NO TALK.]

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