As a Teacher
Watching with other leaders during a sit-in/teach-in in front of Governor Charlie Baker's office in support of a student-led action seeking a pledge from the governor not to force local authorities to collaborate with ICE against immigrant communities.
As a teacher, my strong preference is towards a seminar style - my role, as I see it, is at least as much to invite forth insight and original thought from the participants, as it is to impart particular knowledge to them. As one example of this approach in practice, below is the audio recording of a service I led near the end of this past summer. I like to make the most of the predictable drop in attendance during the summer months, by using these services to allow for more dialog and give and take between the worship leader and the congregation. On this particular Sunday, I led the assembly in a spiritually-grounded text-study, and after my short homily at the beginning which functioned as a sort of opening lecture, you can hear on the recording the feedback and insight from members of the congregation themselves.
Several years ago, I began an open study group at my congregation, focused on exploring sacred texts from a wide variety of sources. At the beginning we hopped around a lot, looking at single chapters or stories or chunks from the Bible, the Quran, the Bhagavad Gita, and the Tao Te Ching. Eventually the participants and I became interested in going more slowly and more deeply with an entire document, reading and reflecting line-by-line. We began this phase with what I think of as the three most important sermons in the history of Unitarianism in America: William Ellery Channing's Baltimore Sermon, Ralph Waldo Emerson's Divinity School Address, and Theodore Parker's A Discourse of the Transient and Permanent in Christianity. After that, we moved on to examining entire books of the Bible with the same detailed focus. That's when I started recording the introductory lectures with Facebook Live, so that those who were interested could follow along with the reading at home even if they couldn't make the in-person discussion. The opening lectures for the first four books we covered can be found below.
Lecture on context and approach for the Book of Genesis.
Lecture on context and approach for the Book of Job.
Lecture on context and approach for the Revelation of John.
Lecture on context and approach for the Gospel According to Mark.