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“The Search for Common Ground” Class – Zoom Only
February 16 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
An event every week that begins at 7:00 pm on Wednesday, repeating until February 23, 2022
The Search for Common Ground
We live in a place and time where we are inundated with negative images and messaging designed to create divisions. Xenophobia and conflict seem to be unrestrained. However, fear of others can be diminished by shared experiences, communication and connection across cultures. In this class we will use Howard Thurman’s seminal book The Search for Common Ground as a guide to affirm our Unity and Oneness with all mankind. Howard Thurman advises that we must overcome our hesitancy to experience diverse cultures and seek a wider community so that, “the conflicts between man and man and between group and group will not have the last word about the meaning of life and the nature of existence.”
This is soul work. It requires an open heart, and a willingness to look within, listen, learn, and share without shame or blame. When people share their stories, they find common ground. What we experience here will have a ripple effect. Ardell McCoy in her sermon, Becoming an Urban Shaman (12/09/2020), posed the question, how can a spiritually awakened community transform lives to transform the world. In this class we set the intention to actualize a response.
There are four interactive and experiential sessions. Each session consists of a period of introspection and self-reflection facilitated through readings, music, and guided meditation followed by small group discussion and sharing. Ideally, small groups will be culturally diverse. Themes from Howard Thurman’s writings include Oneness with nature and the universe, a many-sided awareness, and unity with all mankind.
Students are encouraged but not required to complete two class assignments (described below). The more engaged in the experience the deeper the personal meaning.
To activate a spirit of openness and affirm the interconnection of man with all living things and all of mankind.
To increase self-awareness and explore how our culture and background informs the lens through which we see the world.
To appreciate the multiplicity and complexity of human existence by highlighting commonalities and honoring differences across cultures.
- Your Cultural Heritage. Bring an item to share that represents your cultural heritage and background. It can be an object, picture, musical selection, a poem or prose that is meaningful to you and that reflects some aspect of your worldview. The goal is to reflect on how your background and culture informs the lens through which you see the world and others. You will have the opportunity to share in small groups.
- Virtual Immersion Experience. A list of documentaries, movies, and videos in the voice of African Americans and Native Americans will be provided for participants to view. Social media offers an opportunity to hear the authentic narratives of minorities. The goal is to deepen awareness, understanding and sensitivity to the experience of individuals from a minority group. You will have the opportunity to share reflections and insights during group discussions.