• Schedule: 5 sessions on Wednesdays at 7pm AZ time, starting November 17
  • Facilitators: Gary Ezzell

Words have power, and many are shape-shifters. Many UUs feel emotional dissonance, and sometimes frank distress, associated with words that they encounter in our gatherings, often based on direct or indirect experiences with other faith traditions. In this class we will begin by submitting troublesome words to a word cloud, and then that will inform the words that we explore – associations and connotations, etymologies, histories—to see if a deeper understanding will help us shift these words into helpful shapes.

1-2 weeks before the class is to start, registrants can submit words they would like to consider to a word cloud, and this will inform the discussions to follow. During the first session, we will introduce ourselves and our religious backgrounds, make a covenant for the class, and review the words we plan to consider. 

In each of the subsequent four sessions, we will discuss a few of the words, following this general format for each word: 

  • Invite people to share what connotations it has for them; what emotions and/or memories it evokes.
  • Share the dictionary definition and etymology; perhaps history of usage.
  • Share any relevant quotes or poems that show other people’s use and perception of the word.
  • Invite brainstorming about how the word might be thought of or re-imagined in a way to make it useful. Not looking for a consensus but different variations.