Pre-Work Assignments for The Board's Prophetic Imagination Two Workshops on Congregational Board Service in Columbus, OH
If you're attending our governance workshops in Columbus, we'd suggest the following pre-reading and reflection questions to spark your thinking about the role of the prophetic imagination in congregational life—and what it means to speak of the prophetic imagination of the board.
1. The Five Smooth Stones of Liberalism in James Luther Adams' essay Guiding Principles for a Free Faith, a composite of eight editorials and speeches he wrote on that theme between 1939 and 1955. From the book On Being Human Religiously, which you can access through Google books. Feel free to read the entire essay, but in particular focus on pages 12-20. If you want a preview of the chapter, or a great summary, check out the leader’s guide from the youth program A Place of Wholeness, available from the UUA on their website.
2. James Luther Adams’s Examined Faith by Chris Walton in UU World. You can access it on the UUA website: 3. Walter Brueggemann—The Prophetic Imagination, an episode of OnBeing you can access at the OnBeing website. 4. If you’re deeply inspired, and want even more, you could read Walter Brueggeman’s 1978 classic book (with updates in 2001) TheProphetic Imagination. You’ll need to purchase it; you can find it on Amazon. Some key themes all of these consider:
The role of the church as an institution in promoting justice
The importance of covenant, of being in relationship with others
The nature of God or the divine
The importance of metaphor
The role of both death and hope, of criticizing and energizing, in the prophetic voice
In what ways has your church responded to its call for prophetic imagination?
What’s the congregational leader’s role in responding to the call for prophetic imagination?
What opportunities and challenges does the call for prophetic imagination offer a congregational board?
We’ll explore these questions in the first half of the workshop and how the board’s work to fill the nested bowls of values, mission and Ends in conversation with its sources of authority and accountability helps it respond to the call for prophetic imagination. In the second half, we’ll get explicit about how to engage in that conversation.