I spent the third week in July serving as the Religious Values & Heritage lecturer at the Unitarian Universalist Association Midwest Leadership School held at Beloit College in Beloit, Wisconsin. This was my second year serving in this role. The lectures I delivered were fairly similar to the ones I had delivered the previous year. (As promised, I have re-posted the lectures below.)
Serving this two-year stint on the MWLS staff was a great experience. It is amazing to have nearly 40 UU lay leaders willing to give up an entire week to take an intensive course in leadership skills so they are better able to serve in a leadership capacity in their congregations. It is even amazing that a staff of 9 lay people commit to serving an additional three years to make leadership school go. It is an intense week. Students are expected to attend every single offering on the schedule and the programming for each day runs from 8:00am to 9:30pm with only two hours unscheduled. Oftentimes, "free time" is spent planning worship services or completing assignments.
Another thing that sets MWLS apart is that we are the only UU leadership school to run a leadership training for youth concurrently with the program for adults. The youth have their own classes in leadership skills development, religious values & heritage, and faith reflection. However, youth and adults come together for worship skills training and worship. (There are two worship services daily and students are assigned to worship groups and tasked with designing a worship service with 24 hours notice.) Here is a fun video from this year's youth school.
And, as promised, here are my lectures:
Lecture #1: "Are We an Odd Toadstool?: An Historiography of Unitarian Universalism"
Lecture #2: "The Wordy Shipmates: Understanding Our Puritan Roots"
Lecture #3: "Trampling the Tulips: The Unitarian Break from Calvinism"
Lecture #4: "A Theology of Human Nature and Its Social Consequences"
Lecture #5: "Transcendentalism, the New Nation, and the Second Great Awakening"
Lecture#6: "A Shorty History of Universalism"
Lecture #7: "Unitarian Universalist Approaches to World Religions"
Lecture #8: "Humanism and the Challenge of Modernity"
Lecture #9: "From Merger to Present: UU History from 1961 to 2009"
Lecture #10: "The Future History of Unitarian Universalism"