Virtues for UUs

This program aims to build capacity to identify messages received from media, family, religion, peers, and society about specific virtues, and to discern how to apply these virtues in real life. Each week participants will read several short essays on a variety of topics, including virtue and moral character; liberal virtues; self-control and responsibility; compassion and generosity; fairness; mindfulness; intelligence; and transcendence. Introductory remarks by the facilitator will be followed by meditations and group discussion of our personal character strengths and weaknesses, as well as group exercises, some of which will be taken from the UUA’s “Virtue Ethics” curriculum for teens.

Facilitator: J. Hughes

Note: Sessions have been extended to May 5th, new schedule below.

Eight weekly sessions beginning Monday, February 24, 5-6:30 p.m.

Feb 24: Virtue and Moral Character.  How have the religious and philosophical traditions thought about virtue and moral character, and what are the problems with the idea of moral character?  Is morality innate or learned? Is there a common human morality?

March 3: Liberal Virtues. Are there liberal and conservative virtues?  Why have the liberal religious shied away from the language of virtue and moral character?

March 10: Self-Control and Responsibility. What are the ways in which we try to exercise more self-control in our own lives? What are the vices we wish we could conquer, and what forms of self-discipline do we think we exercise well?

March 17: Compassion and Generosity. Com-passion involves being able to imagine other people’s perspectives and feelings, actually feeling sympathetic pain and joy with them, and the impulse to do something to help others. How can we build our capacities for empathy and generosity?

March 31: Fairness. Our capacities for fairness are compromised by many biases. How can we more critically reflect on our biases in order to be more fair towards others? What is fairness?

April 14: Mindfulness. Our distractedness is a major impediment to our ability to practice virtue. How can we be more mindful in our daily lives?

April 28: Intelligence. In order to make good decisions and do good for others we have to understand the way human beings and the world works as clearly as possible.  What forms of learning and reflection do we need to focus more on in order to be better people? In what ways to we undercut our critical intelligence?

May 5: Transcendence. How open are we to the experience of humor, forgiveness, gratitude, hope, and awe?  How can we open ourselves more to these experiences, and tap into our capacities for creativity and optimism?

To sign up please contact the church office at 860-646-5151860-646-5151 or  [email protected] to sign up.

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