“Money"

Small-Group Session (1 of 2)

 

Set-Up
Before the session starts, the leader should set chairs in a circle, with a chalice and matches on a small table in the middle, or somewhere visible to participants.  Make sure the strips of paper for “Readings from the Common Bowl” are in the bowl.  Welcome people, and allow folks to settle before lighting the chalice.

 

Chalice Lighting and Opening Words
The group leader lights the chalice (or asks someone else to) and then, with the intent of creating sacred space, reads the following words:

"When I feed the poor, they call me a saint, but when I ask why the poor are hungry, they call me a communist.”

- Dom Helder Camara Archbishop of Recife in Brazil

 

Draw the circle wide now,

Even wider,

Make a chair for what is unknown and unexplored,

Make a seat for what you hold sacred and what you abhor

Draw the circle wide now,

For the saints and visionaries

The ones who challenge us still.

Draw the circle wide now,

For all of our questions make an altar to our pilgrimage together.

 

Brief Check-In

Invite each person, in turn, to share a brief answer to the check-in question.  The check-in question is: “What are you carrying in your heart that will deepen our engagement or build a barrier?”

 

 

Readings from the common bowl
The leader passes around the bowl, with strips of paper that have quotes on them.  Invites each person to take one strip/quote out of the bowl. Then, invites each to read the quotes.  They don’t have to read in order, one right next to the last one.  But instead, invite them to allow some silence after every quote, and then to see if the quote they picked out of the bowl should go next or not.  (See additional section below for quotes; these are the quotes that will be torn into separate strips, and put in the bowl before the meeting)

 

Focusing Question

After everyone has read the different statements, the leader asks the central question that will guide the session’s discussion: “What are your earliest memories of money?  What, in your life, has been the story of money?”

 

First Round
Leader invites attendees to take no more than 2 minutes to share a response to the question.  Find a way to gently hold the group to the no-more-than-2-minute limit.  Also, let people know there’s no cross-talk to the responses: group-members don’t answer the statements people make.  One person speaks for oneself, then the next person does the same.  It’s not a conversation, so much as a series of statements. Again, each with some silence or space between. And, again, voices don’t need to go in order, with people sitting beside each other speaking—just as the Spirit moves.

 

Silence
After hearing everyone’s statements, the leader invites the group to sit in silence for 2-3 minutes.  This is not time for them to plan what they’ll say.  It’s time to sit and be present, to let whatever comes up, come up.

 

Second round, reflections on what was heard, with additional thoughts
Whereas in the first round, attendees were encouraged to stick to their own thoughts, here in the second round, people can respond to some of what they heard.  Again, encourage brevity—whether a formal 2-minute limit is enforced or not, encourage the conversation to move from one place to another in the circle, not getting dragged down to one or two voices who speak at length.  It’s OK for people to respond to each other’s comments.

 

Likes and wishes
The leader asks for people to share, as they’re moved, what they liked about the session, and what they wish for next time, that they may or may not have experienced this time.

 

Closing Words & Extinguishing the Chalice

We honor the currency of wisdom, flowing freely in this gathering,

We honor the exchange of story.

 

 (extinguish chalice)


 

Quotes for The Common Bowl

 

Simple, genuine goodness is the best capital to found the business of this life upon. It lasts when fame and money fail, and is the only riches we can take out of this world with us.

-Louisa May Alcott

 

Expect nothing.  Live frugally on surprise.

-Alice Walker

 

Poverty is not a fate, it is a condition; it is not a misfortune, it is an injustice.

-Gustavo Gutiérrez

 

I have never viewed money as ‘my money.’ I always saw it as ‘the money.’  It’s a resource.  If it pools up around me then it needs to be flushed back out into the system.

-Louis C.K.

 

Success isn’t about how much money you make. It is about how much difference you make in other’s lives.

-First Lady Michelle Obama

 

We have created new idols.  The worship of the ancient golden calf has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and in the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a true purpose.

-Pope Francis

 

Money won’t create success. The freedom to make it will.

-Nelson Mandela

 

Wealth is the ability to full experience life.

-Thoreau

 

My pride fell with my fortunes.

-Shakespeare  

 

I became alienated from this religious upbringing, and started making music. I wanted to be a big star. All those things I saw in the films and on the media took hold of me, and perhaps I thought this was my god: the goal of making money.

-Cat Stevens