Page 6 - Reading Between the Lines: The European Reformation
P. 6

What is Reading Between The Lines?
Exploring the Story: This series of open-ended questions helps to move systematically from encountering the text to connecting with the world around and to the inner world. Enter as fully as you can in response to questions and suggestions, and try the non-verbal exercises.
The questions can be used “as-is,” but be open to other ways of encountering the text that may come to mind. Particularly if you are working with a group, shape the questions to fit what you know of the members. Let the process be "God's playground" where you can stretch and dig and build.
Between the Lines: These brief comments and questions may open up other avenues of approach to the text. They can be incorporated into the main questions, or substituted as seems appropriate. Exploring Further: Readings are offered to stir up, console, challenge, upset, enrich, and tantalize you. There is no right answer hidden here. Sometimes readings will contradict each other or other material presented for the same text. They will, hopefully, be timely words from the world for your reflection.
Group Guidelines: Over years of practical experience, we have developed a set of guidelines for using Reading Between The Lines in a group setting:
• Focus on the text.
Reading Between The Lines is an invitation to enter into the story. It is not a group for exegesis,
theology, discussion, or therapy. If the focus begins to wander, come back to the text.
• "I statements" are encouraged.
The goal is to explore how you respond to the text. This is not to discount tradition and the scholars; but to say that here it is how you hear, feel, think about, and react to the text that is of primary importance.
• Pauses between responses are important.
A subtle reminder that we are not in a discussion group. The aim is to engage the text rather than one another. What we hear others say can be crucial. Why they say what they do is a conversation that can take place over coffee later.
• The goal is not consensus, agreement, or a right answer.
The richness and value of the experience may depend upon the very opposite.
• There is no expectation that you explain, justify, or defend anything you say.
This may be hard to remember; even if you are working through Reading Between The Lines alone.
• Silence is part of the process/ silence can be pregnant.
Alone this may simply be about taking your time and allowing some in-between spaces. In the silence there is a chance not only to ponder what others have said, but to hear the echo of your own voice.
• Allow space for others to speak
The richness of the discussion depends on hearing different voices and different perspectives, not just one.
• You can change your mind as often as you like.
"How do I know what I think until I hear myself say it?" In this process, once you hear what you have said, feel free to change your mind not once, but over and over again.
• Honestly try the nonverbal exercises.
This is not an art or theater competition. Silence your inner critic and be prepared to be amazed and enlightened.
• What is said in the RBTL group stays in the group.
In the group, we touch sacred ground in ourselves and each other. Have the respect for the group and yourself to honor that confidentiality.
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