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You may use these techniques to frame your reading analysis posts.

Drawn from diverse religious traditions and adapted in consultation with ministry experts from Harvard University’s Divinity School, these techniques and frameworks have been used by monks and religious scholars for centuries to deepen their understanding of sacred texts. Use them to frame your meetings and your reflection posts on this forum so that you can benefit from close engagement with the book.

Lectio Divina
(good for both in person and virtual meetings as well as forum posts)
A traditional Christian practice that literally means ‘sacred reading’ in Latin, Lectio Divina consists of reading the “vachan” four times, working together to answer a different question after each reading.
  • The first question is literal: “What does this excerpt literally mean in the context of what is happening in the story/chapter as a whole?”
  • The second is allegorical: “What lessons/emotions/concepts could it symbolize, given the specific words and phrases Dada has used?”
  • The third is contextual: “What could the excerpt represent in today’s day and age; which specific challenges or circumstances in our time and our world does it remind us of? Are there any personal experiences it mirrors?”
  • The final step is called the invitation: “Through this excerpt, what is Dada calling us to do? How can we apply it to our lives?

Ignatian Spirituality
(good for both in person and virtual meetings as well as forum posts)
Contemplative Imagination was made famous by Saint Ignatius of Loyola. It works particularly well with excerpts that are from a narrative (e.g. a story from a scripture, the life of a saint, or another anecdote). Visualize the whole situation as if you were there. Ask members to pay attention to the details (e.g. sights, sounds, feelings), and share any deep, meaningful things they can extract from the experience of imagining themselves into the scene (e.g. new empathy/understanding for the character or a new appreciation for the lesson Dada is conveying through the story).

Floralegia
(good for both in person and virtual meetings)
In this practice, two separate vachans are taken and read back-to-back. The group works together to analyze what new insights could emerge from reading them this way.

Havruta
(better for in person meetings)
This Jewish practice means “companionship” or “fellowship”; in it, the group is divided into pairs. From each pair, one person comes up with a question based on the chosen excerpt (or the reading as a whole) and proposes an answer; the other shares their thoughts either adding to the previous answer or proposing another interpretation. Both answers are discussed and synthesized.

Marginalia
(better for in person meetings)
Members trade their copies of the book/the book they took notes, allowing one another to flip through and discuss why specific things were highlighted, underlined, or written in the margins.
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