The second session of Ben Franklin Circles met at the Santa Barbara Central Library on February 26, 2018 with 24 Santa Barbara community members.
The monthly ongoing in-depth dialogues based on Ben Franklin’s 13 Virtues are a program of the Santa Barbara Public Library and a significant Thematic Learning Initiative outcome, originally initiated from Arts & Lectures’ two-day residency with and presentations by Emily Esfahani Smith in November 2017.
The local Ben Franklin Circles leader is Programming & Marketing Librarian Jen Lemberger, who has connected the SB Library with national organizations such as New York City’s 92nd Street Y, the Hoover Institution at Stanford and Citizen University in Seattle. The second session in Santa Barbara and first virtue to be discussed was Temperance which Franklin defined as “Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.” The group was broken into two self-lead circles, before joining back together and sharing highlights from each discussion. The diverse conversations covered modern day interpretations of moderation, gluttony, privilege, accountability, self-control and discipline. Also raised were keystone habits, digital overload impacts, regulation influencing others, and supporting “thy neighbor”.
Film Screening: An American Conscience: The Reinhold Niebuhr Story
Monday, March 5, 2018
Santa Barbara Public Library
Following the screening UCSB Global Studies Professor Mark Juergensmeyer, shared his memories as a Masters student at Union Theological Seminary in NYC where Niebuhr was one of his teachers. Professor Juergensmeyer also fielded questions from the audience and further discussed the importance of Reinhold Niebuhr and his writings, such as the well-known serenity prayer that reads:
God, give us grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.
- Reinhold Niebuhr