05.27.19 | Member Monday Guide

Member Monday is now closing in on a three-year run with over one hundred and twenty weekly sessions to date. With the club closed on 5/27 for Memorial Day, the traditional discussion introduction is replaced by this guide to the paths previously taken.

See here a Table of Contents for all previous sessions listed by title and date arranged in reverse chronological order: https://www.highlandcityclub.com/member-monday-table-of-contents. Simply click on any title of interest to access the respective introduction along with a further click to see the focus article. These archived sessions can also be accessed from the outside by direct link: www.highlandcityclub.com/member-monday. Many thanks to Dustin and Ian for making this all possible as it also facilitates the cross-link among various sessions to enable integration among topics.

Now, for those who might have an interest in the history of Member Monday, the whole concept actually started with a monthly evening book club in 2006. As compelling as these discussions were, it became clear that once a month was simply too infrequent to promote regularity. In addition, not everyone had the time to commit to reading a long work. As such, a number of years later came the thought of a more frequent (weekly) schedule of discussion topics based, not on a book, but on a selected article or essay. We first started by simply serving up the article itself but that proved too sterile to achieve "escape velocity" -- context was needed. What finally worked was a compelling article accompanied by an introduction to tease out discussion questions/issues. Our inaugural Member Monday session, held on July 5, 2016, was on Howard Zinn's People's History of the United States.

These are facilitated discussions rather than presentations. Participants are thus safe from death by Powerpoint. We occasionally have credentialled invitees from the outside but their participation is that of "lead participant" rather than that of presenter. No session is videotaped or otherwise recorded, thereby encouraging very open sharing. We typically have sixteen to twenty participants who meet in the library, an extremely accommodating environment.

What's so enjoyable is finding the right balance between staying on topic while allowing for interesting tangents. In many cases it's the latter that powers the most meaningful interactions. Another note is the established session protocol with an encouragement of crisp delivery, active listening, and an avoidance of "cross-talk" -- many have commented privately what a luxury that is to experience listeners who really listen.

We have now streamlined the Member Monday posting and RSVP system. Future postings of the introduction (draft version w/ article) shall appear only on the club calendar by the end of the Monday preceding the scheduled session with the final version then presented, as before, in The Weekly. This final version shall also be emailed at the time of The Weekly to those on the distribution list (please let me know if you'd like to be removed from the distribution list or if you know of others who might want to be added). RSVPs will then be accepted via the RSVP button in The Weekly (or as otherwise provided).

We have been blessed to have the most mindful, engaging, and curious participants. The sessions represent the highest ideals of community. Perhaps you'd like to join us.

Steve Smith1 Comment