This term’s Digger Deeper Bookclub book is Chappo’s, A Foot in Two Worlds. We are about to embark on our round of discussion groups, over suppers or afternoon teas. I am looking forward to it.
Tomorrow I am going to a certain bookstore to scout out the 4th term book. Love to hear your suggestions?
The following are criteria I’m trying to meet:
1. Pitched at a bible study leader level of theological comprehension.
2. Opens up a particular topic or aspect of the Christian life for non-sepcialists (so, eg., that rules out books on the New Perspective or other academic debates)
3. Short enough not to be daunting (we did some 200+ page books which no one finished – the current book is under 100 – I’m thinking 150 might be our upper limit?)
4. Classics could be included – last year we did Luther’s ‘Freedom of a Christian’, which people found encouraging. So far this year, we haven’t done any classics…)
Our book for this next term is by English author Tim Chester, called ‘You Can Change’. Here’s the blurb:
‘Many books are written by experts. This isn’t one of them,’ admits Tim Chester. ‘ It was born out of my own struggle to change. My long battle with particular issues set me searching the Bible as well as writings from the past. This book shares the amazing truths I discovered.’
You may be:
· A new Christian, struggling to change former habits
· An older Christian who has plateaued – you grew quickly when you first believed but now your Christian life is much of a muchness
· A Christian who’s fallen into sin in a big way, wondering how you’ll ever get back on track
This book is about hope in Jesus, hope for forgiveness, hope for true and lasting change. God promises liberating grace and transforming power to his people.
Retail price: $15.00. Special Digging Deeper Bookclub price: $12.00. 200 pages, with discussion guides. Available from this Sunday at the College of Ministry table at St Paul’s, and from John Hooton and Glenhaven.
I have had a good time reading and discussing this with others, both online and at a discussion group we ran at my place.
One of the things that struck me about the book was the observation about how the fear of death lies at the basis of most human anxiety and behaviour. It is an extended discussion, but here’s a taste:
Now it all comes together! Because of our sin, the world lies under the sentence of death, a sentence we carry around with us in our mortal flesh. This causes a profound disruptive anxiety, a fear of death, that may be expressed in different ways, and masked in different ways, but is always there. This fear of death makes us long for security, for something that will calm our fears. We are security-seeking missles, and this opens us up to believe the lies of the devil, who tells us that our security is to be found in the things of this world. And, of course, these are all his to give, because this world belongs to him. At that point, our fear of death has taken us to exactly where the master of the underworld wants us: we are his slaves.
Peter Bolt, Living With the Underworld Kingsford: Matthias Media, 2007, 98-99.
I reckon he’s right. After I read this, I began looking around for signs of confirmation. And found one in the most bizarre place – the children’s wear department of a local department store. We were looking for clothes for the boys, and I noticed that most of the shirts are covered in skulls. Shirts for 4 year olds, covered in the symbol of death!! What’s going on with that?!
Of course, the designers will print stuff that they think, boy will think is ‘cool’. But I wonder whether the attempt to make death ‘cool’ is just another way of trying to avoid the anxiety that it provokes in us? And why not start that process at a young age?
Filed under bookclub, death
We’re trying something new for St Paul’s this year. It’s a bookclub.
Now, that’s not new in itself. But its not quite the typical ‘Jane Austen’ style bookclub.
Here’s how it works:
– I pick 4 books for the year, 1 per school term (since that is the way the church year is generally structured). The aim is to cover a range of topics and interests, including 1 which is a ‘classic’ author. People can choose to opt in for 1,2,3 or 4 books.
– people sign up, and we source the books for them. The bookclub members pick up their books from our College of Ministry table after church, or from our office during the week.
– once people have the books, they can interact with each other in 2 ways
* a Facebook bookclub group. It is a ‘secret’ group, so all members know that their
comments can only be seen by others in the bookclub’.
* 1 supper during the term at someone’s house. This provides both an avenue to interact
for those who aren’t online, as well as an opportunity to explore theology together in
face to face relationships.
The idea behind this initiative was to provide another opportunity to stretch people who may have been Christians for a while, in a self-guided educational model. It also serves as a means for people to get into reading Christian books. Lots of people have said to me that they have wanted to get into reading, but didn’t know where to start. One the advantages of this system is that someone else has chosen the book for you, and you have the extra incentive to read it in that you know that others are reading it with you and you can chat with them about it.
The books for this year are:
Term 1 – 666 and all that, Greg Clarke and John Dickson
Term 2 – On Christian Liberty, Martin Luther
Term 3 – Living with the Underworld, Peter Bolt
Term 4 – The Reason for God, Tim Keller
We had 75 for the first term. A few teething problems with te Facebook and the suppers, but a pretty good start.
Thoughts, comments, questions, suggestions?