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September 21, 7:00 p.m. CST: For Such a Time as This: Young Adults on the Future of the Church by Kathryn Mary Lohre

As described on Amazon: “Churches in the U.S. are grappling with unprecedented change…. Americans are increasingly not affiliating themselves with any religion, including one third of adults under 30.

In light of all this, what is the future of the churches? In For Such a Time as This: Young Adults on the Future of the Church, Christian young adults offer an invigorating, new, and timely word on issues such as eco-justice, immigration, interfaith relations, peace and justice, and inclusivity of those on the margins.

Lohre and her contributors – – representing a broad spectrum of cultures, races, and Christian traditions – – offer a mutual exchange of ideas, experiences, and insights. More than a collection, however, this project is designed for intergenerational study and discussion. It offers a starting place for thinking about and moving towards the future together.”

To read more, or to purchase the book, follow this link to Amazon:

Church has been meaningful in all of our lives, and its future is important to us. We look forward to being together in September, discussing this timely topic. A reminder will be sent out a few days prior; the conference call in number remains the same as last month: 1-424-203-8405 Pass code: 484 188#.

Barb, Carol, Sandi & Rindy

The conference call book discussion of July 20 brought together 10 of us from around the country for a lively chat about the book, Persistent Pilgrim, the Life of Mary Baker Eddy, by Richard A. Nenneman.  Continue reading to eavesdrop on the conversation, moderated by Tim Hayes.

            Q. – First impressions?

I have read all except the last chapter.  I thought it was a little dry at first.  As I kept reading I began to feel so appreciative of this book.  I gained much from it.

I had remembered this as a biography that I especially liked.  I had a greater appreciation of her struggles, such as her invalidism as a child and as a young woman; then how she went through a pretty bleak experience during the early years of her discovery; how she got hit with all those public criticisms.  I do appreciate this biography.

It was a tiny bit slow for me to get started, but I loved this biography more than many of the books on Eddy.  I felt it was more honest, for instance about her use of morphine.  This is by far my favorite biography that I’ve read.  As a newcomer to Christian Science, this has been really helpful.  Yes, I enjoyed this more than Rolling Away the Stone by Stephen Gottschalk.

I too enjoyed this book a lot more than Rolling Away the Stone.  The author was very gentle in his depictions and in telling the story.  He pulled pieces together in ways other authors have not done.

I still have about 100 pages to read.  So far I am getting a picture of how she made a lot of choices that she had to learn from, how not to get sidetracked.  She had to be tough on the Board of Directors when The Mother Church was being built.  Nothing was sugar-coated.  She learned as she went along.  For a woman to achieve what she did at that time in history was phenomenal.

I was moved fairly early on to want to pick up Rolling Away the Stone again.  My memory of Rolling Away the Stone is that it was far better written.  This author summarized letters instead of quoting from them, and I kept waiting for the quotes.

 Q. How do people like the way this author treated Mary Baker    Eddy’s relationship with Quimby? Did it seem clearly presented?

I thought he handled it clearly and fairly.

I thought what Nenneman wrote was very good.  Plus there was some information he gave about Science and Health that I hadn’t known.  I don’ t know that, for me, the author went deep enough. I also liked the quotes and footnotes in Rolling Away the Stone.  I did like what the author did in talking about Puritanism in America.  He also explains what was going on in her time, what things meant that we might not know today.

I enjoyed the chapter with Quimby and the way he showed the influence that Quimby had on Mary Baker Eddy. “He reinforced the belief she already had that there must be a system to mental healing.” (p. 79)  “The fact that this man took her seriously may, in the end, have done more to move [her] ahead on her life’s quest…” He “reinforced her sense of self-worth.”  (p. 83)

Just to have someone who understands you as you try to think through new ideas is very powerful.  Her other family members were not interested.  They discouraged her spiritual pursuits.  Then to have Quimby come along and listen to her and to discuss these ideas with her was a big influence.

Part of what I got from this reading is that it was quite valuable to her, probably, that Quimby took her seriously.  At the same time she had the intelligence to know that she was going in a different direction.  Even in 1862 she began to see that Quimby was seeking something which he did not understand.  She seemed to be pursuing the deeper principle.  By 1866 she began to wonder exactly what Quimby represented for her, or what he had taught her.

When it was time, she left Quimby and moved on.

I think it is no coincidence that his notebooks were not released earlier by his son, because you would be able to tell from the style of writing, you could compare his writings with hers.  In my opinion it is not possible for two people to come to a meeting of the minds the way these two people did, without both being influenced by the other.

            Comments on her teaching

From the beginning, the insignificance of belief as opposed to spiritual understanding is what she was teaching.  “It is dangerous to believe in God when we are instructed to ‘acquaint ourselves with God.’”  (p. 111)

In one of her classes she dismissed a man who insisted on arguing with her, because he was not there to learn.  In those days she had to be securely grounded in order for her, as a woman, to dismiss a man.

In many cases Mrs. Glover encouraged students beyond their limits.  She was on a mission.  If you are going to follow that person, you have to also be on that mission.  Many who went to serve her did not have the “staying power” due to the intensity of the work.  (p. 125)

She caught enough flack from those attacking her, and that was before the presence of the Internet.  Would it have been easier or harder for her to weather the storm, in the day of the Internet?

How many women could do something like she did?  Alone?  Could anyone – male or female?  Look at the other women he talks about in this book (Elizabeth Cady Stanton – originator of the Women’s rights movement and Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross).

Her struggles with people and their understanding or lack of it, reminds me of Jesus’ parable of the seeds falling on different soils.  I don’t see that we’ve evolved very much.  We still have the same struggles.  We have to deal with human nature, and she gave us this textbook to help us do it.

Change happens one person at a time when a person decides to devote themselves to the truth.  The key to how we haven’t changed much, is that there are very few of us that have total commitment to an idea, and then to have let it carry us as far as it can.

            The epilogue 

The epilogue points out that we are in a very divergent age.  When Eddy wrote her book, there was general Bible literacy.  Today there is not.

“…the spirituality that Mrs. Eddy presented is unique among modern systems of mental healing practice… the practice of Christian Science as a healing agent cannot be unconnected from the regeneration of human character… that is the basis of Christian experience.” (p. 355)

 

Please take note:  through January 2015, book discussions will be held every other month.

 

September 21 – For Such a Time as This: Young Adults on the future of the Church, by Kathryn Mary Lohre (160 pages)

Rindy, Sandi, Carol, Barb

Book Club Discussion of After You Believe – Why Christian Character Matters by N.T. Wright.

Our discussion participants included a small minority that read the entire book and a majority that didn’t make it through because it seemed dry, pedantic, intellectual and convoluted.  One caller considered the book an extremely important concept, and a reminder of how important it is to live consistently what we believe.  What follows is a synopsis of the discussion.

I felt the author was speaking to a different range of Christians – the notion on the one hand of being born again.  Is it works?  or is it faith?  Is one by itself sufficient?   Faith is important because it helps us to understand God; it is important then to live that understanding.  Be true to yourself.

What was conspicuously missing for me was prayer.

I was taken off guard by reading this book – that there are people who seriously argue that because I have accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, it no longer matters what I do with my life, because I am going to heaven.  There are people who argue against a practice of leading a virtuous life. Continue Reading »

July 20, 7:00 p.m. CST: Persistent Pilgrim – The Life of Mary Baker Eddy by Richard A. Nenneman

This biography is part of the Christian Science Publishing Society’s Mary Baker Eddy “Twentieth-Century Biographers Series”. As the author, a former Editor-in-Chief of The Christian Science Monitor, shares in his Preface, an important source for him was the several thousand letters which Mary Baker Eddy wrote, which in his words “provide the structural skeleton for much of the story as told here”.

Among the comments about the book:

“. . . the most compassionate and yet dispassionate biography of Mrs. Eddy yet written.” – Howard R. Lamar, former President of Yale University

To obtain the book in the Kindle edition, follow this link to Amazon.

To obtain the book in print form, follow this link to The Christian Science Publishing Society:

We look forward to being together in July, sharing new insights on the life of Mary Baker Eddy and how her experience inspires our own spiritual practice. A reminder will be sent out a few days prior; the conference call in number remains the same as last month: 1-424-203-8405 Pass code: 484 188#.

Barb, Carol, Sandi & Rindy

June 15, 7:00 p.m. CST: After You Believe – Why Christian Character Matters by N.T. Wright

Some insights from Amazon:
“Wright dispels the common misconception that Christian living is nothing more than a checklist of dos and don’ts. Nor is it a prescription to “follow your heart” wherever it may lead. Instead, After You Believe reveals the Bible’s call for a revolution – a transformation of character that takes us beyond our earthly pursuit of money, sex and power into a virtuous state of living that allows us to reflect God and to live more worshipful, fulfilling lives.”

To read more or obtain the book, follow this link to Amazon.

We look forward to being together on the call, and a reminder will be sent out a few days prior. The conference call in number remains the same as last month: 1-424-203-8405 Pass code: 484 188#.

Barb, Carol, Sandi & Rindy

Book Club Discussion Points on Who Is This Man?  The Unpredictable Impact of the Inescapable Jesus by John Ortberg

Our moderator, Tim Hayes, once again ably directed the book discussion this month.  He brought out interesting facts and questions that helped the participants understand the focus of the book.  Following are some of those discussion points.

Opening comments.  You could give this book to anyone because it cuts through theologies.  The author has strung the historical facts together in a unique way.  Many of his principles are cultural norms today.  I was amazed that he could write a book about Jesus so absent from theology.

Be skeptical about what you read about historical figures, revisionist history is far more the rule than accurate history.  An Aramaic scholar says that academically speaking there is very little historical evidence about Jesus.  The point is it doesn’t really matter because it is not the person; it is about the teachings, about the truth behind them.

In the beginning of the chapter where they are talking about the reluctant scholar, at the end of the chapter they are talking about David.  David was a man from a caste system in India, with strict divisions.  David’s father had grown up forbidden to enter a temple or bathe in the river.  It took six months for David to absorb the notion that God loved him.  So when he went back to his family as a follower of Jesus, the family beat him and threw him out of the village.  He went back to the missionary, who took him in and was educated.  David went back to India as a missionary and did much good.  So much of higher education around the globe has been driven by people who were followers of Christianity.

One of the things I really like on p 93, Jesus seems to regard himself as a man for all sides.  The rest of his followers take an “us vs. them” attitude most of the time.  Continue Reading »

Because of the shorter-than-usual turn around between our April and May book discussions, we are already looking forward to gathering by phone this Sunday!

Sunday, May 18 at 7:00 p.m. (CDT) Call in number: 1-424-203-8405 Pass code: 484 188#

Book Discussion of Who Is This Man? The Unpredictable Impact of the Inescapable Jesus by John Ortberg

From Amazon’s review of this book:
Jesus’ impact on our world is highly unlikely, widely inescapable, largely unknown, and decidedly double-edged. It is unlikely in light of the severe limitations of his earthly life; it is inescapable because of the range of impact; it is unknown because history doesn’t connect dots; and it is doubled-edged because his followers have wreaked so much havoc, often in his name. His impact on the world is immense and non-accidental. His life and teaching simply drew people to follow him. He made history by starting in a humble place, in a spirit of love and acceptance, and allowing each person space to respond. His vision of life continues to haunt and challenge humanity.

To read more, and to locate this book, follow this link to Amazon:

Because our discussion is this week, we will not send out an additional reminder as usual. The conference call in number remains the same as last month: 1-424-203-8405 Pass code: 484 188#.

Barb, Carol, Sandi & Rindy