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Hi Book Clubbers,

I’ve read the first 87 pages at this point, and I’m hooked!  At some point, soon I trust, Bashir is going to knock on the door of the house in which he lived till he was six, and, Dahlia, a young Jewish woman will answer  the door.  They will begin a rare friendship.  Meanwhile, Sandy Tolen is carefully explaining why Bashir’s family left, and how Dahlia came to live in, his house in al-Ramla.

From the back cover:  “A handbook to understanding the Israeli Palestinian conflict through a narrative that captures its essence through tracing the connected lives of two extraordinary individuals.  Literally the single work I’ld recommend to anyone seeking to understand why the conflict remains unresolved, and why it continues to dominate the region.” — Tony Karon editor, Time

“No novel could be more compelling… And it will certainly be one of the best works of nonfiction that you will read this year.”  The Christian Science Monitor.  (2006)

For August we’re reading the first eight chapters.  The Book Club has already received an email of a Publicity Release for this book – just to whet our appetites.

We’re happy to have those who have read the first eight chapters, or part of them, join us on the call.  The call-in number will be sent to book clubbers a few days before the discussion.

Happy reading!

Sandi, Rindy, Carol, Barb

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Hello Book Clubbers and other friends,

We really value hearing from people who have read a book with a spiritual theme and can recommend it to the Fellowship Book Club.

And we’ve just had a recommendation from a Prin Summer Session participant to consider Keith Collins’ The Christian Science Monitor: Its History, Mission, and People.   She says of the book, “It’s remarkable.  Numerous other CS book clubs have read and discussed it already…enthusiastically!”  She also has talked to Keith, and he could be available to be on the conference call with us.  That would be special.

Be forewarned, this book runs $33.  The happy news is – it is also available on Kindle for $9.95.  Also, there are quantity discounts including shipping – if anyone has any idea how that can work for us scattered across the country as we are.  Here’s the link for ordering (not available from Amazon).

Here’s how you can help — it’s pretty easy!  Just respond to the simple poll below.  Let us know if you’d like to read and participate in a discussion of Collins’ book.

Thank you!

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Heads up, Book Clubbers.  Please mark your calendars!
Third Sunday in May:  May 19, 7 – 8:30 pm CDT

NOTE #1:  This is a new book, published 2012.  We’ve heard reports of people having to wait for their copies.  So it’s probably a good idea to order sooner rather than later.

NOTE #2:  Call-In number will be sent to Book Club list two or three days before the discussion.  If you’re not on the list and would like to be, let us know.

Sacred Ground – Pluralism, Prejudice, and the Promise of America, by Eboo Patel

From the dust jacket:  “Sacred Ground is simultaneously a chronicle of religious tensions in a post-9/11 America and an account of how to create, through trial and error and critical self-reflection, the most successful

Book is a link to Amazon

Book is a link to Amazon

interfaith movement in the country.  Patel probes like a professor, inspires like a preacher, and writes like a poet.  I really loved this book;  it is a tale that is truly hard to put down.”
~ Robert D. Putnam, author of American Grace.

“Eboo Patel has been a transformative force in our young and tumultuous century.  And he has an utterly original experience of what robust religious identity can mean in modern lives.  With this book, he opens the idea of ‘Inter’faith’ into a vision of America that is partially informative, refreshingly challenging, and full of hope.”
~ Krista Tippett, host of public radio’s On Being

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Hello avid Readers,

Here’s a book about the Bible.  About Christianity.  About certainty.   About friendship.  McLaren asks and attempts to answer, through a fabled conversation between two friends, tough questions.  These are addressed to the broader Christian community, as well as to individual Christians.

>   He illustrates how the definition of what it means to be a Christian changes over time.  For example, in medieval times, being a Christian meant specific dress, specific hairstyles, believing in the Pope, accepting that kings rule by divine decree, and rejecting Copernicus’s view that the earth rotates around the sun.  Otherwise you could certainly not be a Christian.

>   Others are probably on top of this, but I hadn’t really thought about the fact that Bible texts have been used to:

  • perpetuate slavery
  • exterminate Native Americans
  • subjugate women
  • marginalize minorities
  • exploit the environment

>   McLaren asks: Is the Bible an answer book, like a math book with all the answers in the back?  Or is it…?    But lets not give away all the gems!

When we get together in a couple of weeks, we’ll probably discuss such topics from the book as:  Just what is the Bible?  What is Truth?  heaven and hell, religion and redemption, righteousness and Jesus’ boldness.

Hope you can join this discussion!

Date: Sunday, April 21, 2013


Time:  7 – 8:30 pm Central Time


Questions: sandi.justad@comcast.net or 708-422-7877

NOTE:  The April Call-in number – will be emailed to Book Clubbers a few days before the conference call.  So if you’re not yet on the Book Club list, and would like to be, let us know!

Panera location:  Come at 6 pm for soup (or salad or sandwich) and good conversation.
1211 Half Day Rd. Bannockburn IL 60015  847-236-1599
Panera is located on the SE corner of Half Day Rd. (Rt. 22) and Waukegan Rd. (Rt 43)
in the Dominick’s shopping center in Bannockburn
This is just north of (and shares a zip code with) Deerfield.

Directions:  Take 94/41 N, stay on 41 N 
when they split; and go West on Half Day Rd.  approx 1/2 mile
 or take 294 (turns into 94) N and go East on Half Day Rd approx 1/2 mile. 
Map link.
Panera group contact:  Barb at 847-615-7076

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Hello Book Clubbers,

Gottschalk has chosen compelling titles for the last six chapters of Rolling away the Stone, Mary Baker Eddy’s Challenge to Materialism, such as: “The Preparation of the heart,”  “The Outflowing Life of Christianity,” “Elijah’s Mantle.”

Below are a few topics from chapters seven, eight, and nine:

  • How reading rooms began and the purpose of lectures
  • How Eddy intended the Manual by-laws to be administered
  • Eddy’s tireless efforts to save Josephine Woodbury from her own undoing
  • What she was facing when she wrote some of her hymns
  • Who knew the state fairgrounds, where she admired the high diver’s courage, bordered Pleasantview?  Or that Concord citizens were invited to view the tulip display? And to glean the apple harvest?

Gottschalk offers an unusual window into the daily give and take in Eddy’s household – the struggles, the discipline required, community formed, animosities, disappointments, and achievements.

Tip.  Guess what?  If you start today at page 223 – you can finish the book, including the coda, by reading 14 pages per day.  We look forward to hearing everyone’s comments, observations, and inspiration at the February 17th discussion!   We realize January’s group was unusually large, and not everyone got to speak.  We hope to provide an opportunity this time for everyone to share their ideas from reading Rolling away the Stone.

So join us on…

Date:  Sunday, January 20, 2013
Time:  7 pm CT
Questions: sandi.justad@comcast.net or 708-422-7877

NOTE: February Call-in number – will be emailed to Book Clubbers a few days before the conference call.  So if you’re not yet on the Book Club list, and would like to be, let us know!

Panera location:  Come at 6 pm for soup (or salad or sandwich) and good conversation.
1211 Half Day Rd. Bannockburn IL 60015  847-236-1599
Panera is located on the SE corner of Half Day Rd. (Rt. 22) and Waukegan Rd. (Rt 43)
in the Dominick’s shopping center in Bannockburn
This is just north of (and shares a zip code with) Deerfield.

Directions:  Take 94/41 N, stay on 41 N 
when they split; and go West on Half Day Rd.  approx 1/2 mile
 or take 294 (turns into 94) N and go East on Half Day Rd approx 1/2 mile. 
Map link.
Panera group contact:  Barb at 847-615-7076

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The title says it all.

Brad Hirschfield as a teen was a fanatic for Israel, and in Israel.  Although he grew up in a wise, forgiving, and compassionate Chicago Jewish community, he somehow became a militant, ultra-religious Zionist.  That is, until he witnessed Zionist fanaticism killing innocent Palestinian children.

The shock of that event changed Brad Hirschfield forever.  He realized he did not have all the answers.

Disillusioned, he returned to America, studied religion at the University of Chicago and eventually, at the urging of his students, became a Rabbi.  But a different kind of Rabbi — one who was learning to value the wisdom of all traditions, while still cherishing his own.

He likes to think of heaven, not as a static future place, but as a moving, dynamic place where we’ll face new challenges and opportunities.  What do you think?  Is there value in this concept of heaven?

The author jolted me with this question, “Do we really want a world of people who look, think, and act just like we do?  That’s not spiritual depth or religious growth, but simply narcissism with lots of footnotes.”

Book image links to Amazon

If you value honesty, humility, openness, and respect in a gentle and well-written autobiography, this may be a book you’ll want to read.

Hope you’ll join us October 21 to discuss your ideas about Rabbi Hirschfield.

Mark you calendars for the third Sunday in October, 9/21, at 7 pm.  Details here.

Look forward to talking with you then!

And, although we link to Amazon for your convenience, there is certainly no requirement to use Amazon!  Amazon usually provides helpful information, often an opportunity to read several pages to see if you like it.  Meanwhile, some of our readers get their books through their library systems; some read on Kindle or Nook; some faithfully support local bookstores; some use audio versions.

And, here’s the book list through June 2013!

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It’s been said that you cannot argue with someone’s own experience.

Here is a woman who, from childhood, dedicated her life to serving God – through ministering to mankind.  At the notorious Nazi women’s death camp, Ravensbruck, she dispensed vitamins from a bottle that never ran out.  She later walked out of that camp due to a clerical error, the week she was to have been executed.

She is a woman who, like Phillip when told to go to the Gazan desert, didn’t question God’s direction.  She kept a running conversation with Him, frequently humbly asking “Now what?”  She often arrived in a country without knowing where she was to stay that night.  And God always provided more than she could have asked.  She learned that delays and inconveniences were always for a greater blessing.

Corrie Ten Boom wrestled with the same temptations and discouragements we all do.  Though she lectured on forgiveness, she struggled to rise to the occasion when a former Ravensbruck guard turned up at one of her speaking engagements.

Her story is well written; hard to close the book between chapters.  If you’re willing to be inspired by a Dutch woman whose trust in God’s leading defies all logic, you’ll probably find Ten Boom’s story to your liking.

Book image links to Amazon

Mark you calendars for the third Sunday in September, 9/16, at 7 pm.  Details here.

Look forward to talking with you then!

BTW, here’s the book list through June 2013!

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