Monday, November 03, 2014

church book group

At my church we are doing this new thing where a team of people are in charge of the whole life of the church for a season (about 6-7 weeks): they study scripture, discern a theme, and plan events around those texts and theme.
Currently we are in the middle of the Harvest 2 season, with the theme "Unexpected." For adult education, we are having a Monday night book group that is reading and discussing a novel--seeking spiritual/faith lessons in a secular book. We chose The Goldfinch as the book, in part because it has so many unexpected things in the story, and in part because it's a popular book right now. The group meets at Panera, where we can eat and talk and generally have a good time.

And can I just say: it's basically the best thing ever. I loved the book, for one thing, so am happy to get to read it again. I love talking about the book with people, and digging into the relationships, the spaces, the interior lives of characters. Plus we get to talk about whether we've ever experienced freedom that turned out to be slavery, or if we have objects in our lives that connect us to people or experiences of our past, or if there are particular rituals that help us get more grounded when we feel unmoored. It's amazing to make these connections between a great book (which seems, on the surface, pretty dark and depressing) and our spiritual lives. So cool to practice reading through a theological lens, looking for where there's a glimpse of the Spirit or where it feels like a character is connected to a larger God-story (even though that's not explicit in the book). Super love it.

And the moral of this story is: everyone should read The Goldfinch because it's amazing, and be on the lookout for what spiritual lessons it has to teach you, because there are plenty! And then I want to talk about it with you, because the book is so amazing I can barely keep my mouth shut about it. :-)


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