Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Friday, August 15, 2008
Here is the schedule for the next four months. I left December off to give us a break at that busy time of year.
Wednesday, August 20th: Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert (Susan, please come, although you haven't read the book.)
Wednesday, August 27th: no discussion because of Democratic Convention
Wednesday, September 17th: If Grace Is True:Why God Will Save Every Person by Philip Gulley and James Mulholland
Wednesday, September 24th: discussion focus -- God's grace? and others that come up
Wednesday, October 15th: American Gospel by Jon Meacham
Wednesday, October 29th: discussion focus -- concept of separation of church/state and others that come up
Wednesday, November 19th: The Shack by William P. Young
Wednesday, December 3rd: discussion focus -- out of body experiences/reincarnation and others that come up NOTE: I moved to first Wednesday in December because of Thanksgiving. Hopefully, it is early enough in the month to lessen interference with activities.
Please note that this will be the last email to those of you who have not let me know you want to stay on the list. I need to whittle down the list to be workable for me.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Here are some discussion questions to consider for our August book. Feel free to bring some of your own next Wednesday, August 20, at 6:30 p.m. on the balcony at Greenlife Grocery.
Italy, the pursuit of pleasure:
1. Gilbert writes that "the appreciation of pleasure can be the anchor of humanity," making the argument that America is "an entertainment-seeking nation, not necessarily a pleasure-seeking one." Is this a fair assessment?
2. Sitting in an outdoor cafe' om Rome, Gilbert's friend declares that every city -- and every person -- has a word. Rome's is "sex," the Vatican's "power"; Gilbert declares New York's to be "achieve," but only later stumbles upon her own word, antevasin, Sanskrit for "one who live at the border." What is your word? Is it possible to choose a word that retains the truth for a lifetime?
3. Abstinence in Italy seems extreme, but necessary, for a woman who has repeatedly moved from one man's arms to another's. After all, it's only after Gilbert ha found herself that she can share herself fully in love. What does this say about her earlier relationships?
India, the pursuit of devotion:
4. Gilbert mentions her ease at making friends, regardless of where she is. At one point at the ashram, she realizes that she is too sociable and decides to embark on a period of silence, to become the Quiet Girl in the Back of the Temple. It is just after making this decision that she is assigned the role of ashram key hostess. What does this say about honing one's nature rather than trying to escape it? Do you think perceived faults can be transformed into strengths rather than merely repressed?
5. After imagining a petition to God for divorce, an exhausted Gilbert answers her phone to news that her husband has finally signed. During a moment of quietude before a Roman fountain, she opens her Louise Guick collection to a verse about a fountain, one reminiscent of the Balinese medicine man's drawing. After struggling to master a 182-verse daily prayer, she succeeds by focusing on her nephew, who suddenly is free from nightmares. Do these incidents of fortuitous timing signal fate? Cosmic unity? Coincidence? Something else?
Indonesia, the pursuit of balance:
6. When Gilbert finally returns to Bali and seeks out the medicine man who foretold her return to study with him, he doesn't recognize her. Despite her despair, she persists in her attempts to spark his memory, eventually succeeding. How much of the success of Gilbert's journey do you attribute to persistence?
7. Prayer and meditation are both things that can be learned and, importantly, improved. In India, Gilbert learns a stoic, ascetic meditation technique. In Bali, she learns an approach based on smiling. Do you think the two can be synergistic? Or is Ketut Liyer right when he describes them as "same-same"?
8. Gender roles came up repeatedly in Eat, Pray, Love, be it macho Italian men eating cream puffs after a home team's soccer loss, or a young Indian's disdain for the marriage she will be expected to embark upon at age eighteen, or the Balinese healer's sly approach to male impotence in a society where women are assumed responsible for their childlessness. How relevant is Gilbert's gender?
9. Gilbert hashes out internal debates in a notebook, a place where she can argue with her inner demons and remind herself about the constancy of self-love. When an inner monologue becomes a literal conversation between a divided self; is this a sign of last resort or of self-reliance?
10. In what ways is spiritual success similar to other forms of success? How is it different? Can they be so fundamentally different that they are not comparable?
11. Do you think people are more open to new experiences when they travel? Why or why not?
Just for Fun:
12. With which of the people Gilbert encountered on her journey would you want to spend time? Where and for how long would you commune with this person? Explain.
I'll post book schedule in the morning!
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Again I apologize for the lull between posts. Work is very busy because inventory is next Wednesday. We finally have the garden center ready. How many of you are reading or have read Eat, Pray, Love? I have just now finished my visit to India and am about to begin my journey to Indonesia. As you read please not which of the "beads" speak most to you. How many of you will be ready next Wednesday to discuss the book? I will post questions tomorrow if enough of us are ready for questions to be posted. Please advise!
I also will post a list of books tomorrow to read through December, so please get any more recommendations to me this evening or tomorrow morning.
Got to travel to Indonesia now. I look forward to hearing from each of you ASAP.
Thursday, July 31, 2008
As you know we had two meetings this month to reorganize. On July 16th, three of us (the old reliables) met and decided to read Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, and Love for our meeting on August 2oth at the Greenlife Grocery balcony. We will meet at 6:30 p.m. to discuss the book. We decided to meet the third Wednesday of each month for a book discussion. I have several recommendations from that meeting for future books but would like more before I put out a list for the next six months.
Last night, two oldies and one newbie met and had a good talk. Two book recommendations came from this meeting, one about our founding fathers and how the concept of separation of church and state came about. I am very interesting, as you know, about this subject, so expect that book to be on the list for September or October. : )
I am designating the 2nd Wednesday of the month for discussion of spiritual/religious issues and the 3rd Wednesday for book discussions. If you send me ideas to discuss as well as books to discuss, I will put out a schedule for both within the next three or four days.
I want to update my mailing list, so please send me email if you want to continue to receive my email or if you want to be removed from my list.
I am anxious to hear from each of you.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
I apologize for too many days of no posts. As you can see from the picture here, I have been adopted by a sweet little dickens of a kitten. I have been trying to find a good home for her, since the elderly, both feline and human, in the household cannot keep up with her curiosity. I took her to the McKamey Center but could not get an appointment until August 5th. I hope poor Kiki and Sammy "survive" until then.
Anyway, I look forward to meeting with all who can make it this evening. REMINDER: Greenlife Grocery on Manufacturers RD at 6:00 pm. to discuss books and faith and spirituality and whatever comes up. We will be on the balcony.