Paradox Lost Study Groups
Learn from These Groups Who Studied my Book …
Then Start Your Own Group!
Thursday Women's Group, Visalia,CA
The ideas were intellectually stimulating, exciting, and revealing of truths. Some were overwhelmed with the ideas, but through our listening to each other and discussions, we came to an understanding. Through our sharing we could bring the ideas back to the simple thought, the mystery. We all come from different backgrounds with different points of view. We aim to be accepting of other’s thoughts.
What insights were the most benefit to your group? Knowing it was OK to think about these deeper topics; it is OK to question. A new (maybe not too new) meaning or deepening of faith that we can keep with us forever is that “we do not know it all!”
What encouragement do you have for groups just beginning? Persevere in the study. It is a hard road to travel but the ideas generated are worth it!
Wed. Men's Group, Northbrook, IL
We basically did one chapter per session, so we took 20 sessions to complete the book. Individual insights and personal stories/applications during the discussions, plus scriptural references, helped to bring out and clarify the meaning of the issue at hand. If possible, read the entire book through to gain an overall big picture and broader perspective before beginning the study.
What insights were the most benefit to your group? Encouraged to embrace the mystery of God, be open to new ideas about our faith. Realized that God is too great in every way to know him completely.
What encouragement do you have for groups just beginning? Realize that there will be much we will not understand, but with help and encouragement from each other throughout the journey, and scriptural connections, we will deepen our faith and it will lead to applications in our daily lives.
Church of the Nativity Episcopal Church, Raleigh NC
Thank you! The book has been very inspiring for so many of us, and has opened new doors to faith. We have had some amazing, and sometimes intimate discussions in class. Many of us have discussed it with friends and family. I know it will work its way into our lives, and others who read it, in more ways that we can possibly know or understand.
From the outset, in addition to the subject matter, a major draw of the book was the small, digestible chapters, with thoughtful questions. This was important to our group because our class was to be led week to week by a group of volunteer facilitators, not a single teacher throughout the study. The small chapters made it easy to divide up the work of facilitating week to week.
What insights were the most benefit to your group? Your analogies and mental images. The Tuning Fork, The Shell, the Coastal Waters, the dance between faith and reason were all mentioned as being especially powerful and meaningful.
Many in our group found great comfort in being invited to face paradox head on, rather than have it overlooked or reconciled for them. All agreed that they have seldom heard paradox championed in preaching. It is typically something ignored, or explained away. It was refreshing for folks to be able to truly use their mind in their faith, as opposed to switching it off or feeling as though it wasn’t a necessary part of faith.
What encouragement do you have for groups just beginning? The chapter setup was ideal for our Sunday morning adult study. We only have about 45-50 minutes available between church services. The small chapters were absolutely ideal for our time constraints.
Here is our format that virtually everyone in the class felt was a great approach: (1) 5 minutes of open reflection and recap on the chapter, (2) 15 or so minutes in pairs discussing the questions, (3) another 15 minutes or so synthesizing the responses with the larger group, and (4) closing with a common prayer. Part of what made this study successful was the personal discussions in pairs that simply do not occur when people have to talk in a group, especially on profound topics.
The Gathering, Chicago, IL
As we meet only once a month, we read 2-3 chapters at a time and discussed them during the1 ½ hours allotted. It worked fairly well for us, but the consensus was that each chapter has so much material to contemplate, it would be optimum for groups meeting weekly to read and discuss one chapter at a time.
What insights were the most benefit to your group? For those who were challenged initially by a more cerebral examination of our Christian faith than they’re used to, but who determined to stretch themselves, the blessing was a new understanding of the mystery and majesty of God, and a continual growth in their faith through the 12 months of our study.
What encouragement do you have for groups just beginning? We found a most important activity was underlining the book text, taking notes while reading, and journaling immediately after reading a chapter. Our group thought it was helpful to ask how we were going to apply a truth from the chapter to our daily lives, and to our lifestyle choices.