St John the Baptist Parish Church

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Book Club

Report of Book Club held on 8th June 2016

We met on the 8th June to discuss “Being Mortal” by Atul GAWANDE.

Hilary led the discussion by asking some very good questions. The first one was: “does this book merit a place in our discussion group?” Which really set us all thinking from the off!  It is a book written by Atul Gawande who is an American surgeon and comes from a Hindu family. The book is about illness, medicine, and what matters in the end. In the resulting discussion it was said: “It (the book) is about humanity and living life to the full, and that is what Jesus said; (this book) has so many things to say to those who have faith and those who don’t” Someone else said: “It is refreshing to read something by someone so wise, and relevant to faith.”

We went on to discuss some of our early experiences of having grandparents living in the same home as us and the difficulties that posed. Then we went on to consider the issues of elderly parents and how as people get older their vison narrows and the problems that can cause.

Hilary then asked another question about how can provisions for the elderly be improved? In answer to this we talked about the need to talk to people to find out what they need or want. The book has a series of scenarios about elderly people going into various care and nursing homes as well those who are getting near to death. For example, the book has a story about a person called Peg who had Leukaemia and had been admitted to hospital. The doctors did not hold out much hope and Peg felt hopeless but she was put in contact with the hospice movement whose aim was to give people their best possible day. Peg said it had been a while since she had had a good day and she would like to resume her teaching (the piano).The hospice movement made it possible for her to go home from hospital and to teach again.

Our discussion touched on us getting older and dying and that for Christians we should have the least fear of dying and more to hope for after death, but that does not make it is not any easier for Christians.

It was mentioned in our discussion that the author was saying “it is important not to have a good death, but a good life - all the way to the very end”

I think we all found it a very important book to read; it is about ageing that will or does currently affect us all. One person commented that it was a fantastic book; everyone got a lot out of reading this book. There is a copy in the library and I do urge people to read it.

Thebook we have chosen to read next is “The Lost Message of Jesus” by Steve Chalke

A fresh―and perhaps controversial―look at Jesus by one of Britain’s most respected Christian authors. Who is the real Jesus? Do we remake him in our own image and then wonder why our spirituality is less than life-changing and exciting? Steve Chalke―a high-profile visionary in the United Kingdom and an evangelical recognized not only by Christians but by the general public as well―believes that the real Jesus is deeply challenging. And each new generation must grapple with the question of who he is, because only through a constant study of Jesus are we able to discover God himself. The Lost Message of Jesus is written to stir thoughtful debate and pose fresh questions that will help create a deeper understanding of Jesus and his message. It is an encounter with the real Jesus of his world―not the Jesus we try to mould to ours. (Taken from Amazon web site)

On the cover of the book there is the following comment by Tom Wright: “Rooted in good scholarship, it’s clear, punchy style makes it accessible to anyone”

We shall be meeting on the 19th October to discuss this book.

Anne Pelham