Joan Gunderman will be leading two small groups at Whispering Winds this summer. I asked her to tell us about these groups in today’s blog post.
3rd Mondays, May-October, 7:00-8:30 p.m.
The Whispering Winds front porch is a comfortable gathering space, the perfect spot to watch the sun setting over corn fields.
Are you someone who enjoys discussing a good book with others who have read it, too? You’ll have a series of opportunities to do so, reading and discussing books with a spiritual bent, monthly from May through October at Whispering Winds. Both fiction and non-fiction will be in the mix. You can sign up for all of them, or for one at a time. $10 per evening covers our modest expenses and yummy dessert (Whispering Winds style!). I will choose the first three reads, and the readers will join me in selecting the remaining three, from your suggestions. Here are the first three:
May 21 – Imaginary Jesus, by Matt Mikalatos
Imaginary Jesus is an hilarious, fast-paced, not-quite-fictional story that’s unlike anything you’ve ever read before. When Matt Mikalatos realizes that his longtime buddy in the robe and sandals isn’t the real Jesus at all, but an imaginary one, he embarks on a mission to find the real thing. On his wild ride through time, space, and Portland, Oregon, he encounters hundreds of other Imaginary Jesuses determined to stand in his way (like Legalistic Jesus, Perpetually Angry Jesus, and Magic 8 Ball Jesus). But Matt won’t stop until he finds the real Jesus—and finally gets an answer to the question that’s haunted him for years.
June 18 – Wouldn’t Take Nothing For My Journey Now, by Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou, one of the best-loved authors of our time, shares the wisdom of a remarkable life in this best-selling spiritual classic. This is Maya Angelou talking from the heart, down to earth and real, but also inspiring. This is a book to treasured, a book about being in all ways a woman, about living well, about the power of the word, and about the power of spirituality to move and shape your life. Passionate, lively, and lyrical, Maya Angelou’s unforgettable work offers a gem of truth on every page.
July 16 – Plain and Simple: A Woman’s Journey to the Amish, by Sue Bender
“I had an obsession with the Amish. Plain and simple. Objectively it made no sense. I, who worked hard at being special, fell in love with a people who valued being ordinary.”
So begins Sue Bender’s story, the captivating and inspiring true story of a harried urban Californian moved by the beauty of a display of quilts to seek out and live with the Amish. Discovering lives shaped by unfamiliar yet comforting ideas about time, work, and community, Bender is gently coaxed to consider, “Is there another way to lead a good life?”
On nice summer evenings the small group may meet on the front porch.
Heeding a persistent inner voice, Bender searches for Amish families willing to allow her to visit and share in their daily lives. Plain and Simple vividly recounts sojourns with two Amish families, visits during which Bender enters a world without television, telephone, electric light, refrigerators, or computers; a world where clutter and hurry are replaced with inner quiet and calm ritual; a world where a sunny kitchen “glows” and “no distinction was made between the sacred and the everyday.”
Join me in a lovely and thought-provoking read.
Spiritual Formation Group
3rd Tuesday, May-October, 7:00-8:30 p.m.
O God, you are my God, I seek you, my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. (Psalm 63:1)
I stretch out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. (Psalm 143:6)
Thou hast formed us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in Thee. Lord, teach me to know and understand (St. Augustine, 354-430 AD)
Deepening our connection with God, deepening our connection with our own soul, getting to know who we really are as a child of God, and following our God-led path, brings the greatest joy in life. [paraphrased from Ruth Fishel, author of Time for Joy.] It has been a point of longing from as early as the Psalms (and earlier), through the time of Jesus himself, the early church, and still today. Worship and church work take us part of the way, but more and more people are realizing they are hungry to meet and know the gracious and loving God/Christ/Spirit dwelling within them.
Spiritual formation is a sacred journey, not a destination, and has everything to do with the richness of life — your own life, and the life of the world God loves. It is not navel-gazing for our own sake. It is the rich soil from which trust, humility, peace, contentment, healthy relationships, and loving as Jesus loves grow. It is a truly amazing journey!
Or, if the mosquitoes try to join us, the Gazebo is another great meeting space.
We will meet six times, reading and discussing together the book Soul Feast: An Invitation to the Christian Spiritual Life, by Marjorie J. Thompson. It’s a classic and continuing favorite.
The registration for the spiritual formation series is $50. Even if you know you’ll have to miss one (or two at the most) feel free to register anyway. We give and receive the most when we commit ourselves to one another and to gathering together each month.
Note for both “Great Reads” and Spiritual Formation participants: I have checked Amazon.com out for all of the books listed here. They are all available and, if you’re willing to consider “Used – Like New” or “Used – Very Good” you can get some very good deals. (This is what I do most of the time!)
To register for the “Great Reads” small group or the Spiritual Formation Group, call 608.212.6197 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.