Week #1: Introduction, Chapter 1

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“After decades of living on the edge, Heather King settled into sobriety, marriage, and a financially lucrative but unfulfilling career as an upwardly mobile lawyer.” Amazon calls her book, Redeemed, “An unforgettable, fervent, darkly funny tale of an ongoing, stumbling conversion.” Join us as we read, discuss, and share our thoughts about it in our Fall, 2016 Wisdom Seekers Book Club!

By Sister Mary Core, OSB

Welcome to Week #1 of our online Fall 2016 Wisdom Seekers Book Club! We enjoyed a wonderful in-person gathering on Wednesday (and you are welcome to join us there any time). Here’s the gist of our discussion:

We began with a review on how to get the best out of our reading, noting the importance of writing down our questions and thoughts. If you’re like me, not writing them down means not remembering points I might want to make!

More important is to recognize that your emotional responses – positive or negative – are important. They usually mean something is speaking to you in a special way that you may want to discuss in depth. Your emotions often reveal to you some issues you feel very strongly about!

While some emotional themes may not be appropriate for the club, they may lead you to deeper prayer, or even to seek out someone with whom you can “wrestle” through the issue.

We will discuss the book over a period of 5-6 weeks, focusing on a few chapters each week:
On Wed. Sept 21, we will tackle the  Introduction and Chapter 1.

Questions to Consider for Wed. Sept. 21

The Introduction
1.    In her Introduction King states: ”In fact, I have a theory that all addiction is, at bottom, a search for God.”  What do you make of her statement and her explanation?
2.    What are your reflections on the author’s words: “The problem with avoiding God is that next thing I know, I‘ve latched onto something outside myself, established a substitute God; and he, she, or it is holding me in complete bondage.”
3.    King writes: “That’s the only point of the spiritual path: to get in good enough shape so I can help someone else.” What does this statement say to you?
4.    What thoughts did you have about King’s distinction between pleasure and joy?
5.    From her Introduction, how would you say Heather King experiences Christ?  How is her view similar, different from, or helpful to your own image of Jesus?

Chapter 1
1.    What do the opening sentence of Chapter 1, and King’s sense of lawyers as the people in charge, the arbiters of Truth, Justice, Right, and her grudging respect for the Law as a means to get a handle on those ideals I was starting to wonder about: Truth, Justice, Right, say to you about the author?
2.    Underlying every other loathsome aspect of my job was the fact that I hated Eric with a black and festering hatred. How did you react to this statement?
3.    What are your thoughts about this statement: For years I had felt everything about the world was wrong. Now, I felt everything about me was wrong.
4.     King experiences extreme disillusionment with the Law and a feeling of going from one bondage (alcoholism) to another (work as a lawyer).  What are your thought on her statement: I wasn’t looking for nirvana (for once); I was looking for something that resonated with my experience.
5.    What are your reflections on King’s words: in spite of all the confusion and pain, somewhere in the middle if it was a tiny tiny spark of light?
6.    What are your thoughts as King tries to distinguish between a religious and a merely spiritual experience?
7.    What do you think King experienced as the Irish priest looked her full in the face and said: You’re very dear to God?   How might you have responded to such an experience?

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