Archbishop By Michele Guinness: Book Club Discussion On Personal Discipleship & Service

Posted at 12:53pm on 13th November 2017

Personal Discipleship & Service

(Quotes from the book - with permission from Michele Guinness, below -  are in italics)

There were a number of salient points in Michele Guinness’s book when it came to personal discipleship in these troubled times, and we all agreed with Archbishop Vicky that it is only ‘In prayer, in the daily, ongoing friendship I have with my Father in heaven, with the Son, who stands by me in all of life’s vicissitudes,’ that we may find the strength we need.

ACKNOWLEDGING OUR FRAILTY

When it came to helping others, I found Vicky's statement: A teacher can’t lead somewhere she isn’t going herself to be particularly helpful because, like her, I loathe learning by rote.  Give me an example, or a behaviour I can learn by osmosis, and I’m much more likely to follow.  The quotation from Henri Nouwen: We must never disown our vulnerability. Lose sight of our own weakness, let power go to our heads and we’re past helping anyone on their journey, was something that resonated with us allLikewise, the question: Why bother reading his books if all we do is assent with our minds, but don’t let them change the way we live?

The quotation from Saint Teresa of Avila: It is the answered, not the unanswered prayers, people should worry about, brought an interesting mixed response.  One member pointed to the benefit of focusing on the positive aspects of answered prayer as a means of disassociating oneself from the pain of requests which are, as yet, unresolved.  That’s a valid a point.  But equally, it may be that the answers we receive are not always those that we expect. Or want!

SEX & LOVE

The issues surrounding the LGBT debate raised relevant questions for us all.  When Garth, one of Vicky’s friends at college, tells her that he resents the 1987 Church of England in respect of marriage because ‘It makes me feel a second-class citizen for being what I am,’ she responds with a truism that’s pertinent to all believers.  ‘It’s not about being, Garth, but doing.’  This reminded us of the previous book we read: Glynn Harrison’s A Better Story: God, Sex & Marriage where, like Vicky, being single - whether homosexual or heterosexual - means ‘sex is out.’  Living without sex, however, does not mean living without love.

The theme continued with the statement from another colleague saying: ‘If there’s no ultimate authority in sexual matters, we drift into hedonistic narcissism.’  With which Vicky asks what if it’s a gene, and Simon responds that there is no evidence to support that supposition.  ‘The lack of procreation would mean homosexuality would die out.  More likely it’s something to do with nurture, not nature,’  he concludes.  This reminded me, again, of A Better Story which states that: The church is not against gay marriage.  We are for the historic interpretation of an institution … evolved to ensure the creation, protection and preservation of the next generation.  Gay marriage brings no legal rights that civil partnership hasn’t already bestowed.  ‘Stay focused, not on your gifts but on the Giver,’ says Simon.  ‘Channel them continually into service.’

SUFFERING, SUCCESS & RIGHTEOUSNESS

Which brought us neatly into the story of Mikey, a black schoolboy whose brother was murdered.  ‘Suffering,’ Vicky tells him, ‘was never God’s intention.  And, ‘Yes, I believe in heaven, Mikey,’ she said. ‘One day this world will be transformed, filled with God’s presence, and there will be only love. All hatred and pain will be forgotten forever.’

She wished that society could come to grasp and appreciate a better measure of success – one where small gifts and sacrifices, acts of courage, thoughtfulness and consideration, were of the highest value.  Success is no name of God. Righteousness is.

When you’re gone, no one will remember what you said or what you did, only who you were.

What better way is there to live than striving to treat others with the courtesy, respect and dignity you want for yourself? Even imagining the worst possible scenario, that the atheists are right and our hope is a grand deception, how can anyone regret having lived such a life?

Everything ends with God being ‘all in all’.

And that, we concluded at Book Club, was a hope worth waiting for.

If you have comments to make, I'd love to hear from you.
NEXT TIME: Media Hysteria

Click for the first discussion on Archbishop: A Novel by Michele Guinness
and here for the subsequent discussion on What Constitutes Church?

Your Comments:

Post a comment:

No HTML allowed. Web URLs will be auto-linked. Please stand by your comments; anonymous posting is permitted but not encouraged. Your email address will not be published, nor will it be distributed. Comments are moderated, and will not appear on this weblog until the editor has approved them. They may also be removed without notice or explanation.

My Latest Book

Chosen?

Available in paperback from my books page, Amazon and Waterstones
Buy Your Copy

Find the Real You...

Start Now
Take a FREE
Personality Test

BBC Radio Devon Interview

Listen to me chatting to Dave Fitzgerald about my latest release, Chosen, on BBC local radio.

Recently On Twitter

tweeted by Cymraes44
on 21st September at 00:41
Lesley Regan: RCOG Must Not Permit Abortion at 7 months or Up to Birth - Sign: https://t.co/YyVqS49ORM
tweeted by MelMenzies
on 21st September at 00:18
tweeted by BoostTorbay
on 7th September at 23:40
Follow Me on Twitter

Who's online?