Can You Hear Me? By Brad Jersak - Uv Book Group Questions & Summary

Posted at 01:51am on 18th October 2009

The Book Club met on Thursday 15th October, as usual, in the Library at The Grand. As I was nursing a hacking cough and swollen glands I had to cry off, so the group was admirably led by Pippa, who had reviewed the book, Can You Hear Me? and also compiled the following questions, below which is her summary of the discussion.

Book Group Questions:

  1. “This book is written for disillusioned churchgoers and “prodigals” who are searching for more reality than western church culture generally offers.” (p11) Do you agree that the church can be out of touch with reality? In what ways?
  2. For me, prayer amounted to leaving phone messages on God’s answering machine. Faith was akin to hoping that God would eventually check his messages”. (p18) What is wrong with this?
  3. “God’s radio station is always on. He’s broadcasting loud and clear, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The trouble is, we are not dialling it in. Our radios aren’t working.”(p20) Brad says that listening prayer is about tuning in to God, like tuning in to a radio station. How is this a helpful metaphor?
  4. “Most believers can relate a “God-incidence” such as a well-timed knock on the door, phone-call or song on the radio.” (p43) Can you give a recent example in your life?
  5. “Historically, Christians have distinguished the voice of God from three other voice types – the world, the flesh and the devil…I would add a 4th category called “the voices of mental illness”. (p68-9). How do you respond to this?
  6. Do you have a special place for meeting with God? (p129-130).
  7. Burden bearers “can learn to unload on the Lord, rather than internalising the pain of others.” (p151)– what’s your experience?
  8. What stops us encountering God in listening prayer? (p163-171)

At home: Friendship questions for God

Before you start, ask for God’s peace in your heart and mind
What’s grieving/exciting you these days?
Why?What do you like about me?
Why?What do you see when you look at me?

Discussion Summary:

The church is not actually out of touch with reality, but it is perceived to be so by those who do not attend. The group noted that many people today have no church background at all and don’t even go to church at Christmas, a huge change which has come about in one generation.

We carried the analogy (of speaking to God being like a one-sided telephone conversation) further and suggested that maybe when we pray we want to get the answerphone rather than have a conversation with God. If our friends treated us like this, we would be very hurt.

God truly wants to speak to us but often we are not listening.

Group members shared recent experiences of how God has encouraged them through things which were more than coincidences.

We agreed that there are many other voices trying to speak to us and it can be difficult to recognise them for what they really are. The negative voices of mental illness could certainly block God’s voice.

We all shared our special places for meeting God, and the way being there helps us to feel his nearness. For several of us, the special place was outdoors. Even if we can’t always physically be in our special place, we can go there in our hearts. The diversity of the group showed that God speaks to each person in a special way, through reading, pictures, music, creation etc.

Sometimes bearing other people’s burdens can be very draining and hard-going. We have more to learn about focusing on God at these times.

We recognised that many things can stop us listening to God – distractions, sin, fear, pain, shame etc. But he longs for us to listen so that he can be with us in every detail of our lives.

If you wish to use this book review, questions and discussion summary for your Book Club, feel free to do so, but please credit handouts to Mel Menzies, and linkback where appropriate.

If you have any questions about how to set up a Readers' Group, see my post Setting Up A Book Group: Twenty Tips.

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