Week of October 19 – Read pages 1-30 for first meeting
- The beginning of the chapter quotes Wendell Berry, “What we need is here.”
Reflect on how this sets the tone for the opening of the book. Why does Bass believe this?
- Bass’s central question in the book is “Where is God?” Reflect on where God is from your view. What unresolved thoughts or feelings do you have about where God is?
- Discuss your views on the phrase “God with us” or “God within us.” How does a “God with us” faith impact your daily life? Are there ways you like a God who is in heaven, and separate from human affairs?
- On page 19, Bass writes, “Separating the material from the spiritual is, perhaps, one of the saddest philosophical missteps of Western culture.” In what ways to you agree or disagree with this statement?
- In the section on Spiritual Revolution (p. 19-26) Bass discusses people who are spiritual, but don’t go to a house of worship. Bass writes, “People believe, but they believe differently than they once did.” (p.21) Later she writes, “We are not lazy, self-centered, or individualistic church shoppers. We are heartbroken. Heartbroken by the fact that the faith traditions that raised us and that we love seem to be sleeping through the revolution.” (p. 24)
In what ways do you agree or disagree? (And you can do both at the same time!)
Week of October 26 – Read Chapters on Dirt and Water, pages 31-96
- What is your own experience with dirt, gardening or growing things? Would you call any of these experiences spiritual? Why or why not?
- Discuss the spiritual impact and implication of thinking about the earth and physical universe as the body of God.
Notes: From pages 50-52, Bass explores the themes of death and resurrection from the perspective of soil. She notes that soil comes from the deaths of many tiny creatures (p. 50) Especially focus on the first paragraph of page 52.
- What is the impact of equating dirt and soil with sin? Would it change anything to increase positive liturgical imagery of soil? (p. 54)
- Would history be different if we had an 11th Commandment to be stewards of the earth? 56
- In what ways have you experienced the soil as healing or as a teacher?
- What is your favorite body of water to visit? What do you experience there?
- In what ways have you experienced being near water as restorative or healing? (see pages 80-81)
- If we think of rivers and fresh water supplies as sacred, and access to clean water as justice, how would this change our worship and mission as a church?
- After reading the chapters on Dirt and Water, are you more optimistic or pessimistic about the possibilities of dealing with climate change? Can a shift in theology and spirituality make a difference? What is the church’s role in this?