Women’s Book group will discuss ‘Love Beyond Belief’ beginning Jan. 15

A new Women’s Book Discussion Group will begin at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 15The book is “Love Beyond Belief: Finding the Access Point to Spiritual Awareness” by the Rev. Dr. Thandeka, a Unitarian Universalist theologian, journalist, and congregational consultant. Thandeka will be the guest speaker at the Interfaith Scholar Weekend, March 1-3.

She was given the Xhosa name Thandeka, which means “beloved,” by Archbishop Desmond Tutu in 1984. She is the founder of Affect Theology, which investigates the links between religion and emotions using insights from affective neuroscience.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu said:

“’Love Beyond Belief’ is a hope-filled book reminding us in historical and contemporary terms that we are loved always, even when we feel lost and alone.”

“Love Beyond Belief” is available on Amazon: “Using insights from the brain science of emotions, “Love Beyond Belief: Finding the Access Point to Spiritual Awareness” narrates two millennia of lost-and-found stories about love beyond belief as the access point to the heart and soul of spiritual life. Many of today’s “spiritual but not religious” people — one in four U.S. adults — have found the access point to spiritual experience that Western Christianity lost: unconditional love. “Love Beyond Belief” tracks the history of this lost emotion.”

Robin Carlson, our commissioned minister of Christian education, will guide this discussion, which will go through Feb. 26. Reading assignments are one chapter per week.

If you would like to order a book for $20.75 from the church office, please call 559-435-2690 or email Marilyn (office@communityucc.com) before Nov. 20. Books are also available on Amazon for $24 (paperback) and for $9.99 (Kindle).

Women’s Book group will discuss ‘On the Brink of Everything’ beginning Aug. 28

Women's Book Club Discussion

A new Women’s Book Discussion Group will begin at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 28. 

The book is “On the Brink of Everything: Grace, Gravity and Getting Old” by Parker J. Palmer, author of “Let Your Life Speak,” “The Courage to Teach,” “Healing the Heart of Democracy.”  It is available on Amazon.

Robin Carlson, our commissioned minister of Christian education, will guide this discussion, which will go through Sept. 18.

Drawing on eight decades of life — and his career as a writer, teacher, and activist — Palmer explores the questions age raises and the promises it holds. “Old,” he writes, “is just another word for nothing left to lose, a time to dive deep into life, not withdraw to the shallows.”

But this book is not for elders only. It was written to encourage adults of all ages to explore the way their lives are unfolding. It’s not a how-to-do-it book on aging, but a set of meditations in prose and poetry that turn the prism on the meaning(s) of one’s life, refracting new light at every turn.

Reading Assignment is:

  • Aug 28 – Prelude and Chapter 1
  • Sept 4 – Chapters 2 & 3
  • Sept 11 – Chapters 4 & 5
  • Sept 18 – Chapter 7 & Postlude

‘Grounded’ is next up for Women’s Book group, starting Feb. 20

"Grounded" by Diana Butler BassThe Women’s Book Discussion Group will read “Grounded” by Diana Butler Bass. Our first meeting to discuss this book will be at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 20, in the Conference Room.

From Goodreads:

The headlines are clear: religion is on the decline in America as many people leave behind traditional religious practices. Diana Butler Bass, leading commentator on religion, politics, and culture, follows up her acclaimed book “Christianity After Religion” by arguing that what appears to be a decline actually signals a major transformation in how people understand and experience God. The distant God of conventional religion has given way to a more intimate sense of the sacred that is with us in the world. This shift, from a vertical understanding of God to a God found on the horizons of nature and human community, is at the heart of a spiritual revolution that surrounds us—and that is challenging not only religious institutions but political and social ones as well. “Grounded” explores this cultural turn as Bass unpacks how people are finding new spiritual ground by discovering and embracing God everywhere in the world around us—in the soil, the water, the sky, in our homes and neighborhoods, and in the global commons.

Our reading schedule for “Grounded” is as follows:

  • Feb. 14-20: Read the daily devotional at the back of the book “Grounded” (first seven). Be prepared to discuss any of the devotionals that spoke to you and why.
  • Feb. 20: Introduction and Chapters 1 and daily devotionals
  • Feb. 27: Chapters 2 and 3 and daily devotionals
  • March 6: Chapters 4 and 5 and daily devotionals
  • March 13: Chapters 6 and 7 and daily devotionals
  • March 20: Conclusion daily devotionals
For more information, call the church office at 559.435.2690.

New book chosen for Women’s Book group

Women's Book Club Discussion

The Women’s Book Discussion Group will read “Lunch with Buddha” by Roland Merullo. Our first meeting to discuss this book will be at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 9, in the Conference Room.
Book cover

Heartbreaking in places, hilarious in others, “Lunch with Buddha” takes its readers on a quintessentially American road trip across the Northwest.  That outer journey, complete with good and bad meals, various outdoor adventures, and an amusing cast of quirky characters, mirrors a more interior journey — a quest for meaning in the hectic routine of modern life.

The reading schedule for “Lunch with Buddha” is as follows:

  • Jan. 9 — Chapters 1-9
  • Jan.16 — Chapters 10-16
  • Jan. 23 — Chapters 17-24
  • Jan. 30 — Chapters 25-32
  • Feb. 6 — Chapters 33-42
For more information, call church office at 559.435.2690.

New book chosen for Women’s Book group

Women's Book Club Discussion

The Women’s Book Discussion Group will read “Hallelujah Anyway” by Anne Lamott. Our first meeting to discuss this book will be at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 29, in the Conference Room, and we will gather each Tuesday evening through September.

“Mercy is radical kindness,” Anne Lamott writes in her enthralling and heartening book, “Hallelujah Anyway.” It’s the permission you give others — and yourself — to forgive a debt, to absolve the unabsolvable, to let go of the judgment and pain that make life so difficult.

Hallelujah Anyway book cover by Anne LamottIn “Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy,” Lamott ventures to explore where to find meaning in life. We should begin, she suggests, by “facing a great big mess, especially the great big mess of ourselves.”

It’s up to each of us to recognize the presence and importance of mercy everywhere — “within us and outside us, all around us” — and to use it to forge a deeper understanding of ourselves and more honest connections with each other. While that can be difficult to do, Lamott argues that it’s crucial, as “kindness towards others, beginning with myself, buys us a shot at a warm and generous heart, the greatest prize of all.”

Full of Lamott’s trademark honesty, humor and forthrightness, “Hallelujah Anyway” is profound and caring, funny and wise — a hopeful book of hands-on spirituality.

The reading schedule for “Hallelujah Anyway” is:

  • Aug. 29 – Chapters 1 & 2
  • Sept. 5 – Chapters 3 & 4
  • Sept. 12 – Chapters 5 & 6
  • Sept. 19 – Chapters 7-9
Looking forward to our time together!

Starting a new book in the Women’s Book Discussion Group

Women's Book Discussion Group

Breakfast with Buddha bookcoverWe will begin reading “Breakfast with Buddha” by Roland Merullo on Tuesday, June 13. We meet from 6-7:30 p.m. Tuesdays in the Conference Room.

  • June 13 – Chapters 1-9
  • June 20 – Chapters 10-16
  • June 27 – Chapters 17-27
  • Upcoming July dates will be discussed later.

Breakfast with Buddha book coverAbout “Breakfast with Buddha”: When his sister tricks him into taking her guru on a trip to their childhood home, Otto Ringling, a confirmed skeptic, is not amused. Six days on the road with an enigmatic holy man who answers every question with a riddle is not what he’d planned. But in an effort to westernize his passenger – and amuse himself – he decides to show the monk some “American fun” along the way.

From a chocolate factory in Hershey to a bowling alley in South Bend, from a Cubs game at Wrigley field to his family farm near Bismarck, Otto is given the remarkable opportunity to see his world – and more important, his life – through someone else’s eyes. Gradually, skepticism yields to amazement as he realizes that his companion might just be the real thing.