Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Death On A Friday Afternoon -- Chapter One

Items for discussion:

1. "I invite you to be open to the thought that this time that you are now calling the present is Holy Week, for all time was there, is there, at the cross." How do you interpret that difficult, but important, statment?

2. "Stay a while in the eclipse of the light (the horrors of the terrible day that we call 'Good' Friday), stay a while with the conquered One. There is time enough for Easter." "In this killing that some call senseless we are brought to our senses." "..... we will not know what to do with Easter's light if we shun the friendship of the darkness that is wisdom's way to light." Read together, what is the significance of those statements (all on p. 2)?

3. "....lightly, eagerly did (the prodigal son) leave the love that gave him life. He rushed to the light (which proved to be darkness)." Later he "came to his senses" and asked, "What am I doing, what have I done with my life?" (p. 3). What brought him to his senses? What does his experience teach us? How does "Good Friday bring us to our senses."?

4. What does the word "Recapitulation" mean as used on pp. 4 & 5?

5. Put into your own words the following statement from p. 5: ".....the only life to be trusted is the life on the far side of death."

6. In what way is the "real world" as we use the phrase to be equated to the distant country of the prodigal son?

7. "So then, this is our circmustance. Something has gone dreadfully wrong with the world" (p. 11). Do you agree? What is it that's gone wrong?

8. By what reckoning have we arrived at a point where "enlightened" people can declare "sin's injury a benefit, our weakness a strength, and the fall ....... a fall up rather than down."? (p. 13).

9. "Father, forgive them" (the first words from the cross). Forgiveness costs. There are four simple (and yet profound) truths that must be understood before we can possibly understand the concept of atonement. What are they? (PP. 21-22).

10. What point is Neuhaus making in pointing out the similar meanings of the words "complicity" and "complexity"? (p. 19).

11. State the theodicy question. How has it been used to declard that "God is guilty!"?

12. "To those who are accustomed to living in a world turned upside down, setting it right cannot help but appear to be turning it upside down" (p. 32). How does staying with Good Friday (with its horror) illuminate our understanding of that statement?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Discussion questions for Monday, October 29 meeting of Book Club:

(Comments via blog welcomed and encouraged)

1. What does this statement mean to you? "Good Friday is not simply the dismal but necessary prelude to the joy of Easter, although I'm afraid many Christians think of it that way."

2. Why -- if it was -- was Holy Week and the Crucifixion necessary?

3. Neuhaus intends the book to be "an exploration into mystery." What does that mean? What does it not mean

4. For what three groups of readers did Neuhaus write the book?

5. The following is one of the book's most controversial statements: If what Christians say about Good Friday is true, then it is, quite simply, the truth about everything" (p. xi). What does it mean? Why is it controversial?

6. "It is finished," Jesus said from the cross. It is finished, but it is not over. To accompany him to his end is to discover our beginning" What do you think Neuhaus means by that statement? What (if anything) does it mean to you?

Friday, October 26, 2007

Charlie Middlebrook

Ladies and Gentlemen --

It's been brought to my attention -- by more than one -- that some are having a bit of a time of it getting a copy of Death On a Friday Afternoon, ...... that it's on order but not yet here.

So let's do this. We will still plan to discuss chapter 1 Monday, but in a limited way, recognizing that some won't have read it. In addition, we'll talk about a well-written, relevant article sent to me by Chris Taylor. It deals with the fact that some of us are Catholics, some Protestants of one kind or another and some possibly something else. It's entitled "The Threefold Witness of the Church." You can easily Google it up. (Remember, our author, Richard John Neuhaus is a Catholic priest).


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Charlie Middlebrook

Ladies and Gentlemen --

We did -- as announced -- have our first fall book club meeting last night (10/22/2007). But not to worry! You're not seriously behind. We simply introduced the book (Death on A Friday Afternoon) and its author, Richard John Neuhaus, something you can easily do for yourself via the internet. Type the essentials (title and name) into the Google search window and you'll find plenty to read that'll bring you up to speed.

Obviously (since I selected the book), I think DOAFA is very worth our time and attention. Most of the reviews I've read (there are many, some by literary royalty and others by commoners like most of us) give Neuhaus high marks for originality, passion and style. He wrestles with difficult concepts and draws his own conclusions, some of them controversial.I predict you'll be like me, at least in the sense that sometimes you'll want to shout your agreement and other times you'll just want to shout (in frustration). That's good because (even if there aren't better reasons) it'll make for lively discussion.

The assignment for this week is to read chapter 1 and be prepared to discuss it at Monday's meeting. And please in the meantime feel free to post comments (reactions) on this website.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Impact University Fall Book Club

Welcome to our book club. The book club will start this week. The book we will be discussing is Death on a Friday Afternoon by John Richard Neuhaus (see link below).

If you would like to discuss the book in person and not online, you are welcome to attend the book club at the Impact Church of Christ building. We will begin discussing the book on Monday, October 22, 2007 at 7 pm in the main building. The address is 1704 Weber Street, Houston, TX 77007.

Death on a
Friday Afternoon