Reading Group Guide
1. How would you define a successful life? Have you ever asked yourself, “What does that definition of success cost me?” How would you answer that question?
2. God’s Spirit often guides us by giving us a lack of peace about a certain direction. Have you ever experienced that? How did you resolve it to restore peace?
3. For a lot of people, slowing down means getting their hands on something: they write letters in longhand even though they have computers, or hand wash dished though they have dishwashers. Do you enjoy doing manual tasks? Is there one in particular that helps slow you down?
For some people, slowing down means taking moments of stillness: spending a sunny afternoon gardening with a daughter; reading a good book by the fireplace on a rainy day; taking the dog for a walk in the early morning, when the world is just waking up. What reminders do you have to stop and let your mind be still and open?
4. In what specific ways has technology --- those electronic gizmos designed to save us more time --- ended up stealing your time? Does technology sometimes delude you into thinking you’re saving time when just the opposite is happening? If so, how can you change that?
5. How involved is your entire community in the education of its children? Think of ways to get involved that will lead children to take their place in the wider world. What are some ways your community is involved in the education of its children? How do those involvements help knit a community together? What benefits occur when a community takes responsibility for each other?
6. The need to feel superior to another often goes hand in hand with competitiveness. Is there someone within your family or church or other area of your life whom you have been tempted to criticize instead of love? What are some ways you can reduce competition and comparisons and increase acceptance? How can competition be a peace thief?
7. Most relationships, even healthy ones, experience conflicts. Resolving conflicts, though, takes hard work and humility. Is there someone in your life whom you need to forgive? Or someone from whom you need to seek forgiveness? Sometimes conflicts tempt us to discouragement and despair. How would viewing the conflict as an opportunity for Christ to live in you change your perspective?
8. Silence is difficult for many of us but easier for others. When is silence not golden? We encounter many opportunities to say things that shouldn’t be said. When have you said these things anyway? When have you held your tongue and seen the situation from another’s point of view? How can you create more room for silence in your life? Or become more comfortable with silence?
9. We all need time to let our souls catch up. Take inventory of your Sundays over the past few weeks. What is your routine? Do you feel more rested, more at peace, more attuned to God as a result of the way you spend your Sundays? Or is it just another day? Sunday might not work for you or your family. Is there another day that could be safeguarded as a Sabbath rest?
10. The Amish don’t expect life to be trouble free. They believe the biblical explanation that “the rain falls on the just and the unjust.” When faced with difficulties, they quickly move on, adjusting to the circumstances. Are the circumstances in your life difficult? How can you respond with positive measures? When the good you do doesn’t seem appreciated or even noticed, how do you feel? For whom are you doing it?