A Contemporary Story of Love, Forgiveness and Reconciliation
Melissa Lea Leedom
To Forgive, Divine is an excellent choice for book study clubs, weekend retreat studies and single adult Sunday school classes.
- To which character did you, personally, relate most? Was there any character whose experience was not a reflection of real life? Which character do you think most exemplifies the attitude of Christ?
- In the Chandler City Benevolent Council, "caring about easing the sufferings of one's fellow human beings" was the sole criterion for participation. Carolyn Perkins was a member of the Council, but was not a Christian. Do you think participation in such an organization should be limited to professing Christians? Why or why not?
- How does your own church measure up with regard to meeting the needs of the hurting who walk through its doors? The hurting in its community?
- When does "sharing news" about fellow church members and staff become gossip and, therefore, harmful?
- Were Jeff's reactions to Clara's information about Bonnie and his subsequent behavior appropriate? Would they have been appropriate had Jeff not been a minister? How could he realistically have behaved differently?
- Do you think Anna Lee made the right decision with Mark, or was it too hasty? Do you think the participation of the others was appropriate or too deceptive?
- What do you think of Bonnie's style of sharing her faith? Was she too bold? Too timid? What do you think might have happened had the tape not been left in her car?
- Given that ministers are generally held to a higher standard of behavior than lay people, do you think Jeff's experience as a single person is fair? Do you think a single minister could conduct a romantic relationship in your church without becoming a victim of gossip?
- Preston states, "Everybody's a sales prospect." How does Sam Washington reveal a similar attitude? Do you think his actions violate the spirit of Matthew 21:13, or does the fact that he is a "Christian" author justify his self-promotion?
- How do To Forgive, Divine's characters exemplify the teachings of Christ? Or fail to?
- Do you think that people like Clara and Preston are capable of change? If so, what circumstances or influences might bring such change about?
- Is reconciliation always a result of forgiveness? Why or why not?
- What problems does Bonnie share with other Christian singles? Are any of Bonnie's problems unique to her?
- What, if anything, can be done to ease the dilemma of dating and breaking up within the same Singles group or church?
- Preston was clearly "shopping" within the Singles group. Do you think this is common in Singles groups? If so, are men or women more likely to "church-hop," or is the tendency equal in the two groups?
- Tom Givens states, "The Singles are sometimes pretty detached from the rest of the church." Do you think this statement is accurate?
- If so, is this as it should be, or should Singles groups be more integrated with the church at large? What steps could your church take to achieve such integration? What steps could the Singles group take to facilitate such integration?
- If not, what does your church do to make Singles feel "included"?
- Has the church failed Sherry Niles? What, if anything, could have been done differently with her or for her?
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