About Me

Phoenix, AZ, United States

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Small Group

So last Thursday, my small group met at Borders on 75th Ave and Bell. It was our first official meeting, it was brisk out, but we opted to meet outside, huddled around two round, aluminum tables pressed together, the chairs were terribly uncomfortable also having been created out of the light pliable metal. We spent several minutes shooting the breeze and introducing ourselves. Some shared a great deal, others not so much...but everyone showed up, which is a good sign.

I've never done anything like this, nor have I ever even been a part of a small group myself, so I really don't know what I'm doing :).

Nevertheless, we will be exploring a book together as one of our main tasks. I took the liberty of recommending two books to choose from.

The Journey of Desire, Eldredge (of course) and Searching for God Knows What, which I've spent some time talking about in recent blogs.

I copied 3 quotes from each book onto a single sheet of paper and had everyone spend a few moments reading through them. Then as a group, we discussed which book we wanted to work through in the coming months.

Earlier that day, as I was searching for "good" excerpts, I found it was quite easy with Donald Miller's book, and not so much with Elderedge... and by "good" excerpts I mean short paragraphs that captured the writing style as well as some of the main ideas of each writer, but in a concise and accurate manner... Both authors are great and either book has so much to offer... but they are essentially, so very different.

Miller is afforded more freedom I think, and his off beat humour is completely welcomed within the context of his topics, which I assumed would make his book more accessible to a group of college aged guys. While, Eldredge sets out to discuss a "weightier" concept if you will, namely of loss and disappointment. Miller weaves in and out of several ideas with ease and a bit more generality... while Eldredge is much more focused on one major theme, and so consequently, finding shorter quotes that might sum up Eldredge's core idea proved to be a challenge...interestingly enough, The Journey of Desire, is really best represented by a Journey... from cover to cover, the ideas are all deeply interconnected and each principle gradually leading to the next. For some reason I keep picturing a slinky, walking down a case of stairs, influenced by gravity, but also requiring each previous step to get to the next one...

Anyway, I was convinced that the guys would go with the former, but not because it was necessarily a better book, but based on my inability to represent each book with all fairness. To my suprise though, most everybody expressed more interest in Eldredge's, The Journey of Desire. Of course being a group of guys, we came to the decision in a matter of minutes :)

Since I realized we weren't going to be working through Miller's book, I read several pages of Searching For..., to the group. Yes, I read to a group of grown men, in public. We spent some time discussing some of the significant ideas presented by Miller and I got a glimpse of where each person was in terms of their respective journey's, but just a glimpse. Human dynamics are so interesting, complicated and yet beautiful.

Much to my satisifaction, after all was said and done, we stuck around for sometime, just hanging out, which I believe will prove to be an integral part of what we're trying to do with this group. I observed a mixture of excitement, uncertainty, deep wounds and paper cuts, questions, answers, struggles, flaws, strengths, hopes and dreams and hopelessness...but from everyone, a real longing that only Christ alone can fill...

7 comments:

Christy Marie said...

“Of course being a group of guys, we came to the decision in a matter of minutes :)”

Hahaha. That made me laugh aloud.

“Since I realized we weren't going to be working through Miller's book, I read several pages of Searching For..., to the group. Yes, I read to a group of grown men, in public.”

Hahahaha. (Commenting as I read. ;)

You write beautifully, Joe. I look forward to reading more!

Christy Marie said...

“Of course being a group of guys, we came to the decision in a matter of minutes :)”

Hahaha. That made me laugh aloud.

“Since I realized we weren't going to be working through Miller's book, I read several pages of Searching For..., to the group. Yes, I read to a group of grown men, in public.”

Hahahaha. (Commenting as I read. ;)

You write beautifully, Joe. I look forward to reading more!

Christy Marie said...

P.S. Please let me know if I may link to you; I’d love to.
Thanks!

Christy Marie said...

Hey Joe,

Thanks for your comment and for the link; you’re more than welcome to link to that blog but that’s not a blog I use, haha, so it’s rather a bit of a dead link. (I almost missed your comment – until you linked it, I forgot I had that blog – whoops!)

I currently blog daily at: http://moriahjoy.wordpress.com and also occasionally at http://christenpatterson.wordpress.com

Thanks for stopping by. =) I look forward to reading more of your thoughts.

Christy Marie said...

I responded to your comment here:

http://moriahjoy.wordpress.com/2007/12/05/trippin-over-my-blogs/

v.taimani said...

wussup joe.. its good hearin from u.. thanks for the comment.. i think its awesome that youre goin through a book with some guys.. i highly value community and find it so necessary as a young man journeyin through life.. i hope its a growing experience for u man.. aey, shannon and i are gonna be doin the family thing in AZ this cristmas.. maybe we'll see u around.. take care and look forward to readin more of your thoughts..

shalom..

Joe said...

hey Vaka! Thanks for stopping in. I am quite excited for the small group, I appreciate the words of encouragement. It would be good to see you and Shannon when you guys are in town!