— SOME QUESTIONS
Have you changed anything in your spiritual life as a result of reading this book? If so, what were the effects of this?
“Who we are and what we do are not the same thing, but the distinction gets lost when we don’t invest in our spiritual lives” (page 9). How far do you agree with this?
The author lists some reasons why she finds prayer difficult (pages 16-17). Do you recognise these struggles in your own life? Are there other things that make praying hard for you?
Have you tried any of the ways of praying which the author writes about in chapter one? If so, what was your experience of them?
Have you ever fasted from food as an aid to prayer? What do you think about fasting from other types of behaviour as an alternative?
How can we ensure that giving something up is not only self-discipline, but also directed towards God?
The author expresses her appreciation of creation as an aid to worship. What leads you towards God?
How would you answer the author’s questions about solitude? (See pages 91-92.)
Is solitude a necessity for your spiritual life, or something you try to avoid? What did the author gain from moving beyond her natural inclination to spend time with others?
Could you simplify your life in order to deepen your relationship with God? Where do your priorities lie in the use of time and space?
IN OUR next readings-groups page, on 3 February, we will print extra information about the next book. This is The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga. It is published by Atlantic Books at £7.99 (CT Bookshop £7.20); 978-1-84354-722-8.
Aravind Adiga was born in Chennai (formerly known as Madras) in 1974, and grew up in southern India. He studied at Columbia University in New York and Magdalen College, Oxford, before becoming a financial journalist. Later he worked as a correspondent for Time magazine for three years, before going free-lance. He has written for the New Yorker, The Sunday Times, the Financial Times, and The Times of India.
The White Tiger was his first novel; it won the 2008 Man Booker Prize. Since then, he has published a selection of short stories, Between the Assassinations (2009), and a second novel, Last Man in Tower (2011).
The White Tiger is a story of the contrasts within Indian society. Balram Halwai is a bright but poor boy from rural India, who ends up a wealthy entrepreneur. He climbs the ladder, initially through becoming chauffeur to the son of a village landlord, who is involved in political corruption. This relationship fuels his ambition, but he achieves his success only though murder and bribery. Balram tells his story in letters to the Chinese Premier, Wen Jibao, who is scheduled to visit India to discover more about its entrepreneurs.
Books for the next two months:
March: One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexandr Solzhenitsyn
April: The Master of Ballantrae by Robert Louis Stevenson