Advent Book Group 2012

If you have an overwhelming urge to explore the weightier theological ideas, this is the place to seek fellow-travellers.
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Jae
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Advent Book Group 2012

Post by Jae » Thu Nov 15, 2012 3:34 pm

Hello everyone and a big apology for having not been able to give you this information sooner

:lovedrops:

we are now ready and pleased to offer an Advent book group this year.
The book is :


Heaven by Paula Gooder


'Heaven is one of those great mysteries that somehow symbolize what we don't know about ourselves and the world around us. At the same time it lifts our vision from the mundane realities of our everyday lives and reminds us that beyond the daily grind of our exisence there is another, unseen reality.' (introduction)



and can be bought via our bookshop link here :



http://www.i-church.org/gatehouse/index.php?page=4



The group will be held in the Cafe on Thursday nights between 8pm and 9pm and will run for 6 weeks from Thursday 29th November 2012 to Thursday 3rd January 2013.

We hope very much that the author, Paula Gooder, will be joining us for the final meeting in January.


We hope too that you will find this book interesting and that it will give you food for your spirits and hearts as we journey with it whilst we wait to celebrate the birth of Christ, the love come down from heaven.

Everyone is welcome, whether you are new to i-church or an old timer, please do come and join in.
If your book hasn't arrived in time for the first week don't worry, still come along and join in.



We will also be posting short excerpts from the book and some simple reflections on this forum for each week and you can continue the discussions from the group and post responses, questions or comments if you would like.
In the triumph of prayer
Twofold is the spell.
With the folding of hands
There's a spreading of wings
And the soul's lifted up to invisible lands
And ineffable peace .....

Evelyn Underhill <><

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hench1
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Advent Book Group 2012

Post by hench1 » Thu Nov 15, 2012 3:42 pm

See you there... :reading:

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Emle
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Post by Emle » Thu Nov 15, 2012 4:37 pm

Thank you for organizing this Jae and count me in please :)

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Jennifer
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Post by Jennifer » Thu Nov 15, 2012 6:29 pm

Emle wrote:Thank you for organizing this Jae and count me in please :)
Me too please!! :flowerface:

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Joyce
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Post by Joyce » Thu Nov 15, 2012 8:09 pm

If you'd find it convenient to read on the computer screen during discussions: just in case anybody doesn't know, there's a Kindle version of this book. I downloaded it the other day. There is a free sample to try out before paying.
I like amazon Kindle for PC and phone because the applications are free whereas an actual Kindle is about the price of a dozen books and not so easily found if put down somewhere. Also, Kindle often works out cheaper because there's no P and P to pay.

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Post by Isobel » Thu Nov 15, 2012 8:27 pm

I've ordered my copy :)

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Caroline
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Post by Caroline » Thu Nov 15, 2012 8:37 pm

My copy is sitting alongside me as I type. :cool:

But I was the one who put it into the i-church bookshop, so I did have advance warning. :thumbs:
Kindness is underrated.

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Jae
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Post by Jae » Thu Nov 15, 2012 8:56 pm

lol Caroline

I will only be posting excerpts Joyce not the whole book but of course kindle is one way to buy it :thumbs:
In the triumph of prayer
Twofold is the spell.
With the folding of hands
There's a spreading of wings
And the soul's lifted up to invisible lands
And ineffable peace .....

Evelyn Underhill <><

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Josie
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Post by Josie » Thu Nov 15, 2012 10:24 pm

I'll try my best to join in, this sounds really interesting. I think I've mentioned somewhere around here that I don't do well with live chats.
I'll see how the pennies go and try to get the book.

Whatever happens I'll certainly be following the forums topics. :wink:

:flowerface: xxxxxx

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Jae
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Post by Jae » Sat Nov 24, 2012 11:30 am

Hi everyone .... just a little bump for the Advent Book Group :reading:

The first group meeting is next Thursday 29th November from 8pm to 9pm.

Please read the introduction and chapter one which we'll be discussing for week 1.

I'll also be posting short excerpts from the book here and some simple reflection questions, please do post any thoughts, feelings and questions you might have here to continue the discussion if you would like to.

Here's the first one .......
In the triumph of prayer
Twofold is the spell.
With the folding of hands
There's a spreading of wings
And the soul's lifted up to invisible lands
And ineffable peace .....

Evelyn Underhill <><

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Jae
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Advent Book Group 2012

Post by Jae » Sat Nov 24, 2012 11:34 am

Week 1:
‘May you be blessed by the Lord, who made heaven and earth. The heavens are the Lord’s heavens, but the earth he has given to human beings’ (Ps.115.15-16)

‘Heaven is one of those great mysteries that somehow symbolise what we don’t know about ourselves and the world around us. At the same time, it lifts our vision from the mundane realities of our everyday lives and reminds us that beyond the daily grind of our existence there is another, unseen reality. A reality governed not by the things of earth but by the things of God.

A reality that is as real – if not more so – as our everyday lives. Heaven suggests an answer to the familiar human feeling that there must be more than this, and prompts us to wonder whether there is indeed more in heaven and earth than can be dreamt of in all our philosophies.’

‘While in popular usage, the word heaven is used to refer either to what happens to us when we die or to an emotion that comes close to the bliss we will feel in heaven after death, this is not its only use.

Intriguingly we also use the word heaven as an alternative to ‘sky’. It is not unusual to hear someone using the phrase ‘the heavens opened’ to refer to a particularly heavy downpour of rain. When you think about it, it is odd that this expression remains in common usage, since it describes a view of the world that is long gone.

This usage can be traced back to biblical tradition, where we find a parallel with our own modern usage …….. Elsewhere the word is used in a different way to describe not so much the sky as the place where God dwells.’



15449_angelcloud.jpg

REFLECTIONS:

How have you imagined heaven?

What has coloured or influenced your ideas about heaven?


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
In the triumph of prayer
Twofold is the spell.
With the folding of hands
There's a spreading of wings
And the soul's lifted up to invisible lands
And ineffable peace .....

Evelyn Underhill <><

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Beth
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Advent Book Group 2012

Post by Beth » Sat Nov 24, 2012 6:20 pm

Hi Jae, I'm hoping to join you on Thursday. I listened to a wonderful preaching series on heaven not long ago. Would you mind if I posted a link to it?

Looking forward to my first advent book group!

:reading: Beth

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Jae
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Post by Jae » Sat Nov 24, 2012 6:50 pm

so long as it complies with our site rules Beth that would be great.

I hope you enjoy the book group too :thumbs:
In the triumph of prayer
Twofold is the spell.
With the folding of hands
There's a spreading of wings
And the soul's lifted up to invisible lands
And ineffable peace .....

Evelyn Underhill <><

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Jennifer
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Advent Book Group 2012

Post by Jennifer » Tue Nov 27, 2012 6:36 pm

My book has arrived!! :thumbs:

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Jae
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Post by Jae » Tue Nov 27, 2012 8:08 pm

great stuff !

if you can read the introduction and chapter one ready for Thursday that would be good, but don't worry if you can't :thumbs:
In the triumph of prayer
Twofold is the spell.
With the folding of hands
There's a spreading of wings
And the soul's lifted up to invisible lands
And ineffable peace .....

Evelyn Underhill <><

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Josie
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Post by Josie » Fri Nov 30, 2012 9:45 am

Oh I'm so sorry I missed this. I have my book and was all ready. Sadly the little one has had a few late nights and isn't settling until after ten.

I shall try to catch up.

xxxxx
This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine.

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hench1
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Advent Book Group 2012

Post by hench1 » Sun Dec 02, 2012 8:18 pm

Just wondered if anyone else is struggling a bit with the concept that Heaven isnt permanent or "everlasting" :reading:

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Beth
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Post by Beth » Sun Dec 02, 2012 9:15 pm

I was glad I had the help of introduction to the themes before the book arrived, Hench. Remember the Trinity are permanent and everlasting though. God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

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Caroline
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Post by Caroline » Sun Dec 02, 2012 9:21 pm

I was a bit thrown too Hench - but as Beth says, God is everlasting, and the New Testament is very clear that we are promised eternal life.
1 John 2:25
And this is what he promised us—eternal life.
Kindness is underrated.

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Beth
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Post by Beth » Sun Dec 02, 2012 9:23 pm

What I mean is their person-hood will be continuous. I'm waiting for my book to come. I have been introduced to limbo in the past and looked at representations of heaven in artwork and texts. I'm prepared to be flexible, but I do think heaven is an emotive subject and closely related to hope. I expect I will wrestle with the book too.

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Post by Beth » Sun Dec 02, 2012 10:44 pm

http://www.crosspoint.tv/media/glimpse/

This is the series I watched on the afterlife. The same church has followed up with a couple more series heaven themed, and are re-exploring heaven and nature this December. Thanks Jae for letting me share it here.
Last edited by Beth on Sun Dec 02, 2012 10:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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hench1
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Post by hench1 » Mon Dec 03, 2012 6:21 pm

Thanks for the replies. I guess I get the eternal life bit but I am definitely thrown by where you reside this "IF" Heaven isn't permanent and is renewed as the author suggests. I am up to chapter 5 now and I have to admit this is some roller coaster ride.
Hmm I think I will stick with it but I have to admit its a lot of academic stuff that at the minute isn't inspiring me. Sorry to be the kill joy.

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Pam
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Post by Pam » Mon Dec 03, 2012 11:29 pm

You're not being a kill joy hench!

I think part of the enjoyment of a book group is to think about other people's questions, that's why it's a group rather than reading it on your own.

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Jae
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Post by Jae » Tue Dec 04, 2012 1:09 am

I'm sorry you're not enjoying the book hench but by no means are you being a killjoy ... as Pam has said that's why we read it as a group.

This book is a bit more academic than some we have looked at in the past, so don't worry about that just try and remember that the academic parts are mainly explanations about 'where' some of the ideas we have 'grown up with' have come from in the past and these were all ideas that older civilisations than us had about heaven - not the definative answer to 'what, why, how and where' heaven is.

The part about heaven not being permanent comes on page 10 (we did not have enough time to get to that more fully)

The author, I believe is saying that in the New testament particularly there is talk of 'heaven and earth' passing away so heaven cannot be seen to be everlasting ... it will pass away like the earth at the end of all times.

It is assumed that this is the heaven as refered to in 'the sky' rather than God's dwelling place and so it is the sky that will be renewed with the earth.

But because 'heaven' is refered to as in the sky and as in God's dwelling place the word seems to be used 'interchangeably' for both and this is a bit confusing.

Paula says

''Heaven, therefore, is not in and of itself everlasting. The term everlasting is associated

- with God: from everlasting to everlasting you are God' (psalm 90)

- with God's characteristics: 'O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever' (1Chronicles 16)

- and God's word: the grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand for ever'(Isaiah 40)

God is permanent and everlasting but heaven is not: it will pass away and be replaced by a new heaven.'' (page 10)

we are then asked to consider that if by eternity we mean ever lasting then heaven cannot be, since it will pass away with earth. BUT if by eternity, we mean 'outside' time - especially as we know or understand time - then heaven may indeed be eternal.

She goes back to Psalm 90 which also says

''for a thousand years in your sight are like yesterday when it is past, or like a watch in the night' God's time may be very different to ours and God is eternal.

She also explores the idea that this veiw of heaven may tell us also about God's love for us ... she says

''if God created heaven and will re-create it, it must be possible for God to dwell somewhere other than heaven'' (page 10)

So maybe one purpose of heaven is to be a place close to earth - but not God's only dwelling place - for God to 'be' alongside us .... a reminder that God wants to be close to the 'realm made for that purpose'

Remember too that Jesus told us in John 14

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God[a]; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Jesus then, perhaps said something about the nature of heaven as God's dewelling place I think ... 'many rooms' could also suggest that there is more to heaven than being just one kind of place above us.

I hope that helps ... I have to say my honest answer is that I do not know what heaven is, how long it might last or where it is ... I am hoping that the book will help me - and all of us - think about that and explore it :)
In the triumph of prayer
Twofold is the spell.
With the folding of hands
There's a spreading of wings
And the soul's lifted up to invisible lands
And ineffable peace .....

Evelyn Underhill <><

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Jae
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Advent Book Group 2012

Post by Jae » Tue Dec 04, 2012 1:17 am

Do have a look at our Jesse Tree too for lots more ideas about 'heaven' :thumbs:
In the triumph of prayer
Twofold is the spell.
With the folding of hands
There's a spreading of wings
And the soul's lifted up to invisible lands
And ineffable peace .....

Evelyn Underhill <><

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