BOOK Clubs

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I love interacting with readers. 

Skype makes it possible for me to join BOOK groups all over the world. However, if your group meets within a sixty mile radius of Dallas, I’d be happy to pop in for a time of food, fun, and fellowship. Email me at: gentry327@gmail.com.

July 2011

 

I believe it’s never too late to start over. We can reinvent ourselves. But change requires work. These questions are designed to spur reflection, reinventing, and rejoicing in you. Feel free to download them and spark conversation at your next BOOK CLUB meeting.

 

Reinventing Leona

FREE Discussion Questions

  1. On the first page, J.D. declares, “If it weren’t for guilt trips you wouldn’t go anywhere, Leona.” How does this statement define Leona’s character; and how is the theme of being resistant to change developed throughout the book?
  2. Leona’s struggle with the elder’s wife, Maxine Davis, is one of the major conflicts in the story. Hierarchical relationships are tricky, especially in the church. Have you ever had to navigate the thorny line between boss and friend? Explain how this person’s ability to hire and fire you made sustaining a friendship with them impossible.
  3. When Leona slides next to her pastor husband during the song service, she feels this incredible sense of security and purpose. But within a few short paragraphs, the tangible things that define and sustain this woman vanish. Compare Leona’s losses to losses you’ve suffered. What happened to your self-worth? What tangible things define you?
  4. While Leona is defined by her fear of change, her children are defined by their fear of life staying the same. Growing up inside a “glass house” makes David and Maddie desperate for privacy, or at the very least, the freedom to make mistakes without judgment. A traumatic past can set us up to believe a lie that creates our deepest fear. What event in Leona’s past shaped her, caused her to believe the lie that she must be perfect, and contributed to her fears? What happened in your past that created your fears?
  5. I believe fear hinders the reinvention process. For years I worried that we could lose our ministry job. And then we did. Amazingly, we survived. What is your biggest fear? What if the worst thing that could happen to you actually happened? Tell how Leona survived an unexpected realization of her worst fear. What are some adjustments you would have to make to your life to survive a course redirection?
  6. Strained family relationships take a toll on Leona. How does the theme of starting over affect Leona’s thoughts and actions toward her mother? Her children? Consider your relationships: marriage, children, friends, neighbors, co-workers. What relationships do you long to reinvent? What would it take to accomplish restoration in these relationships?
  7. The Story sisters are two of the first people Leona meets when she moves to Mt. Hope. Her impression of these wrinkled busybodies is based on what she perceives as their unfavorable impression of her. Discuss the dangers of first impressions; and the difficulty of reinventing someone’s incorrect impression of you. Should we even want to change another’s opinion of us? How was Leona’s relationship with the Storys reinvented?
  8. Leona has poured herself into the career of being a wife, mother, and pastor’s wife. In this paradigm she feels confident and comfortable. Maybe you, too, are well-established in your chosen profession and feel defined by your occupation. In today’s economy, people who have invested time, money, and long years in a certain career field are finding themselves tossed aside, cut loose, and released from their jobs. Unable to find comparable employment, not only is their financial security lost; the walls of their paradigm have been bulldozed.  How do you reinvent yourself for a second career so late in the game? Discuss Leona’s return to some of her former dreams. How did she capitalize on those desires God put in her heart? What unfulfilled dream lurks in the back of your mind?
  9. When Leona realizes life will have to change for her, do you think she had to compromise to find happiness? If so, how?
  10. Change, the theme repeated over and over, comes to several of the characters in this book. Who do you think had to change the most? Why are we so resistant to change?
  11. One of the beauties of “the church” is the family it creates. A unique group of people with absolutely nothing in common are bound together by the blood of Christ. But just like any family, there are the crazy uncles or no-good cousins. Conflict is inevitable. When Leona chooses to seek a confidant outside of this body, it doesn’t set well with Maxine. Why?
  12. “Glass House” living is tough. No one is perfect 24/7. Ministry families are not the only ones subject to this kind of constant scrutiny. Name some other occupations that lend themselves to living under a microscope. As a Christian, what is your obligation to the world’s relentless desire to discover the chinks in your authenticity?
  13. If you suffer a tragic set back or serious change in life plans, will you get up
    or curl up?

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