Study Guide

 

You are welcome to print off this guide for use in  your study or discussion group.  If you have difficulty printing it, email me and I’ll send it to you via email.

 

STUDY/DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

Introduction

  1. Why is it important to feel human concern in our hearts?
  2. How does what is said in this introduction relate to the Biblical injunction to be doers of the Word, not just hearers?
  3. What is the potential of the “butterfly effect” in terms of justice and peace?
  4. What is a “Christian butterfly”?

Chapter 1

  1. What is the difference between “social justice” and “charity”?
  2. Which one do most people feel more comfortable with?  Why do you think that is true?
  3. Before reading further in the book, think about each “We-Attitude.”  What does each one mean to you?
  4. On a scale of 1 (very uncomfortable) – 4 (very comfortable), how do you feel about working toward adopting each We-Attitude more fully in your life?  What experiences have you had that may have attributed to that particular comfort level?

Chapter 2

  1. What is meant by “empowerment”?
  2. How does empowerment change the lives of vulnerable people?
  3. How do we empower people as groups (e.g., ethnic, socioeconomic)?
  4. Have you tried any of the suggestions in this chapter?  If so, what happened?
  5. Which suggestions make you somewhat fearful to try?  Why?
  6. What other suggestions do you have for ways to empower our brothers and sisters?

Chapter3

  1. At the beginning of time, who was the first worker and what work did He accomplish?
  2. Why do you suppose that when we meet someone for the first time one of the first things we talk about is what we do for a living?
  3. What pictures or impressions come to mind when you think of various jobs?  Take a piece of paper and read through the following list.  Stop after each to jot down the first idea which pops into your mind for each one: doctor, maid, teacher, farmworker, lawyer, waitress, auto mechanic, social worker, movie star, politician.
  4. In our society, which of the above jobs commands the most dignity?  The least?  Why?
  5. Have you tried any of the suggestions in this chapter?  If so, what happened?
  6. Which suggestions make you somewhat fearful to try?  Why?
  7. What other suggestions do you have for ways to honor our our brothers’ and sisters’ labor?

Chapter 4

  1. How do you feel about being expected to be your brother’s keeper?
  2. Why do some people find themselves needing our help?  What circumstances put them into that position?
  3. What should laws do to improve the situation?
  4. What does helping people help themselves do that charity fails to do?
  5. Have you tried any of the suggestions in this chapter?  If so, what happened?
  6. Which suggestions make you somewhat fearful to try?  Why?
  7. What other suggestions do you have for ways to act as our brother’s keeper?

Chapter 5

  1. Who is your local family—in the smaller sense and in the larger sense?  How does our faith tradition define “family”?
  2. What are the benefits of viewing the larger community as “family”—to you, to them, and to the community itself?
  3. How do we go about finding family members to nurture?
  4. Have you tried any of the suggestions in this chapter?  If so, what happened?
  5. Which suggestions make you somewhat fearful to try?  Why?
  6. What other suggestions do you have for ways to nurture God’s family?

Chapter 6

  1. In what ways do we interact daily with people in other countries and cultures?
  2. In an ideal family, what do we want for each other?
  3. This We-Attitude, unlike the others, begins in the mind, as a route to the heart.  Why?
  4. Have you tried any of the suggestions in this chapter?  If so, what happened?
  5. Which suggestions make you somewhat fearful to try?  Why?
  6. What other suggestions do you have for ways we can recognize God’s family throughout the world?

Chapter 7

  1. What is your image of God? Consider appearance, character, nature, disposition, and temperament.
  2. Has how you personally try to reflect God’s image changed over your lifetime?  When?  How? In what circumstances?
  3. How do you, at this point in your life, reflect that image?
  4. When or how do you see God’s image in others?  Has this changed over time or circumstances?
  5. Why is it important to look for the face of God in each person we meet?  How difficult  is that?  Why?
  6. Have you tried any of the suggestions in this chapter?  If so, what happened?
  7. Which suggestions make you somewhat fearful to try?  Why?
  8. What other suggestions do you have for ways to remind ourselves that we reflect God’s image and recognize it in others?

Chapter 8

  1. Why must we protect our planet?
  2. Why must we also protect all forms of life on our planet?
  3. What do you already do to protect the Earth—at home, at work, at play?
  4. What do you do to encourage others to protect the Earth?
  5. Have you tried any of the suggestions in this chapter?  If so, what happened?
  6. Which suggestions make you somewhat fearful to try?  Why?
  7. What other suggestions do you have for ways to help protect the earthly home God gave us?

Chapter 9

  1. What is meant by “peace is the absence of injustice”?
  2. How does injustice dehumanize us?
  3. How can pursuing the common good lead to peace?
  4. Why does worldwide peace need to start within us as individuals?
  5. What is the full meaning of the Jewish greeting “Shalom”?
  6. Have you tried any of the suggestions in this chapter?  If so, what happened?
  7. Which suggestions make you somewhat fearful to try?  Why?
  8. What other suggestions do you have for ways to help protect the earthly home God gave us?

Chapter 10

  1. Sometimes, practicing one We-Attitude naturally leads into another.  Did you notice this happening?  When?
  2. What normal life-activity do you now look at differently, trying to bring in one or more of the We-Attitudes?
  3. Which of the We-Attitudes do you find yourself practicing more in your life now?  Why do you suppose that is?
  4. Which We-Attitude do you still find it difficult to adopt?  Why?
  5. Which We-Attitude do you think is most important?  Why?
  6. Have you tried any of the suggestions in this chapter?  If so, what happened?
  7. Which suggestions make you somewhat fearful to try?  Why?

Chapter 11

  1. How can practicing the We-Attitudes enhance a holiday or celebration?
  2. What effect might your embracing these Attitudes have on the participants?
  3. Have you tried any of the suggestions in this chapter?  If so, what happened?
  4. Which suggestions make you somewhat fearful to try?  Why?
  5. What other holidays or celebrations can you think of?  How would you incorporate the We-Attitudes into them?
  6. What is your favorite celebration?  How do you plan to practice the We-Attitudes next time it occurs?

Chapter 12

  1. Be sure to think of a bit of Scripture to write into your book.  When you find yourself caught up in the world, go back to that page and reflect on what you’ve written.  Share your chosen verse with the others in your study group.
  2. Share your experiences with others, as well.  Email Jackie O’Donnell at SmThingsCount@gmail.com, or contact her through either of her Web sites, www.JackieODonnell.net or www.SmThingsCount.com and she will pass them on to others.

Afterword

Reflect on what Mother Teresa says.  Discuss what it means to you.