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Why you should try a bookclub

Bookclubs are brilliant places where we can be persuaded to pick up a book by an author we have never heard of, or a topic that we have not explored.

FEATURES AUTOR 381/Ellelein_Kirk 04 DE JULIO DE 2023 08:06 h

I love books, there is something about going to a bookshop and browsing the aisles for a new title that makes me very happy.

I could probably do that online but I don’t think it would be the same. Searching the different sections of a bookshop or looking at their offers, until finally one of their titles lures me into picking it up, is exciting. Admiring the cover and turning it over to see if the blurb matches what has already drawn me in from the start, is part of a process that I enjoy immensely.

Bookclubs are also conducive to this experience of discovering new authors and titles. They are brilliant places where we can be persuaded to pick up a book by an author we have never heard of, or a topic that we have not explored. Within them, we also jump onto a river cruise that will take us, hopefully, on the pleasant journey we embarked on in our bookshop.

[destacate]We  jump onto a river cruise that will take us on a journey[/destacate]Although just as it might happen with the titles we pick up when browsing the aisles of a shop, some choices might end up capsizing at the beginning of the journey, whilst others set sail into a sunset of extravagant beauty. This book by Rebecca McLaughlin became one of the latter examples.

The title was enough to encourage some women to join me in this voyage. I have participated in other bookclubs run by Passion for Evangelism but not run one. I was happy to give it a go.

The book was not a long read and the prose seemed clear, easy to enjoy and understand. Moreover, it was encouraging to see that in its pages women were mentioned as Jesus’ disciples. We have all heard that women were amongst the people that accompanied Jesus in His travels, or that they were witnesses of His ministry but I don’t think that people generally addressed them as that. Those women were clearly, as McLaughlin explains, listening intently and learning from the Master; letting Jesus’ words change their lives forever.

As - I guess - in every bookclub, not everyone read at the same pace and I must confess that by the time we met to celebrate the end of the book not everyone had finished. Yet, whether it was a chapter or two or even three, the pages read were enough to persuade them to continue even when the timeline, at least for this bookclub, had ended.

I am praying, that those who did not manage to read it all yet, be perseverant and finish it, as I am sure they will find their endeavours rewarded with both insightful and encouraging information.

[destacate]As the pages of the book were turned, we were amazed to see that for the Lord, there was no bias or favouritism[/destacate]One of the women who read the book said, ‘I found it really inspiring, and it highlighted in a more vivid way to me, the fact that Jesus really sees me.’ I guess, in my opinion, that this also gives us the incentive to share his love with others in a more powerful way. At the same time, it grants us a responsibility to be disciples who disciple others. The great commission after all is for all of us who call ourselves Christians (Matthew 28:16-20).

As the pages of the book were turned, we were amazed to see that for the Lord, there was no bias or favouritism. He did not distinguish between races or moral status. As another lady from our group commented, “it was brilliant to see the extent of Jesus’ love, as he spoke to a woman whose reputation was tainted! He didn’t even flinch to think what others would make of it but was more concerned to reach her in her need.”

According to McLaughlin, Jesus’ “longest private conversation with anyone in the gospels is with a woman Jewish men would have avoided at all costs” (p. 84) The eyes of that woman must have been full of awe and bewilderment. A sinner, that people avoided seeing, now looked at by the Son of the Most High.

[destacate]We could see ourselves as those women in the book, sinners and yet redeemed and adopted as daughters[/destacate]As the story progresses, we also found out that even the monthly pain that ails us and that is spoken of in hushed voices between us, as we hand over a hot water bottle and a sympathising smile, does not seem to have scared or been avoided by Jesus. En-route to the house of Jairus, a woman who has been bleeding for twelve years touches his cloak. McLaughlin says, “Any shame we women feel around the physical realities of femaleness must melt way at Jesus’ words.” (p.116) He seemed to look at her and she sees Him. As she acknowledged what she had done, probably expecting the reproach, Jesus calls her ‘daughter’. I can only imagine her surprise, even more when then he added: “Your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your disease” (Mark 5:34). No more pain, and perhaps more importantly no more reclusion or shame.

There is much more to say about this book but I would like to highlight that our bookclub gave an opportunity to meet, sometimes on social media and sometimes in person, with other women. It granted me a chance to talk at length and sometimes in brief conversations about Jesus. It gave us the possibility to encourage one another, because as the book says: “We all long to be deeply known and loved. But so often we feel the need to manage how much we are known because if people really knew the truth about us, -our darkest thoughts …- we fear we would not be loved” (p.91).

In the recounting of stories seen through the eyes of women in the bible, we are able to relate in the fellowship of the same gender. We, at different times, were also able to rejoice at the love presented to them and to us. We could see ourselves as those women in the book, sinners and yet redeemed and adopted as daughters.

However much or little, women might have read, the bookclub and this book in particular, helped us all to be more grateful for what the Lord has given us. It also gave me the opportunity to pray for the beautiful women who God has called to his family and those who still do not know Him, so that we may all one day, fill our eyes as well with His presence.

Elleilen Kirk leads a bookclub of Passion For Evangelism, a ministry of women passionate about evangelism.




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