Why It Matters {Book Club}

Before we jump into Chapters 9 and 10 in Facing Danger: A Guide Through Risk by Dr Anna E Hampton . . . drum roll . . . our next three books!

December (and Advent): Those Who Wait: Finding God in Disappointment, Doubt and Delay by Tanya Marlow. We will look at Sarah, Isaiah, John the Baptist, and Mary.

January (one of my niece’s favorite books): Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech. It’s been a while since we did a Newberry Award winner.

February (a novel before our spring book) : The Piano Tuner by Daniel Manson. 1880s + piano tuner + Burma = I cannot wait to read with you!

People, people, people, the drinking from a fire hose continues in these two chapters. You book clubbers (which spell check insists is “clobbers” and I insist right back it is not) know that this week’s theme—myth—came from this chapter. Anna summarizes each chapter so well and in Chapter 9 she shares “12 Risk Myths” and “Myth corrected.” She mentioned a PDF download and I found it here in addition to two more myths and “7 unhelpful things people say in risk.”

I feel the need to say, people, people, people because the PDF? If you are aren’t able to read the book right now, get the PDF, print off copies for your team, and use the scripture references in a team study/discussion. Anyone else find they are pretty clear on what you believe until you start explaining or discussing it? Through the verbal interaction, I see areas that I have not fully thought through or need to explore further.

To not bog us down in “I agreed with number 1 and then I thought number 2 was spot on and then I read three and guess what? Loved it!” I will stipulate that I found myself nodding as I read through the 12 myths, feeling heard and understood by Anna. Between myth 7 and 8 I wrote in my notes:

“This book advocates for a dynamic approach in our relationships to God, our organizations, and our environments!” A static relationship is simpler, isn’t it? You learn about God and what makes sense and is appropriate for 12-year-old you would carry you all the way to 89 year-old-you. Or you join your organization and what you were told during the recruitment phase never wavers. Housing doesn’t change, the economy is fixed, and visa processes stay the same.

Maybe on the surface those static states would be simpler, but they would also be one dimensional and more like living in black and white.

Were there any myths you disagree with? Or especially agree with?

Myth 4 (You must be building up all kinds of rewards because of the risks you are taking) stood out to me because of this statement: “Yes, there will be rewards, but the whole focus of this statement is off.” Brilliant! Again, Anna gently places her hands on our faces and turns them a bit to the side in a gesture that says, “Move beyond A + B thinking to discernment.” Focus higher, aim higher, live more faithfully and less formulaically.

I was reminded that in my 20s I had (to a point) romanticized being tortured for my faith. Thinking that if I visualized it, I’d be less likely to deny Christ, I did spend time thinking about being tortured. And then I got meningitis and the pain was so unbearable I begged—and I mean that, I begged—my teammate to kill me as we waited in the dirty hospital corridor. When she wouldn’t, even though I reassured her my parents would be grateful she helped me in my hour of suffering, I turned to the ceiling and said, “Jesus, this teammate you gave me is no good. Please kill me.”

My focus was off. Not in that corridor, but in the recesses of my mind.

Yes, there will be rewards. But pain is real. Suffering is real.  As Anna said, “This risk myth requires careful biblical study for clear understanding of eternal reward based on earthly behavior and its application to risk and suffering.”

Chapter 10 is entitled “Don’t Forget Emotions” and I had barely started reading this chapter before I wrote Boom! in my notes. And This is why it matters. “We lower our risk resiliency when we ignore our emotions and the accompanying thought patterns.”

I loved the section on “Integration of emotions, spirituality, and mind” and how to integrate emotions into decision making. This section reminded me of a conversation I had a couple of weeks ago with my spiritual director on integration.

She referenced The Whole-Brain Child by Drs. Siegel and Bryson. In their book they talk about how integration leads to harmony and harmony is like a boat floating between two banks: chaos and rigidity. I found this image from the book:

Doesn’t that ring true? Risk can bring chaos, and the temptation is to over-correct through rigidity. Rigidity can include a range of responses including “I will NEVER leave” or “I have to get out NOW because I am going to die!!!!!”

Did you notice that the eight categories of emotions were footnoted (I love footnotes!) from Emotionally Healthy Spirituality,  a previous book club book. I’m proud of the range of books we have read. A favorite quote on emotions from Chapter 10 is:” The truth is that emotions connect our inner and outer lives.” and how “God gave us feelings to bring us back to him, to understand his heart forming in us.”

Such rich material~let’s keep talking in the comments. (And someone told Dr. Anna about this book club. I had reached out in September and then dropped the communication ball. Anna emailed me last week, that she is touched by the depth of our conversations. So, brownie points to us!)

Amy

P.S. Next week? Chapters 11 and 12

3 Comments

  1. Spring November 14, 2017

    I really appreciated reading through the myths. It was inviting and encouraging to consider that these weren’t true. I think I have believed all of them at one time or another. I especially struggle with a works mentality. I associated with the “we weren’t praying enough” myth. I also really valued where she discussed the fact that counting the cost is an ongoing thing.

    I am just starting the chapter on emotions but find it very validating to think about that my emotions need to be considered. I have this idea that if they are the “wrong” emotions, I need to quell and ignore them.

    1. Amy Young November 17, 2017

      Hey Spring! I agree that the myth chapter was helpful to read through and see which one’s I have believed (or believe) and how to address them. What did you think of the emotions chapter?

  2. Kiera November 17, 2017

    One thing I really liked that I think you may have mentioned before, Amy, is how Anna doesn’t try to offer a formula for this kind of difficult situation. I loved how in Ch. 9, near the end of the explanation of myth #1, she says, “Even if using the suggested guide in this book, no process or method contains the complete answer.” She later talks (in discussing myth #11) about how it’s not an either-or situation and I was reminded of Barnabas Piper – binary thinking alert.

    I also love how many times she re-focuses the issue on living faithfully. Like here, in discussing myth #3 – “Escape or deliverance is not the priority when facing extreme persecution or martyrdom— faithfulness is.” Made me think of Daniel 3:17-18 – Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego – “our God is able to deliver us…but even if he does not.” The focus is on living faithfully rather than be saved from the threat.

    The emotions chapter was interesting too – in particular the different ways that fear and anger make people act. I like that she has validated emotions as a source of information. My tendency is to rely more on my head than my emotions but I have been learning in recent years how to listen to my emotions more and consider them alongside what my rational side is saying.

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