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Books For Groups

Eremos Books for Groups is a popular way for Eremos members and their friends to come together and explore issues of life and faith in an atmosphere which encourages the sharing of ideas. The topics are varied, with particular interest in Australian writers and thinkers, along with well-known overseas names: contemporary spirituality, mysticism, creative relationships, the Jesus of history and of modern faith, the importance of the environment, biographies and fiction. Over thirty different courses are offered on a hiring basis, each consisting of multiple copies of the book under discussion and supplementary materials.

If you enjoy discussing books with others, then hire a discussion course! You can do this as a group, or as an individual, for your personal study. 

  1. Gather your group (4 -10 people is a good number).
  2. Choose a course and order it (see below), giving an estimate as to number of copies of book required.
  3. Make a start date (allowing 2 weeks for delivery) and plan how often you will meet. An invoice will be sent with your course.
  4. Pay within a month: collect the hire fees from each person, plus enough to cover return postage.
  5. Enjoy your discussion with each other using the study guide or questions at the end of each chapter.
  6. Return all materials, with your feedback.  You may keep the study guides if you wish.

The Eremos Books for Groups scheme operates on a hiring basis, and groups (or individuals) anywhere in Australia use the materials to talk about questions of personhood and faith. Resources include books, discussion questions and occasionally audio cassettes and photocopies. Some books are written with their own discussion questions – they do not have a separate study guide.  The costs listed are for Eremos members /non-members individually, inclusive of postage to you and GST.  Suggestions are included as to number of sessions, but this is at the group's discretion, up to a maximum period of six months. Discussion notes without the books can be hired at half the course price.

Email: booksforgroups@eremos.org.au

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Stepping Out with the Sacred: Human Attempts to Engage the Divine by Val Webb

Study No. 72

Stepping Out with the Sacred: Human Attempts to Engage the Divine by Val Webb
(10 copies).

Today, our doctor may be Muslim, our lawyer Jewish and our best friend Buddhist, a plurality multiplied by global travel and politics. This companion book to Like Catching Water in a Net:Human Attempts to Describe the Divine, describes how humans have engaged the Divine across religions and centuries, through rituals, art, sacred places, language and song.

8-10 sessions: $8 members / $10 non-members ORDER THIS BOOK
In Heaven as on Earth: A Vision of the Afterlife  - a novel by the author of The Road Less Travelled,  M. Scott Peck

Study No. 71

In Heaven as on Earth: A Vision of the Afterlife - a novel by the author of The Road Less Travelled by M. Scott Peck
(5 copies).

This novel can be read in several ways.  It is a stirring work of imagination - a novel that offers a fascinating view of what the afterlife may bring. It is also a profound book about the self - in which we come to see that Dr Peck's vision of how to thrive in the afterlife can teach us important things about living our own lives here on Earth.

3-4 sessions: $$3 members / $$5 non-members ORDER THIS BOOK

Study No. 70

The Gift of Years by Sr Joan Chittister
(10 copies).

This book ‘reflects on many aspects of aging, the purposes and concerns, the struggles and surprises, the potential and the joys… encourages us to cherish the blessings of aging and to overcome its challenges’. 

‘It is time for us to let go of both our fantasies of eternal youth and our fears of getting older, and to find beauty in what it means to age well. It is time to understand that the last phase of life is not non-life; it is a new stage of life. These older years– reasonably active, mentally alert, experienced and curious, socially important and spiritually significant – are meant to be good years…. Old age enlightens – not simply ourselves, as important as that may be, but those around us as well. Our task is to realize that.’

8-10 sessions: $10 members / $12 non-members ORDER THIS BOOK

Study No. 69

The Case for God by Karen Armstrong
(10 copies).

This highly regarded book has been written in the light of the current rise of atheism. After exploring the history of faith and the way concepts of God have evolved radically over time, Armstrong then discusses how these insights might be used creatively in order to build a sustaining faith relevant for today's world.

12 sessions: $11 members / $13 non-members ORDER THIS BOOK

Study No. 68

Unveiling Empire: Reading Revelation Then and Now by Wes Howard-Brook & Anthony Gwyther
(10 copies).

This fascinating book is written with the layperson in mind as it explores the apocalyptic literature of Revelation. It provides new insights through its explanations of the original context (Then) - and how age-old questions such as “How do we live in a world rife with evil? Will justice be found on earth?” are just as relevant for us today as we grapple with our own call to discipleship (Now).

9 sessions: $11 members / $13 non-members ORDER THIS BOOK
67-Val-Webb

Study No. 67

Like Catching Water in a Net by Val Webb
(10 copies).

Val Webb, theologian, writer, scientist, artist, encourages the reader to explore the myriad of symbols, metaphors and images that have been used to describe the Divine over centuries and across cultures. She then invites the reader to re-image the Divine in ways that are appropriate for our contemporary world and a multifaith society. A very appealing book for those for whom the old images of the Divine are no longer helpful or sustaining.

7-8 sessions: $11 members / $13 non-members ORDER THIS BOOK
No cover image available

Study No. 66

The Quiet Revolution by Peter Kirkwood
(10 copies).

An investigation of the interfaith movement - includes interviews with many of the leading interfaith thinkers and activists, who recognise the need for a global interfaith in a world increasingly fragmented through politics and religion.

6-7 sessions: $11 members / $13 non-members ORDER THIS BOOK
The Map of Love, Ahdaf Soueif

Study No. 65

The Map of Love by Ahdaf Soueif
(10 copies).

This is a beautifully crafted story of two families and two romances grounded in historical fact and current realities. The settings are Egypt and the USA, the stories are of the personal and the political blended in a captivating work of fiction.

2-3 sessions: $6 members / $8 non-members ORDER THIS BOOK
The Writing of Kathleen Norris

Study No. 64

The Writing of Kathleen Norris: The Cloister Walk, Amazing Grace, Dakota and Other Titles by Kathleen Norris
(6, 3, 5 and 1 copies).

This is a study of the spiritual themes found in the different titles, written so that at each session discussion can focus on a question or insight visited. In this way the heritage of this remarkable writer can be more fully explored. We join her in her exploration of the nature of faith.

The Cloister Walk (6 copies), Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith (3 copies), Dakota: A Spiritual Geography (5 copies), Little Girls in Church (poetry – 1 copy) A poet moves from New York to Dakota, a lapsed Protestant finds Benedictine spirituality.

 

according to interest sessions: $7 members / $9 non-members ORDER THIS BOOK
A Short History of Myth, Karen Armstrong

Study No. 63

A Short History of Myth by Karen Armstrong
(10 copies).

In this history of myth from Paleolithic to modern times, Armstrong argues that human beings have always been mythmakers.  She states that “mythology is an art form that points beyond history to what is timeless in human existence” which “can become an initiation that helps us to make a painful rite of passage from one phase of life, one state of mind, to another.”

7 sessions: $6 members / $8 non-members ORDER THIS BOOK
The Spiral Staircase, Karen Armstrong

Study No. 62

The Spiral Staircase by Karen Armstrong
(10 copies).

By the author of The Battle for God. Her story is fraught with illness, anxiety and spiritual adventure, as well as the solace of a few extraordinary friends, culminating in a career focused on the sacred texts of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.  Ann Wroe in The Tablet April 2004 wrote ‘... her neutral, deeply perceptive position among the world's clashing faiths is what makes her such a precious resource...'   This book grapples with the issue of how we can be religious in the contemporary world, and the place and possibility of belief in the 21st century.

8 sessions: $7.50 members / $9.50 non-members ORDER THIS BOOK
The God We Never Knew, Marcus J Borg

Study No. 61

The God We Never Knew: Beyond Dogmatic Religion to a More Authentic Contemporary Faith by Marcus J Borg
(10 copies).

Author of Meeting ]esus Again for the First Time and Heart of Christianity, Borg reveals how to embrace a view of God that is fully compatible with good science, critical thinking and religious pluralism.

3-6 sessions: $6 members / $8 non-members ORDER THIS BOOK
The Heart of Christianity, Marcus J Borg

Study No. 60

The Heart of Christianity by Marcus J Borg
(11 copies).

Borg, author of Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time,  explores the question of how we can be passionate believers in today's world. He shows that terms such as "born again" have real meaning; that the "Kingdom of God" is not a bulwark against secularism but is a means of transforming society into a world that values justice and love; and that the Christian life is essentially about opening one's heart to God and to others.

5-11 sessions: $7.50 members / $9.50 non-members ORDER THIS BOOK
The Environment & Christian Faith: An Introduction to Ecotheology, Robert Barry Leal

Study No. 58

The Environment and Christian Faith: An Introduction to Ecotheology by Robert Barry Leal
(10 copies).

This book introduces the reader to the rapidly developing discipline of ecotheology which brings together a quest for religious understanding and the study of the environment. The threat to our environment posed by present and past ecological irresponsibility preoccupies increasing numbers of people in our community. In Australia land clearance, woodchipping, salinity and threats to our fauna are all problems facing us. Is there a theological dimension to the ecological crisis? What is the church's stance? This lucidly written and accessible book gives an excellent introduction to various aspects of ecotheology.

6 sessions: $5 members / $7 non-members ORDER THIS BOOK
Studying the Gospels: An Introduction, Gideon Goosen & Margaret Tomlinson

Study No. 55

Studying the Gospels: An Introduction by Gideon Goosen & Margaret Tomlinson
(10 copies).

The six chapters cover the setting in Jesus' time, the growth and development of New Testament studies, the Gospel stories, a portrait of Jesus, the passion and resurrection narratives, and the creeds of the church.  Exercises throughout the book assist group discussion.

according to interest sessions: $7 members / $9 non-members ORDER THIS BOOK
Intimacy & Solitude, Stephanie Dowrick

Study No. 53

Intimacy & Solitude: Balancing Closeness & Independence by Stephanie Dowrick
(10 copies).

The author explores the meaning and challenges of self-acceptance and relationships in our world today.

9 sessions: $8 members / $10 non-members ORDER THIS BOOK
Why We're Equal, Val Webb

Study No. 52

Why We're Equal: Introducing Feminist Theology by Val Webb
(10 copies).

Using Galatians 3:28 as her scriptural base, Val Webb introduces feminist thought, not as a departure from tradition, but as an affirmation of the early church's commitment to the equality of all believers.

6-10 sessions: $7 members / $9 non-members ORDER THIS BOOK
Meeting Jesus for the First Time, Marcus J Borg

Study No. 51

Meeting Jesus Again For the First Time: The Historical Jesus and the Heart of Contemporary Faith by Marcus J Borg
(10 copies).

Borg has drawn on contemporary research to present a fresh and imaginative picture of Jesus that has profound implications for our spiritual life.

6 sessions: $7 members / $9 non-members ORDER THIS BOOK
It's Raining in Mango, Thea Astley

Study No. 50

It's Raining in Mango by Thea Astley
(10 copies).

Set in north Queensland, this novel is written in saga form spanning four generations. It interweaves a series of relationships in which the generations of the past inform the present and all meld in the landscape. A tale of survival despite prejudice and brutality, of Bidgi Mumbler and his successors' travels adjacent to that of the Laffey family. 

2-3 sessions: $6 members / $8 non-members ORDER THIS BOOK
A New Christianity For a New World, John Shelby Spong

Study No. 49

A New Christianity for a New World by John Shelby Spong
(10 copies).

This book calls Christians into a new and radical reformation. Spong looks beyond traditional boundaries to open new avenues and a new vocabulary into the holy, proposing a Christianity premised upon justice, love and the rise of a new humanity.

6-8 sessions: $11 members / $13 non-members ORDER THIS BOOK
No cover image available

Study No. 48

At Table With Luke by J Squires
(10 copies).

How was Luke's Gospel first read or heard? What ways of living in the world does it reveal? Imaginary letters from Theosophilus back to Luke disclose how this Gospel might have been understood by merchants, traders and business people of the 1st century. The studies enter into the world in which Jesus lived and highlight major themes using the "sermon in Nazareth" as a springboard for considering the mission of Jesus and the nature of discipleship. 

4 sessions: $3 members / $5 non-members ORDER THIS BOOK
Jesus - A Revolutionary Biography, John Dominic Crossan

Study No. 47

Jesus - A Revolutionary Biography by John Dominic Crossan
(10 copies).

Crossan sets out to bring us new insights into what we can know about Jesus by researching cross cultural anthropology, Greco-Roman history and literary text. The challenge then is to find Jesus' relevance for 21st century people of faith. Includes an Eremos audio tape of Crossan: Jesus and the Passion for Justice.

7-8 sessions: $7 members / $9 non-members ORDER THIS BOOK
Is Jesus God? Finding Our Faith, Michael Morwood

Study No. 46

Is Jesus God? Finding Our Faith by Michael Morwood
(10 copies).

An invitation to consider how and why Jesus is to be thought of as 'divine', and to develop our understanding of salvation. The implications for ministry, liturgy and theology are explored.

5-7 sessions: $6 members / $8 non-members ORDER THIS BOOK
Tomorrow's Catholic: Understanding God & Jesus in a New Millenium, Michael Morwood

Study No. 45

Tomorrow's Catholic: Understanding God & Jesus in a New Millenium by Michael Morwood
(10 copies).

A stimulating exploration of contemporary issues pertinent to all Christian churches. There is both a realistic grasp of modern society and an understanding of the importance of meaning in people's lives behind the discussions.

6-8 sessions: $6 members / $8 non-members ORDER THIS BOOK
An Authentic Life, Caroline Jones

Study No. 43

An Authentic Life by Caroline Jones
(10 copies).

In this thoughtful weave of Caroline Jones' own story and experiences recounted by people featured in the ABC radio program The Search for Meaning, we are invited to reflect on our own story; to make a deeper discovery of our inner resources; to find hope in the face of change and suffering; and to live an authentic life guided by integrity and purpose.

6-8 sessions: $9 members / $11 non-members ORDER THIS BOOK
Reasons of the Heart - Bruce Wilson

Study No. 42

Reasons of the Heart by Bruce Wilson
(9 copies).

Wilson explores other ways of knowing to secular rationalism - ways which create wholeness and purpose, open up other worlds of reality, and put us in touch with ourselves and with God. These ways of knowing include emotional intelligence, intuition, mysticism and love. Wilson relates stories about individuals' experiences of theophany, either ordinary or dramatic and visionary.

6-8 sessions: $6 members / $8 non-members ORDER THIS BOOK
The Song of the Seed, Macrina Weiderkehr

Study No. 41

The Song of Seed by Macrina Wiederkehr
(10 copies).

Moving through this course will encourage a search for the sacred in personal and group life. Individual and group guided retreats take you through three stages of spiritual reflection: "bending " - recognizing that God is present in all of life; "mending" - healing from life's wounds; and "tending" - making full use of our gifts and talents.

4 individual retreats between 8 sessions: $6 members / $8 non-members ORDER THIS BOOK
Knowledge of Angels, Jill Paton Walsh

Study No. 40

Knowledge of Angels by Jill Paton Walsh
(10 copies).

In this novel the ordered tranquility of a Mediterranean island is about to be changed by the appearance of, one, a castaway whose beliefs represent a challenge to the established order; and, two, an abandoned child suckled by wolves, who knows nothing of the precarious relationship between Church and State but whose innocence will become the subject of a dangerous experiment. The arrival of the Inquisition on the island creates a dark, threatening force and life is at stake.

4 sessions: $6 members / $8 non-members ORDER THIS BOOK
Forgiveness and Other Acts of Love, Stephanie Dowrick

Study No. 39

Forgiveness and Other Acts of Love by Stephanie Dowrick
(10 copies).

This study is recommended for those interested in a spiritual journey that moves beyond 'traditional Christianity'. Stephanie Dowrick explores the meanings of terms we use so readily, like 'courage', 'tolerance', forgiveness'. She refers us to both contemporary and ancient writings that include, but are not exclusive to, the Bible.

6 sessions: $8 members / $10 non-members ORDER THIS BOOK
No cover image available

Study No. 38

Exploring the Value of Lent by Hedley Beare
(1 x 18pp copies).

This guide is suitable for individuals and groups seeking to undertake spiritual practices during Lent, providing a wide range of practical suggestions and historical and contextual background.

sessions: $6 members / $8 non-members ORDER THIS BOOK
The Way of Paradox by Cyprian Smith

Study No. 35

The Way of Paradox: Spiritual Life As Taught by Meister Eckhart by Cyprian Smith
(10 copies).

This study poses thoughtful questions exploring Meister Eckhart, at the same time inviting readers to explore their own approach to 'knowledge of God'. Eckhart's fundamental question is 'What, for you, is God?'

8 sessions: $6 members / $8 non-members ORDER THIS BOOK
Reaching Out, Henri Nouwen

Study No. 14

Reaching Out by Henri Nouwen
(More than 10 copies).

Our ‘spiritual life is a reaching out to our innermost self, our fellow human beings and to our God'. This book takes us through three movements of the spiritual life from loneliness to solitude, from hostility to hospitality, and from illusion to prayer. It is full of rich spiritual and psychological insights, offering stimulating reflections on the process of living a life in the Spirit.

3 sessions: $4.50 members / $6.50 non-members ORDER THIS BOOK
No cover image available

Study No. 13

The True Resurrection + Some Day I'll Find You by H A Williams
(10 copies / 5 copies).

Harry Williams challenges us to step out from behind safe dogmas and to look at Christ's resurrection as it is experienced in our lives. What is it? How can we recognize it in our daily routines?

3-5 sessions: $5 members / $7 non-members ORDER THIS BOOK