Reading Groups

Throughout the summer we explore different books and topics through our reading groups. Whether the book under consideration is written by a Christian author or not, our reading groups offer a community and a context in which to discuss together different aspects of life and culture in relation to the Christian faith.


These groups are open to everyone—students, faculty, and community members. Unless indicated otherwise, groups meet at the Anselm House study center. Find a reading group (or two) that interests you and register below.

Medieval Wisdom for Modern Christians by Chris Armstrong

Fridays, 2:30pm | Oct 14, 28, Nov 11, 18   Medieval_Pluralism
Facilitator: Jenn Carnell

Has modern Christianity too quickly dismissed the Middle Ages as irrelevant for modern life? Are there values held by medieval Christians that would benefit the church today? We’ll explore these questions by considering how C.S. Lewis was shaped by medieval wisdom toward a more robust understanding of how the gospel speaks into the ordinary rhythms of everyday life.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

Uncle_Toms_CabinTuesdays, 7:30pm | Sep 27, Oct 4, 11, 18
Facilitator: David McEachron

This book is perhaps one of the most influential texts in changing the way Americans view slavery. When published in the early 1850’s, Stowe’s provocative tale fueled the growing anti-slave movement in the United States. We’ll explore the original intent and impact of the book, its theological underpinnings, and its relevance to the ongoing conversations of race in the United States today.

The Justice Calling: Where Passion Meets Perseverance by Bethany Hanke Hoang & Kristen Deede Johnson

Justice_CallingSaturdays, 10am | Sep 17, Oct 1, Oct 29, Nov 12, Dec 3, Dec 10 | @ Humble Cup
Facilitators: Andrea Meitler, Anna Hemze, and Rachel Jeffries

Consider a comprehensive biblical theology of justice, explore stories of injustice around the globe today, and discuss practical ways to join God’s work of setting things right in the world. The book’s authors root their passion for justice in persevering hope, fueled by knowing the God of rescue and restoration.
This group is hosted in partnership with the UMN chapter of the International Justice Mission.

Confident Pluralism by John Inazu

Confident_PluralismTuesdays, 7:30pm | Sep 20, Oct 4, 18, Nov 1, 15
Facilitator: Eric Watkins

How do we live with the deep differences that exist in American society in the 21st century? John Inazu argues that we can and must live together peaceably in spite of these deep and sometimes irresolvable differences over politics, religion, sexuality, and other important matters. We’ll consider his argument that it is often better to tolerate than to protest, better to project humility than defensiveness, and better to wait patiently for the fruits of persuasion than to force the consequences of coercion.

You Are What You Love by James K. A. Smith

What_You_LoveTuesdays, 7:30pm | Sep 20, 27, Oct 4, 18, 25
Facilitators: Andy Bramsen and Andrew Garnett

Who and what we worship fundamentally shape our hearts. And while we desire to shape culture, we are not often aware of how culture shapes us. Smith argues that our hearts are being taught to love rival gods instead of the One for whom we were made in ways in might not even realize. We’ll explore the formative power of culture and the transformative possibilities of Christian practices.

Men, Women, & the Mystery of Love: Practical Insights from John Paul II’s Love & Responsibility by Edward Sri

Men_Women_MysteryWednesdays, 7pm | Sep 21, Oct 5, 19, Nov 2, 16, 30, Dec 14 | @ St. Lawrence Catholic Church & Newman Center
Facilitator: Allison Kolodzinski
Open to graduate/professional students

In 1960 Pope John Paul II published an analysis of the true meaning of human love is life-transforming and practical, shedding light on real issues between men and women. Edward Sri unpacks the contents of this great work, making it accessible to every reader. We’ll explore the practical implications of John Paul II’s work as it relates to love, the meaning of friendship, marriage, pornography, and more – important topics in the face of ever blurring lines in human sexuality today. The bulk of the reading for this group will happen during our meetings.
This group is hosted in partnership with St. Lawrence Catholic Church & Newman Center.

Readers of First Things Group

2nd Wednesday of each month, 7pm | @ Groundswell Coffee
Facilitator: David Hoffner

This is an ongoing group that meets monthly to discuss articles in the newest issue of First Things. Several of the articles from the current issue are available for free on the First Things website. If you’re not a First Things subscriber, feel free to stop by the MacLaurinCSF Study Center to read the latest issue in the comfort of our living room. (We’ll even make you a free coffee!)

Theology and Economics Group

Tuesdays, 7:30 pm | Every other week (exact dates TBD)
Facilitator: James Emmet

This is an ongoing group to explore the relationship between Christianity and economic theory and practice. If you’re interested in a diverse, free-wheeling discussion on this topic, please join us! The first book the group will read this fall is The Worldly Philosophers, a time-tested history of economic thought in the form of chapters summarizing the work of famous economists.

Book Night: College: What It Was, Is, and Should Be by Andrew Delbanco

Tuesday, Aug. 15 | 7:00 p.m.

Facilitator: Andrew Hansen
Delbanco presents a thoughtful and concise criticism of the direction of higher education, set against a historical narrative that helps us to understand the traditional intent of the four-year college experience and how we have arrived at our present state.

Book Night: The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation by Rod Dreher

Wednesday, May 24 | 7:00 p.m.

Facilitators: Bryan Bademan, Colleen Murphy, Daniel Ritchie
Only recently published, but already widely discussed, The Benedict Option suggests how American Christians (Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox alike) ought to prepare for and respond to our current trajectory toward a post-Christian nation. Dreher identifies our culture’s developing problems and outlines practical ways for Christians to survive and thrive within these changes. He emphasizes Christian schools, limits to our use of social media, and the formation of communities similar to Anselm House. Whether you agree or disagree with Dreher’s conclusion, this text provides important insights and considerations for the Church today.

Book Night: The End of Protestantism: Pursuing Unity in a Fragmented Church by Peter Leithart

Wednesday, Jun. 21 | 7:00 p.m.

Facilitator: Andrew Hansen, Jonathan Liedl
A very timely discussion as we recognize the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Leithart examines and critiques protestant denominationalism that has fragmented the church since the Reformation, while also suggesting practical ways for churches and church leaders to pursue local unity now. The End of Protestantism offers a vision for the future church that transcends post-Reformation visions. Join the discussion as we consider the practical implications of Leithart’s argument within our local congregations.

Book Night: Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold by C.S.Lewis

Wednesday, Jul. 19 | 7:00 p.m.

Facilitator: David McEachron, Erin Rupe, Casie Szalapski
Till We Have Faces is the last novel that Lewis wrote, a widely considered as his most mature and masterful. A retelling of  the story of Cupid and Psyche, the novel is an examination of envy, betrayal, loss, blame, grief, guilt, and conversion. Lewis reminds us of our own fallibility and the role of a higher power in our lives.

The Weight of Glory by C.S.Lewis

Tuesdays, Jun. 6, 13, 20, 27, Jul. 11, 18 | 7:00 p.m.

Facilitator: John Matta
A collection of addresses that Lewis first delivered as sermons during World War II, The Weight of Glory continues to be an important text of hope and courage in times of great doubt. Lewis provides a thoughtful exploration of virtue, goodness, desire, and glory, along with a compassionate vision of Christianity. The group will discuss selected essays primarily from the book, along with a couple other Lewis essays found online.

Theology and Economics Group

Tuesdays, May 16, 30, Jun. 13, 27, Jul. 11, 25, Aug. 8, 22 | 7:00 p.m.

Facilitator: Jay Coggins, Don Wilson
This is an ongoing group to explore the relationship between Christianity and economic theory and practice. If you’re interested in a diverse, free-wheeling discussion on this topic, please join us! This summer the group will read Walter Scheidel’s new book, The Great Leveler: Violence and the History of Inequality from the Stone Age to the Twenty-First Century.