Reading Groups

Throughout the fall 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.

Theology and Economics Group

Tuesdays,  Sep. 19, Oct. 3, 17, 31, Nov. 14, 28, Dec. 12 | 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 fall we will discuss Victor Claar and Robin Kay’s book Economics in Christian Perspective: Theory, Policy and Life Choices. As the subtitle suggests, the book attempts to not only present foundational concepts in economic theory, but also to unpack how theory shapes policy and press into the implications regarding personal life choices for Christians in the marketplace.

The Locust Effect: Why the End of Poverty Requires the End of Violence by Gary Hauge and Victor Boutros

Saturdays, Sep. 23, 30, Oct. 7, 14, 28, Nov. 4, 11, 18 | 10:00 a.m.

Facilitators: Kelly Buhl, Elissa Severseike
While the world has made encouraging strides in the fight against global poverty, the hidden plague of everyday violence silently undermines our best efforts to help the poor. The Locust Effect offers a searing account of how we got here and what it will take to end the plague. Join us as we consider how Hauge and Boutros attempt to forever change the way we see poverty and explore opportunities to help and move toward hope.


This group meets at Humble Cup coffee shop, Minneapolis.


This group is hosted in partnership with the International Justice Mission campus chapter at the University of Minnesota.

The Spirit of Early Christian Thought: Seeking the Face of God by Robert Louis Wilken

Every other Thursday, beginning Sep. 28 | 9:00 a.m.

Facilitator: Michael Tetzlaff
This group is for UMN graduate students and faculty. In this introduction to early Christian thought, Wilken examines the tradition that figures such as St. Augustine, Gregory of Nyssa, and other set in place. Wilken demonstrates how these early thinker constructed a new intellectual and spiritual world that still is relevant in the modern world.


Discussions will take place in Keller Hall, UMN East Bank campus.


This group is hosted in partnership with Graduate Christian Fellowship at the University of Minnesota.

Book Night: The Vanishing American Adult: Our Coming-of-Age Crisis—and How to Rebuild a Culture of Self-Reliance by Ben Sasse

Tuesday, Oct. 17* | 7:00 p.m.
(*Please note the updated date!)

Facilitators: Eric Watkins, Andrew Hansen
In an era of safe spaces, trigger warnings, and an unprecedented election, Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse argues that the country’s youth are in crisis and suggests that this poses an existential threat to America’s future. In our discussion, we will consider the ways The Vanishing American Adult seeks to diagnose the causes of a generation that can’t grow up and explore Sasse’s suggestion for raising children to become active and engaged citizens.

The Language Animal: The Full Shape of the Human Linguistic Capacity, by Charles Taylor

Fridays, Oct. 20, 27, Nov. 3, 10 | 12-1:30 p.m.

Facilitator: Brad Thames
Language is more than just a vehicle for communicating information. Rather, Taylor argues that language is intellectual, but it is also enacted in artistic portrayals, gestures, tones of voice, metaphors, and the shifts of emphasis and attitude that accompany speech. Join us as we explore how language shapes mind and body, and even helps us to understand what it fundamentally is to be a human being.

Book Night: Here I Walk: A Thousand Miles on Foot to Rome with Martin Luther by Andrew Wilson

Wednesday, Oct. 25* | 7:00 p.m.
*This is a new date – postponed from the originally schedule September date.

Facilitators: Andrew Wilson (book’s author), Bryan Bademan
In 2010 author Andrew L. Wilson and his wife Sarah walked from Erfurt, Germany to Rome, following the historic pilgrimage made by Augustinian friar Martin Luther five hundred years earlier. Here I Walk recounts this journey in colorful detail, probing the landscapes, architecture, and cultures encountered along the way to introduce the reader to Luther’s material and theological world. Come join in a discussion with author Andrew Wilson as he presents his pilgrimage—the first one on foot, and the second (and far more arduous!) one of the writing about it—and reflects upon what’s happened in the five hundred years since the Reformation.

Book Night: Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond

Thursday, Nov. 16 | 7:00 p.m.

Facilitators: Sara Joy Proppe, Paul Rheingans
Join us for an important discussion of a significant social ill of your time. Through the lens eight families’ very really struggles, Evicted seeks to transform our understanding of poverty and economic exploitation while providing fresh ideas for solving one of 21st-century America’s most devastating problems. Its unforgettable scenes of hope and loss remind us of the centrality of home, without which nothing else is possible.

Book Night: He That Should Come: A Nativity Play in One Act by Dorothy L. Sayers

Thursday, Dec. 14 | 7:00 p.m.

Facilitators: Katy Wehr, Danica Wytcherley
This book night provides a uniquely interactive way to reflect on the events of Christ’s birth. He That Should Come is a one-act play first performed as a radio broadcast on Christmas Day, 1938. In it Sayers shows that Christ was born not just ‘in the Bible’ but into the real flesh and bones of human history: poverty and political unrest, and among average people like you and me.. We will read the play together, reflect, and discuss.

Please make a gift to Anselm House by December 31st!