Reading Groups

Throughout the semester we explore different books and topics through our reading groups. 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 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.

A Woman’s Place: A Christian Vision for Your Calling in the Office, the Home, and the World by Katelyn Beaty

 

Reading Group cancelled due to low registration – “register” below to let us know if you’d like to see this book/topic offered again in the future.
Although more women work outside the home than ever before, tension remains regarding women’s roles in both the public and private spheres. This book and our discussion will explore Christian perspectives on work, calling, career, and the unique experiences of women—important topics for today.

Silence by Shusaku Endo

Tuesdays, Feb. 21, Mar. 7, 21, Apr. 4 | 7:30 p.m.

Facilitators: Betsy Howard and Casie Szalapski
Though first published in 1966, Silence continues to be an important and powerful novel about faith in the midst of suffering, God’s presence, and cross-cultural ministry. We’ll explore the literary accomplishment of the book, along with the theological and practical implications of the experiences endured by the main character, a Portuguese Jesuit priest.

To Change the World: The Irony, Tragedy, and Possibility of Christianity in the Late Modern World by James Davison Hunter

Tuesdays, Feb. 7, 21, Mar. 7, 21, Apr. 4, 18 | 7:30 p.m.

Facilitator: Andrew Garnett
The call to make the world a better place is inherent in the Christian belief and practice. But why have efforts to change the world by Christians, especially those that involve political engagement, so often failed or gone tragically awry? Hunter proposes an alternative paradigm of Christian engagement called “faithful presence” –an ideal of Christian practice that is not only individual but institutional; a model that plays out not only in all relationships but in our work and all spheres of social life.

 

To Change the World is an Anselm House classic that will help us to explore the role of Christianity in the modern world.

Roadmap to Reconciliation: Moving Communities in Unity, Wholeness and Justice by Brenda Salter McNeil

Saturdays, Feb. 11, 18, 25, Mar. 4, 25, Apr. 1, 8, 15 | Humble Cup at 10:00 a.m.

Facilitators: Anna Hemze and Elissa Severseike
We can see the injustice and inequality in our lives and in the world. We are ready to rise up. But how, exactly, do we do this? How does one reconcile? This book will help us to explore the theological basis for reconciliation and consider very practical, concrete steps toward action and transformation.

 

Hosted in partnership with the International Justice Mission campus chapter at the University of Minnesota.

Flourishing: Why We Need Religion in a Globalized World by Miroslav Volf

Sundays, Mar. 5, 19* | 7 p.m.
(*NOTE: These are adjusted dates from what was originally published)

Facilitator: David McEachron
More than almost anything else, globalization and the great world religions are shaping our lives, affecting everything from the public policies of political leaders and the economic decisions of industry bosses and employees, to university curricula, all the way to the inner longings of our hearts. We’ll explore Volf’s argument for why we need religion to address the challenges of globalization.

 

Cosponsored by the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning at the University of St. Thomas.

Graduate Student Group

Wednesdays, Feb. 1, 15, Mar. 8, 22, Apr. 5, 19, May 3 | St. Lawrence Catholic Church & Newman Center at 7:30 p.m. 

Facilitator: Allison Kolodzinski
This is an ongoing group for graduate students and people that have recently completed their graduate studies. We discuss books written by thoughtful Catholic authors on practical topics related to life and vocation. This spring we will read Forming Intentional Disciples: The Path to Knowing and Following Jesus and explore what it practically means to follow Jesus as his disciples.

 

Hosted in partnership with St. Lawrence Catholic Church & Newman Center.

Theology and Economics Group

Tuesdays, Jan. 24, Feb. 7, 21, Mar. 7, 21, Apr. 4, 18 | 7 p.m.

Facilitator: Andrew Lucius
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 book we will read this spring is Why Nations Fail, which will help us dive into a perennial question of economics: why are some countries rich, while others remain intractably poor?

Readers of First Things Group

Second Wednesdays of each month | Groundswell Coffee at 7 p.m. 

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 Anselm Study Center to read the latest issue in the comfort of our living room. (We’ll even make you a free coffee!)