Engage: New Group to Start

From its beginning, I have had no intention of conducting an Engage Group on a continuing basis, but only when it seems the experience might serve a useful purpose.

In that context, I am announcing a new round of Engage Group meetings based on our common reading of Walter Brueggemann’s book, ‘Journey to the Common Good’ (Revised Edition, 2021).

I have decided to have a second Engage Group experience in light of the clear and increasing threat posed by far-right political and religious leaders and the other extremists who follow and fund them. The tipping point in my decision came when the new House of Representatives convened in chaos and with an evil determination to eschew ethics in favor of achieving their dark and radical agenda. Truth is now eclipsed by falsehood.

I personally believe that our current dilemma poses the greatest threat to state and church in my lifetime. There are multiple factors which have led me to this conviction–summed up in the context of syatemic evil that we explored in the first Engage Group using Richard Rohr’s book, ‘What Do We Do With Evil?”

So much of what Rohr wrote and warned about is playing out right before our eyes. The local, state, and federal expressions of evil through the collusion of executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government make civic/ecclesial fundamentalism a threat to our nation and faiths.

It is not enough to name this pervasive evil, we must resist it and move beyond it through what Rohr has called “the practice of the better” by the efforts of those whom Matthew Fox is calling “mystic-prophets.” Walter Brueggemann’s book ‘Journey to the Common Good’ is a map for the much-needed renewal.

So….beginning February 1st, we will begin a common reading of his book. It has three parts. We will read Part One in February, Part Two in March, and Part Three in April. On the last Friday of each month (February 24, March 31, and April 28), we will gather from Noon to 1:00 pm. (Eastern Time) to talk about what we are experiencing as we read Brueggemann’s book.

As with the first round of Engage Group meetings, I will write a weekly Oboedire post as we move through the book. In the post prior to the monthly group meeting I will include the Zoom link for you to use to join the meeting. The live meeting is optional, but if you decide to participate in the Engage Group, I hope you will plan to attend all or as many of the Zoom meetings that you can.

As before, there is no cost for this group experience, except the cost of the book. If you already have the original edition, it will suffice. If you are ordering it for the first time, be sure to purchase the revised edition (2021). It has a new and very helpful introduction and other changes as well.

You do not have to formally register for the Engage Group experience. Everything you need will be posted here on Oboedire. Look for the “Engage Group” theme to guide you.

I will begin “Engage Group”theme posts the first week of February. In the meantime, get the book. If you have any questions, email me at oboediresite@gmail.com

About Steve Harper

Dr. Steve Harper is retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 45 books. He is also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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