Sunday, July 25, 2010

Forgiving Ararat is Summer 2010 book read.

Nearly twenty members of the Old South Haven Presbyterian Church parish are reading "Forgiving Ararat" by Gita Nazareth as our Summer 2010 "book read."  At the end of August, we will be having a group discussion.  Check the calendar for the date and time.  More on "Forgiving Ararat" may be found using the Google Search Forgiving Ararat reviews.  A couple of copies are still available in the Gallery at $10 each.

Discussion Questions 

1. What is the primary philosophical, theological and eschatological debate being waged in the book? What is the relevance of this debate to the lives we lead here on earth?

2. What is the significance of Brek Cuttler’s profession as a lawyer, and Brek’s best friend Karen Busfield’s profession as a minister, to this debate?

3. Brek Cuttler devotes her life to the pursuit of justice. How does she benefit from leading such a life? How does it benefit others? What does it cost her? What does it cost others?

4. Mahatma Gandhi, a lawyer himself, said that the true function of a lawyer is to unite parties riven asunder.
a. If Gandhi is correct, could we argue that Jesus Christ was the greatest lawyer who ever lived?
b. Is this how Brek Cuttler viewed her role as a lawyer?
c. Is this how lawyers function in our society today?

5. How is the word “justice” defined throughout the book? Does it have more than one (contradictory) definition?
a. How do you define “justice”? How does our society define “justice”?
b. What does the word “justice” mean in Micah 6:8: “Do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God”?
c. What does “justice” mean when our national leaders say we are going to “bring the terrorists to justice”? What does it mean when, after a criminal has been executed, our leaders proclaim: “Justice has been served”?
d. Does justice have two opposite meanings? How are these meanings reconciled in the book? In our society?

6. In Forgiving Ararat, is justice in conflict with forgiveness?
a. In our society, is our modern legal system in conflict with Jesus’ teachings?

7. Brek Cuttler becomes a lawyer of souls at the Final Judgment. Do you believe there is Final Judgment? Does the book reflect your view of how it might unfold?

8. By becoming a lawyer of souls, Brek is able to experience the inner thoughts and feelings of other people (souls). What does Brek learn from this experience? What do we learn?

9. Luas, Brek’s mentor, has been presenting the same soul at the Final Judgment for two thousand years. Why?

10. Nana Bellini, Brek’s great-grandmother, says that Brek can help Luas finally leave Shemaya. Does Brek help him? How?

11. How are Ott Bowles and Brek Cuttler alike? How are they different?

12. Does Ott Bowles ever repent of his notorious sins? Is his repentance necessary?

13. Ott Bowles and Sam Mansour debate the Holocaust and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  Do you agree with any of the views expressed in this debate? How does this debate symbolize the conflict waged throughout the book between justice and forgiveness? How does this debate reflect the debate waging in the Middle East today?

14. Who does the character Haissem symbolize?

15. Who does the character Elymas symbolize?

16. Who does the character Luas symbolize?

17. According to the author of Forgiving Ararat, who is the ultimate judge at the Final Judgment? Do you agree? Disagree?

18. Why do you think the book is called: “Forgiving Ararat”? Do you agree with the choice of title and its underlying meaning?

19. Forgiving Ararat has been called a modern parable and an allegory. What is the message of the parable? What is the meaning of the allegory?

20. Has Forgiving Ararat altered your beliefs or understanding of the world in any way?  How?

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