Tag Archives: Phil Ruge-Jones

“Just a Little Bit More” Study Guide and Summary Version Now Available!

Quick link to Study Guide and book purchase page http://www.blueocotillo.com

jalbm svsg picThe fifty-two page summary version and study guide companion to Just a Little Bit More: The Culture of Excess and the Fate of the Common Good is now available! Ideally suited for book clubs and faith community education groups (high school to adult), the summary pamphlet is akin to a Reader’s Digest version of the full-length book with the addition of discussion questions at the end of all eight chapters. Now readers of both the book and the summary version can enter the same discussion on social and economic inequalities and consider together what can be done to uplift the common good.

From Dr. Craig Nessan of Wartburg Seminary and his review of JaLBM in the April 2015 edition of Currents in Theology and Mission:

How did we as a society arrive at our current state of extreme wealth disparity? T. Carlos Anderson, pastor of St. John’s/San Juan Lutheran Church in Austin, Texas, presents with measured judgment his findings based on extensive historical research and astute cultural analysis. Anderson proposes a return to the value of egalitarianism and practice of economic democracy as the way of deliverance from the regressive and even violent inequality under which we suffer. The reader is provided incredible detail and documentation of our current economic, cultural, and religious crisis. He expresses confidence that as in previous eras the pendulum finally shifted to correct the drive to economic excess through the mechanisms of political democracy, so our awakening to the present crisis can lead to an urgently needed corrective in our time.

From Dr. Phil Ruge-Jones of Texas Lutheran University:

Anderson’s book is an extensive chronicling of the people, movements, and streams of thought that have led us on the quest to want just a little bit more. In the role of a theologically aware social critic, he reminds me of Niebuhr. He is deeply embedded in the Christian tradition, but has listened carefully to many other voices and thus speaks a reasonable, balanced, and authoritative public word. Anderson shows us the way back toward a commitment to egalitarianism that has become lost over the last century.

From Rev. Kathy Haueisen, author of A Ready Hope and 40-Day Journey with Kathleen Norris:

A masterpiece . . . I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to live in a world with a more equitable distribution of the world’s assets and resources. It ought to be required reading for every church leader.  

Thanks to the book clubs at First English Lutheran (Austin), Living Word Lutheran (Buda, TX), Triumphant Love Lutheran (Austin) and Holy Cross Lutheran (Houston) for reading and discussing JaLBM.

Thanks to Abiding Love Lutheran (Austin), St. John’s/San Juan Lutheran (Austin), and Chapelwood United Methodist (Houston) for doing adult education sessions with JaLBM.

Thanks to ELCA Campus Pastors And Staff (Regions 3, 4, and 5) for the invitation to present JaLBM and related themes at their 2015 Mid-Winter Retreat.

Other churches in Austin, Houston, San Antonio, and Chicago are planning to carry out study discussion groups of JaLBM in the fall of 2015.

For the month of June: Purchase book (regularly $14.95) and the Study Version/Study Guide (regularly $6.95) together for $16.00 (plus shipping and handling, and sales tax for Texas residents). Offer available only at the Blue Ocotillo Publishing website http://www.blueocotillo.com.

A few centuries ago a well-known Jewish rabbi offered this prayer to the Creator of all there is: Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. What does the intersection of common good and God’s realm look like today? Put JaLBM on your summer reading list and prepare yourself to participate in or lead a study/discussion group with the purpose of seeking out answers to that important question.

Just a Little Bit More: The Culture of Excess and the Fate of the Common Good is available on Amazon as a paperback and an ebook. It’s also available on Nook and iBooks/iTunes.

 

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Monday Matters Book Club Studies “Just a Little Bit More”

The Monday Matters book club, based at Triumphant Love Lutheran Church in Austin, Texas, has been gathering for discussion and shared insight more than twenty years. The group originally met in the house of Ted and Velma Ziehe; the first book studied was Marcus Borg’s Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time, its debut conveniently coinciding with the group’s formation in 1994. The initial group, consisting of Lutherans, Presbyterians, and Baptists, liked Borg’s depth of critical scholarship within a faith perspective. Borg’s journey from a naïve, unquestioning faith to one of maturity and authenticity was a positive struggle shared by many in the group. The group decided to keep meeting. The lure of Velma’s cookies and the conversation promised by the study of other good books guaranteed the group’s viability for many more years.

Five years ago, the group started to meet at Triumphant Love. Engineers, pastors, teachers, nurses, and entrepreneurs comprise the group. While neither diverse ethnically nor socioeconomically, the group colors the political map blue, red, and purple. It’s good for Democrats, Republicans and independents to be in conversation with one another in a religious setting: all are reminded that theology is to inform politics, and not the other way around. We might not see eye to eye politically, but we can be in conversation with one another on how best to love and serve our neighbor in God’s name – together.

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Monday Matters book club – Triumphant Love Lutheran, Austin, TX

Thanks to Norb Firnhaber and Leroy Haverlah who suggested that the group study Just a Little Bit More. Group convener Doug Nelson graciously told me more about the group and helped distribute copies of JaLBM. I introduced JaLBM themes to the group on February 16 – including the dominant religion in America as represented by the Caddy Man (you need to get to know him if you don’t already) – and they took it from there. They convened five sessions to discuss chapters one through eight and invited me back for a closing session on April 6. It was good to meet new folks and see others that I already knew – Ralph and Ellie Erchinger, Dorothy Kraemer, Jim and Kris Carlson – and to be in meaningful conversation with them. Doug Nelson says JaLBM brought out “the most vibrant discussions” the group has had for some time.

If you have a group at church, synagogue, or temple that appreciates meaningful discussion on the important social and economic issues of the day – without falling into well-worn blue and red ruts – take on a study of JaLBM. The book challenges readers with a perspective that cuts against the grain of today’s accepted conventional wisdom of money as highest good. As Peter Steinke says in the book’s foreword, JaLBM benefits its readers by showing “how we have shaped the system we are a part of and what can lead to a new way of doing economics that embraces the common good.”

The summary version of JaLBM with study guide questions is now available at the Blue Ocotillo Publishing website. The study guide version summarizes JaLBM‘s eight chapters and poses questions for discussion at the end of each chapter. Whether reading the full length book or the summary version, all present in a group setting can enter into meaningful discussion and conversation, just like the Monday Matters group at Triumphant Love did for seven sessions.

For those groups in Austin and its vicinity, I am available for presentations to lead JaLBM discussions on the topics of egalitarianism, social mobility, economic democracy, and common good – all from a faith perspective. I’m confident the discussions will be worthwhile and influential.

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“Anderson’s book is an extensive chronicling of the people, movements, and streams of thought that have led us on the quest to want just a little bit more. In the role of a theologically aware social critic, he reminds me of Niebuhr. He is deeply embedded in the Christian tradition, but has listened carefully to many other voices and thus speaks a reasonable, balanced, and authoritative public word. Anderson shows us the way back toward a commitment to egalitarianism that has become lost over the last century.”
Dr. Phil Ruge-Jones, Professor of Theology and Philosophy, Texas Lutheran University

 

Just a Little Bit More is available through the website of Blue Ocotillo Publishing, www.blueocotillo.com, and Amazon. Blue Ocotillo Publishing – paperback – $14.95 + tax (for Texas residents) + shipping. Ebook format available on Amazon, iBooks, and Nook. JaLBM Summary Version and Study Guide is available at the Blue Ocotillo Publishing website.

 

 

 

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