“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.



JaLBM Summary Version/Study Guide Now Available!

Brad Highum, a pastor at Abiding Love Lutheran Church in Austin, has been a great supporter of Just a Little Bit More from its very inception.* Back in 2011, we lunched over gyro wraps at the Phoenicia Bakery on South Lamar in Austin. We sat on the picnic table outside in the hot fall wind (Phoenicia, abundantly stocked with Greek and Arab staples, doesn’t have indoor seating) and went back and forth about the 2007-08 economic swoon and the related topics of social immobility, rising inequality, and childhood poverty. Brad’s enthusiasm let me know that my thinking was on the right track.

JaLBM came out in May 2014. My own congregation, St. John’s/San Juan, and Brad’s were the first congregations to participate in a book study of JaLBM. We conducted the studies concurrently with the purpose of compiling feedback and notes that would contribute toward a study guide for other faith communities.

Halfway through the study, one of Brad’s congregants walked into the Sunday morning adult forum at Abiding Love and gave Brad a knowing look. “Pastor Brad,” he offered, “this book is not a light read.”

Brad responded with a wink and a smile: “It’s not a light topic.”

Checking in at 110,000 words and covering the aforementioned topics related to social inequality, JaLBM is not a light-hearted summer beach read. (My brother Mike, however, did read JaLBM in three days at a Bible camp on Minnesota’s Lake Carlos – he is the current JaLBM speed-reading champ).

JaLBM Summary Version and Study Guide Now Available

For those of you waiting for an easier to read version of JaLBM, wait no longer. Just fifty pages and boasting a larger font, the 10,000 word JaLBM Summary Version and Study Guide condenses the full-length book into a Reader’s Digest version, with discussion questions at the end of each of the eight chapters.

A study of JaLBM with others in a church, synagogue, temple, men’s group, women’s group, or book club setting affords rewarding discussion. JaLBM encourages interchange on the big topics related to social inequality without participants having to fall into well-worn political ruts. Readers of the full-length version and the summary version of JaLBM can be on the same page when it comes to discussion and analysis of the work, leading to activity on behalf of the common good.

The summary version is also intended for high school and college student groups. It’s available now at the Blue Ocotillo Publishing website and soon on Amazon. Thanks to the good folks at Abiding Love and St. John’s for their work in helping to prepare the study guide questions.

Greg Pierce, publisher at ACTA Publications in Chicago, advised me last summer to produce a summary version of JaLBM. ACTA produces community organizing and theology books, with a number of these in pamphlet or summary form. ACTA distributes JaLBM nationally. Greg has had over thirty years experience in the publishing field. He told me that he has consistently seen priests and pastors – when visiting the book table at a convention or conference – overlook whole length books in favor of summary version pamphlets. Greg says it has something to do with their workload!

brother brad
Brother Brad Highum

No matter your work load, there’s a JaLBM version for you. I invite you to take a good look at it and enter into the ongoing discussion to combat social inequality and uplift the common good.


Click here to purchase Just a Little Bit More: The Culture of Excess and the Fate of the Common Good. Paperback, $14.95. You will be redirected to the Blue Ocotillo Publishing website.

Click here if you prefer to purchase JaLBM from Amazon. Ebook available on Amazon, iBooks, and Nook.

Click here for Summary Version and Study Guide from the Blue Ocotillo Publishing website.


*Brad’s colleague pastor at Abiding Love, Lynnae Sorensen, has been a steady supporter of JaLBM as well.