Book Group Discussions


1. Erastus was wonderfully comfortable with the expression of love. My guess is that he wasn’t necessarily physically affectionate, in fact he might have been quite stern. He was a noted orator with a sharp tongue for people on the other side of his argument. But with his family, he spoke openly in a loving voice. How does love get expressed in your family. Have you seen this change over generations?

2. He was passionate in his letters in expressing his faith, and also in his public arguments. We are often shy, almost embarrassed to express our faith, or even to admit faith to ourselves sometimes. How do you communicate on issues of faith to your children? In what ways does the author “pray.”

3. How are religious values transmuted into family values, and through family to community? How are they different in different contexts?

4. We all have family members in pain, as we have been in pain ourselves. To what extent can you talk about tough things that have happened in your family. What family traditions, cultures, styles, show up in the way your family handles such things.

5. Erastus’s words and presence in her life gave the author the courage to do something difficult, to write to Linc. Are there people in your past or present who give you strength of this kind? Do you think you may do this for other people?

6. Talk about ways that we “pray” in our contemporary lives. Do you use art, nature, gratitude?

7. Many people cannot find much history about their family, for one reason or another. If this is the case with you, can you see elements in your character that feel as if they have come down over generations? Do you think there might be someone in your family tree whose values you are particularly influenced by. Might you have overlooked “Aunt Bessie?”

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