Archives for posts with tag: book club

Sensible Shoes Sharon Garlough BrownWe were so thankful to have Sharon Garlough Brown, author of Sensible Shoes, spend time with us on Facebook as part of the Simply Faithful Book Club. She is full of wisdom and grace, so I wanted to capture that conversation for you here.

Click on the comments button (the one that looks like a speech bubble) to read along… Be blessed!

Sensible Shoes #6453Like most people, I enjoy a good book, but I don’t like to take time to weed through the mediocre ones. That’s why I love recommendations from friends.

And that’s why this summer’s Simply Faithful book club pick is “Sensible Shoes: A Story about the Spiritual Journey” by Sharon Garlough Brown ($18, IVP Books). A friend suggested it, and I read it and fell in love.

Now, I can’t wait to discuss it with you and introduce you to the author during a Facebook chat in August.

Brown does a masterful job of introducing us to four strangers who meet at a spiritual retreat center and begin the difficult work of unmasking themselves. Hannah is a pastor on a forced sabbatical. Meg is a widow haunted by her past and struggling with an empty nest. Mara has experienced a lifetime of rejection and now is in a difficult marriage. And Charissa? She is a graduate student who desperately wants to do what is right.

They all wrestle with faith in such a true-to-life way – a way I often don’t see in Christian fiction – and that’s the real gift of this book. Brown, who has a master’s of divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary and is a pastor and spiritual director with the Evangelical Covenant Church, paints faith as a relationship that grows and stumbles and strengthens, as something more than merely a subplot to life.

She also weaves in scripture and spiritual practices, like walking a labyrinth and praying the examen, so readers come away with tools to draw closer to God in their own, non-fiction lives. In fact, at Brown offers a free 80-page companion guide to the book, which essentially serves as a 12-week devotional.

In the next few weeks I’ll share more about the author and your chance to chat with her. In the meantime, what do you say? Will you join us for the Simply Faithful book club?


Thank you for reading Satisfied with us. I’m hoping that you’ll tackle the first section this week and then come back and share your thoughts with us. (We have much to learn from each other. Amen?)

One of my favorite quotes from this section is:

“Contentment is not achieved through getting everything we want but by training the heart to experience full joy and deep peace even when we don’t have what we want.”

With that in mind, what areas of your life are you content with? Where do you need help?

How do we know we have enough or that we are enough?

The author suggests two projects this week: Counting your shirts and shoes and giving something of value away.

How many shirts and shoes do you have?

What did you give away?


“Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name. My soul shall be satisfied…” Psalm 63:4-5

So, maybe you’re interested in this book Satisfied and thinking you’d participate in this Facebook chat with the author — if you only had a clue how to do that.

No worries. Here’s a quick and easy tutorial so you’ll be ready for March 25.

First, you go to the Simply Faithful Facebook page here.

Once you are there, you’ll see a page that looks a lot like this. See that arrow? That’s where you post your questions for the author, Jeff Manion.


Want to see the answer to your questions — and the questions that other people are asking?




Remember to refresh your page every few minutes so you are seeing the latest conversations.


And that, my friends, is just about all there is to this. So, what do you say? Will you join us?


For the 24-year-old who went and got that four-year degree and now works retail with $46,000 in student loans.

For the 44-year-old whose business is doing better than she ever imagined but still doesn’t feel like her house is big enough, her car is new enough or that she is good enough.

For the 64-year-old with an overstuffed closet, a packed basement, a cramped garage and a nagging sense that there is something missing.

For all of us scrolling through our Facebook feeds and noticing how perfect everyone else’s lives are – for all of us struggling to be content right where we are – I chose “Satisfied” by Jeff Manion for the Simply Faithful book club.

Manion is a pastor at a large church in Michigan called Ada Bible Church. He started to notice that anytime he preached or taught about being content with what we have, he would get an avalanche of responses. It seemed to touch a nerve.

And with the collapse of the housing market, shifts in the manufacturing industry and upheaval in the financial world, that nerve seemed even more sensitive.


So, he wrote about the dangers of comparison and about finding our identity in the one who created us. He spent a chapter on generosity and another on the power of serving others.

9780310328353_imageThe deeper into the book I got, the more I dog-eared pages and marked up passages with purple highlighter. I can’t wait to discuss it with you and to experience it as a community.

The book is divided into six sections. We’ll read one a week starting Feb. 10. There are questions and projects for each section, so let’s keep in touch at each Monday because this is a conversation worth having.

“If a person believes that more is enough, then more is never enough,” Manion said. “It creates a cycle of repeated disillusionment.”

And feeling like you don’t measure up is easier than ever, he added.

“Twenty years ago I compared my reality to your reality. Now I compare my reality to your image projection.”

People post pictures on social media of themselves at their thinnest, at fabulous dinners and at interesting events.

“It’s really a highlights reel,” he said. “You don’t post pictures of me sitting in my cubicle and then me sitting in my cubicle again the next day.”

Generosity and humble service are powerful antidotes for dissatisfaction and comparison, though – and we all have something to give.

Serving others trains the heart that it is not all about me, Manion said, and giving money and other things away reminds the heart that “this is not my God.”

Still, contentment can be fleeting.

You can enroll in the school of contentment when you are in your 20s and just starting out with your first place, Manion said, and then sometimes, when your circumstances change or your wealth grows, you need to re-enroll in the school of contentment.

Whatever stage you are at, will you enroll with us?

If you host

We’ll have a Facebook chat with Jeff Manion at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 25, on the Simply Faithful page.

We’re asking people to volunteer their homes, their places of worship or their favorite coffee shops to host friends for the Facebook chat. (The first 10 people to agree to host get some free goodies to share with their friends!)

If you are looking for a group to join that night, stop by Alpha and Omega Parable Christian Store, 1601 Penfield Road in Penfield, NY. (I’ll be there starting around 6:15 p.m.)

More about the book

“Satisfied: Discovering Contentment in a World of Consumption” just released in January and is available online and at local bookstores. (Alpha and Omega Parable Christian Store is offering them for $11.97 if you mention you’re reading it as part of the community book club.)

To learn more about Jeff Manion, visit Also, the church where Manion serves is studying the book and has sermons available online at



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