|10. Are there any parallels in our contemporary time to what Emma refers to when she says, “It was an intricate task blending isolation with protection; melding worldliness with spiritual calm”?
11. What was the Diamond Rule practiced by the Bethel colony? Is such a rule substantiated scripturally for Christians? Other world faiths? Did Wilhelm Keil demonstrate the Diamond Rule in his reaction to the scouts at Willapa?
12. Did Emma manipulate Christian to remain in Willapa? Was her interest in staying on after their harsh winter an act of love for her husband, a desire to be free of the colony, or from a new belief that she followed God’s direction for her life? Do you think Emma would have remained in Willapa without Christian if he hadn’t agreed with the possibilities of her plan?
13. Why did Christian concur with Wilhelm about the need to leave the valley? What made Christian change his mind? Are there likely to be conflicts between Emma and Christian in the years ahead, and if so, what do you think will enable them to accommodate each other in helpful ways?
14. Though we see the other women in this story through the eyes of Emma, what are Mary’s strengths? Sarah’s? Louisa’s? Emma’s mother’s? her sister Catherine’s? Do these women change throughout the story, or are they static characters acting as backdrops for Emma’s choice and change?
15. Toward the end, the author has Emma identify four spiritual pains* that she sees plaguing her husband, keeping him from seeking healing solace and from making the choice that Emma hopes he will: hopelessness, unforgiveness, separation from those who love him, and lack of meaning. What examples of Christian’s behavior does the reader have that help define these four areas of Christian’s struggle? How does Emma attempt to help him throughout their marriage?
*These four spiritual pains are described in greater detail in The American Way of Dying, Lessons in Healing Spiritual Pain by Richard Groves and Henriette Anne Klauser, published by Celestial Arts, Berkely, CA 2005.
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