Sin Boldly: A Field Guide for Grace - eBookSin Boldly: A Field Guide for Grace - eBook
Cathleen Falsani

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Many of us have heard the phrase "Mercy is God not giving us what we deserve." When mercy is referred to in such terms, how much more is grace the receiving of what we desperately have not earned. In Sin Boldly, award-winning author and columnist Cathleen Falsani notes that "Grace makes no sense to our human minds. We're hardwired to seek justice, or our limited idea of what that means, and occasionally dole out mercy. Grace is another story." Journey with Falsani as she explores in story and song the meaning and experience of grace. The result is an thought-provoking and uplifting take on what makes grace so amazing.

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1. In the introduction, the author argues that describing the experience of grace is more effective than defining it. Do you agree with this claim? Have you ever experienced grace? If so, how would you describe it?

2. In chapter 1, Elvis is held up as an example of grace. How is he such an example? What was it about Elvis’s life that exhibited grace?

3. In chapter 3 the author describes how listening to music can be a spiritual experience. Is this true for you? What music brings you to a mystical place? What is it about this music that has such power?

4. In Bay St. Louis the author finds grace in the celebratory mood of the townspeople and in the delightful dinner she had. What is it about these things that causes her to see grace? Are you surprised by the townspeople’s resilience after the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina?

The author observes great things happening in the Kenyan slum known as Kibera. What signs of grace does she highlight? How are these signs of God’s grace even in the midst of great poverty?

6. In chapter 7 the author writes that grace is “God reaching God’s hands into the world.” What does she mean by this? How does this idea relate to the church as the body of Christ?

7. In chapter 8 the author expresses some conflicted feelings concerning her “born-again” faith. What causes her to be unsettled, and why? What realization does this lead her to about grace?

8. What is your response to the author’s column on the death of Jerry Falwell? Is it appropriate? Gracious? Christian? What would you write in a letter of response to her?

9. What does the Martin Luther quote in chapter 9 to “sin boldly” mean? How does this apply to your life?

What changed in the author’s attitude toward her rude safari guide, Phil, that allowed her to enjoy the rest of her trip? Would you be able to do the same if you were in a similar situation?

11. Look at the loving relationship between the author and her nun in chapter 13. Have you ever experienced such unconditional love from someone? How could you try to be such an agent of God’s love as Sister Annunziata was?

12. In chapter 15 the author is asked to contemplate the “narrow places” in her life from which she needs to be delivered. Take some time to do the same. What narrow places exist in your life? How can you move beyond them?

13. The author writes in chapter 16 that the Mamas of Atembo Bay “forever changed the way I think about motherhood and grace.” How did they do this? How did the author’s view change?

14. In chapter 17 the author has the surprising experience of bringing grace into another family’s life. Do you often think of how you can be a source of grace for others? Take some time to think of some ways you could do this.

15. How does Julia in the conclusion bring grace into the author’s life? What allows the author to realize this despite the outward inconvenience caused by Julia’s remaining in the cabin when she should have left?

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