I picked up Andy Crouch’s new book after listening to a podcast interview with him. I had a sense that he was speaking my language, and he didn’t disappoint. While the book discusses technology at length, the the bigger idea that presents is that we – all of us – are persons. If you are a Charlotte Mason educator, you may have just sat up a little straighter. Yes, we are persons, ‘heart-mind-soul-strength complexes’ as Crouch puts it and too often, technology causes one or more of those aspects to diminish or atrophy. (Think about what endless scrolling on your phone does to your physical health and you’ll get the idea.)
I enjoyed the book and chose it for a summer book club for my church small group. I’ll take any opportunity to chat about personhood with other people! We’re reading it over three weeks, four chapters a week. Here are my discussion questions for the first meeting:
- “Recognition is the first human quest.” Crouch begins his book with his statement and quickly illustrates how this is true in babies, toddlers, and children. But is it a lifelong quest? How do we see that?
- “In early days, we learn from other’s faces that we are persons…” This introduces a theme: the way we ourselves function both informs and forms other people’s self-understanding. On one hand, we set an example to them in the way we behave, and on the other, we imply certain ideas to others in the way we treat them. How does this come into play in our relationships, especially with children? Do you make any ‘increasingly radical choices’ in light of this?
- Personhood is “rooted in our being and cannot be taken away…only another person can give it to us…can be developed…persons are meant to grow.” How does this work as a fundamental principle in family/church/community life?
- Crouch discusses “the flattened nature of our daily lives” and compares it to “living the ‘muchness’ of heart-soul-mind-strength.” How can/should this inform our evangelism/outreach/fellowship?
- The fourth chapter ends with a sense of foreboding: we may be “at the mercy of something worse than boredom or loneliness.” Do you have a sense that this is true? How so?
Have you read the book? What do you think?