Insights into the World

As the Outreach Book Group begins its fourth year, you are invited to discuss a new round of interesting and thought-provoking books that will deepen Bethanyites’ understanding of our country and the world.

On February 25, you are invited to hear some good news on Global Warming by considering the book Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming, edited by Paul Hawken. We will review hopeful recent events and discuss good options to not only arrest, but also reduce, the problem. This book outlines practical ways individuals can reduce their carbon footprint and rollback global warming within the next 30 years. Janette Plunkett will lead a discussion of two sections from the book entitled: “On Care for Our Common Home” and “Why Care”. If you have time, also read any solutions from the book that intrigue or energize you, as we will consider actions participants can take to live out their faith during Lent. Copies of the two articles will be available in the lobby.

In April, the group will examine ministry to gangs by reflecting on the book Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion by Father Gregory Boyle. Boyle is the founder of Homeboy Industries, a gang intervention program in Los Angeles. In this book, Boyle tells the stories of people he has known and demonstrates how faith and compassion can reveal Christ’s love to those struggling.

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by JD Vance will be the focus in June. Vance tells the detailed story of his own family as they moved from Kentucky to Ohio to find a new life and pursue the American Dream. This story reveals the decline of the white working class and the lingering effects of alcoholism, drugs and abuse on upward social mobility.

Finally, in October, outreach partners Mike and Katie Lucero (who will be on home leave) will lead a discussion of the novel Rainbow Troops, by Andrea Hirata and Angie Kilbane, which is considered the quintessential Indonesian novel. The book tells the story of how students in an impoverished Indonesian school grab hold of an education, despite the deck being stacked against them, and it provides a glimpse into the customs and people of the world’s largest Muslim society. Mike and Katie will share how this story interconnects with their experiences living in Indonesia for the past 4 years.

As usual, anyone is welcome to join these discussions and copies of the books will be available at Queen Anne Books on the book club shelves. For questions, or to propose a future book, please contact Julia Sensenbrenner at

Past and future books can be found in the Bethany Library on a middle shelf directly across from the door to the library. Come in to check one out and enjoy these interesting, inspiring and informative books. The following books are available:

From 2015:

  • Enrique’s Journey: The Story of a Boy’s Dangerous Odyssey to Reunite with His Mother by Sonia Nazario
  • Wanted: A Spiritual Pursuit Through Jail, Among Outlaws and Across Borders by Chris Hoke
  • Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo
  • Captive in Iran: A Remarkable True Story of Hope and Triumph Amid the Horror of Tehran’s Brutal Evin Prison by Maryam Rostampour and Marziyeh Amirizadeh

From 2016:

  • Falling Into Place: A Story of Overcoming by Hattie Kaufman
  • Church Behind the Wire: A Story of Faith in the Killing Fields by Barnabas Mam
  • Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson


  • Seeking Refuge: On the Shores of the Global Refugee Crisis by Issam Smeir, Matthew Soerens, and Stephan Bauman
  • True Story: A Christianity Worth Believing In by James Choung
  • Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond
  • I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor’s Journey on the Road to Peace and Human Dignity by Izzeldin Abuelaish

by Julia Sensenbrenner, Assistant Leader for Global/Regional Outreach Team

POSTSCRIPT: To see the February discussion on global warming, go to this link.

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