A Phone Tree Book Club Feature: Letters from Ruby, Week 3
In Time and Space…
“Would forgiveness and new beginnings come out of death? Would resurrection? Calvin hoped with every fiber of his being that they would.
1) Though Calvin did not know Ruby’s husband, Whit, very well, he was moved to pray a simple prayer for him during a critical moment in the story.
Question: Do you ever stop to pray “a simple prayer” for strangers? Why or why not?
2) During a particular hospital visit, Calvin was informed by the police chief that one of his congregants had been involved in a devastating car crash. In that moment, Calvin realized that he hardly knew the man. He said, “I hate to ask this. But which one is Phil Erikson?” When the chief reminded him of just who the accident victim was, Calvin responded, “I’ve barely ever talked to him.”
Question: What does the Bible have to say about the importance of knowing fellow saints, and what are the benefits that exist therein?
3) Calvin had a certain mindset about what a “pew sitter” looked or rather acted like.
Question: What, in your opinion, is a pew sitter? Are you guilty of being one?
4) Chief Stern gave Calvin much in the way of sound advice, as well as encouragement, from time to time. Before facing Phil Erickson and his family, the chief pressed Calvin’s hands together in a gesture of prayer and told him that he, as a priest, was meant to “bring the Big Man” into the room.
Question: As part of the royal priesthood, is it your responsibility, calling, assignment, and/or role to bring the Big Man to all?
5) As Ruby shared some of her history with Calvin via her letters, she spoke of her father. She indicated that her father had died surrounded by the love that he himself had so much difficulty showing.
Question: Why do you think some people have such a difficult time showing their love to others? Do you think that the inability to demonstrate love can hinder growth?
6) In preparing for Phil’s funeral services, Calvin had to confront the kids from Phil’s first marriage and Phil’s second wife in a bold, matter of fact way. He made a significant point when a heated discussion between them began. “After tomorrow, you two can ignore each other for the rest of your lives, but for the rest of today and tomorrow, I will not have the sins of the past destroy Phil’s funeral.”
Question: How do you deal with people when they attempt to bring up the sins of your past?
7) Hallelujah! Calvin and Carl Sinclair came to a point of understanding when they were placed together and had to work through a challenge.
Question: Is it important that God’s people reconcile with one another? What does the Bible say about this? (Study the relationship of Paul and Barnabas.)
8) Ruby’s wisdom: “You don’t need to be physically present to have an impact. You were where God needed you most…And God is where you need Him most.”
Question: What do these words mean to you?
9) When Whit was admitted to the hospital, he was placed in the room that Calvin associated with Phil’s death. Even though Ruby found herself needing Calvin as her priest, it was evident that she had to be his encourager.
Question: Do you ever find that you as an encourager need to be encouraged?
10) At the end of chapter twelve, Ruby’s letter to Calvin speaks about how sometimes something bad happens and something good follows right in its wake.
Question: Can you relate to what Ruby is saying in her letter regarding how good often follows bad? (Reflect on Psalm 30:5b.)
Reading Assignment for Week 4: Read chapters 13-16 and the epilogue. (Q & A posted on 5/27/14)