Discussion Questions for Bishop Michael Curry: The Power of Ordinary Love
1. Bishop Michael Curry believes in the power of love—and not the schmaltzy kind. What do you believe about love—what it is and what it is not? What gets in the way of you embracing its power?
2. Bishop Curry’s father shared a communion cup in racially segregated America that set him on a path to become an Episcopal priest and raise a son who did likewise. Whose improbable story of love has shaped you?
3. Bishop Curry’s grandmother was someone who believed in the ideal of beloved community. But she also knew that our institutions rarely live up to that ideal. So she had to rely on glimpses of hope to carry her through hard times. What glimpses of hope are carrying you?
4. Sometimes getting only glimpses, as Kate admits, is the worst. That’s why we need other people. Bishop Curry describes a time in his life when his mother was sick and his father was caregiving and a community of support stepped in to surround him and his sister. When have you experienced that group project kind of love?
5. A prerequisite for the kind of community Bishop Curry describes is dependency. Some major neediness. A sense of incompleteness. And yet many of us would prefer to project the opposite. What keeps you from leaning into your dependency? What insights have you experienced when you do?
6. Bishop Curry’s sermon at the wedding of Meghan Markle to Prince Harry struck a chord with viewers for its message that God is the source of love and we have been created in the image of that love. He reflects, “Love is the core of who we really are and when we live in harmony with that it’s when our lives resonate.” What do you think he means when talks about “a resonant life”?
7. The opposite of love isn’t hate. It’s selfishness. Agape, or the love that Jesus talks about, is a love that seeks the well-being of others, as well as ourselves. How do we love like that? Kate asks. We decide to, Bishop Curry replies. What does it look like when you decide “today is about us’?
8. “This is recovery work,” Bishop Curry says. “You can’t do that by yourself. You need a community that will support you and hold you accountable along the way.” It may be a faith community, or a not-so-compliant book club, but what community carries you? If you don’t have one, what community can you find or create to share life together over time?
9. Love sounds nice. But does it really work? Bishop Curry responds to this question with the truth: It’s going to be painful, but, yes, love can and it has worked. “Think about the people who’ve made a difference in your life,” Bishop Curry says, “who did it not because they were going to get something out of it.” How do these people motivate you to put emotion into motion or love into action?
10. Kate ends the podcast with an invitation to, in the spirit of a love that is hard but worth it, bless six people who we think may not deserve it. What do you think? Will you do it? Will you let yourself be changed by love ordinary and extraordinary today?
Bonus: After listening to this week’s podcast, what part of Kate & Bishop Curry’s conversation resonated with you most? What insight will you carry with you?