Discussion Questions for Love is the Way by Bishop Michael Curry
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1. Love is the Way: Holding on to Hope in Troubled Times is a book inspired by the folks who raised Bishop Michael Curry, folks who “loved America in spite of the fact that American didn’t love them,” folks who represented “a universal hope for a better life and a better world.” Did you grow up knowing folks like this?
2. Agape is the Greek word for love that seeks the well-being of another. It’s also the same word used to describe the love of God in the New Testament. Therefore, Bishop Curry says, if we want to turn on “God’s GPS,” we simply have to ask, “Is this just about me or is this about we?” What aspect of your life is easiest or hardest to orient to this kind of love?
3. Bishop Curry reflects on a moment during his mother’s cold, winter burial when Mrs. Bullock pulled him into her and provided “a soft landing for a boy’s suffering.” Of that time, he writes, “We were always resting in the loving hands of our church community. Which is to say, in God’s hands.” When have you experienced a soft landing for your suffering? Who pulled you into their coat? Who held you in their hands? What did this memory memorialize in you?
4. When describing his Grandmother’s cooking—and that of other Black migrants—Bishop Curry talks about “making do” and “making new.” How could you participate in “making garbage gourmet” in your home, work, or community? What challenging ingredients have you been handed? What golden creations can you cook up with them? What will be your secret sauce?
5. Dreamers may get dismissed as fanciful, ethereal, or naive but history proves that dreamers possess a certain tenacity. They’re people who refuse to accept and acquiesce to the way things are and pray and work for the way things could be. Looked at this way, how are you a dreamer, too?
6. “The ability to love yourself is intimately related to your capacity to love others,” writes Bishop Curry. How have you experienced this paradox in your own life? Is there one side of the paradox that’s harder for you to hold than the other? Who models this flow of love for you?
7. Martin Buber wrote, “Love is the responsibility for an I for a You.” Rather than relating to other people as “it’s” that we can control, we’re meant to treat one another as “thou’s” we’re in relationship to. From this perspective, Bishop Curry believes, everyone is a neighbor deserving of our care. Who is hardest for you to see as a You? What small act of care could you start practicing toward them?
8. Bishop Curry writes about the dance of nonviolent change in the church, country, and world. He describes this dance as learning to stand and kneel at the same time. Stand in your own conviction. And kneel before another’s anger. Do you think this is an effective posture of love? What gestures would you add/amend to this description to reflect your own ethos of change?
9. “Our stories have power. They have power to change how people understand the world—but even before that they have the power to heal the storyteller,” writes Bishop Curry. Consider your position on a social struggle such as racial reconciliation, care of creation, or GLBTQ+ rights. To borrow Charles Robinson’s question, What is the story of your life that’s brought you to that conclusion? Have you shared that story before? If not, what could be a safe context for exchange and healing?
10. Bishop Curry ends his book with encouragement. “So don’t give up on love. Listen to it. Trust it. Give into it. Obey it.” Are you at risk of giving up on love? Consider which of the above actions—listen, trust, give in, obey—you most need to grab ahold of today.
Bonus: After reading Love is the Way, what part of the book resonated with you most? What insight will you carry with you?