This is the most recent Renovaré Book Club selection. My biggest problem with book clubs is staying on the schedule. I generally read too fast or too slow to stay with the group. The Great Divorce is a fairly short book and it is being split into five weeks. I stayed with the schedule for the first two weeks, but by the time I got to the end of the reading this past week, I did not want to stop and just finished the rest of the book.
What is helpful in the Renovare book club is that they get an author or a subject area expert to help readers get the most out of the book. This time it is Junius Johnson. The director of education for Renovare always hosts the club and hosts the weekly podcast as the interviewer.
I last read The Great Divorce about six years ago and I have read it enough and recently enough that I know the rough story well. However, the strength of the book is the people that the CS Lewis character meets along the way. Generally these are all people who are rejecting heaven for one reason or another. These are not murderers and thieves; these are cynics, conspiracy theorists, the vain, or those who want to control others.
Part of the lens through which I was reading was discernment. The Lewis character is trying to understand what is going on. And George MacDonald, one of Lewis’ heroes, is playing the role of guide. As the Lewis character interacts with various people, he talks to them or overhears their concerns. Having overlapped the Great Divorce with a discussion of Ignatius’ Rules of Discernment, you could see the evidence of a number of the rules in action. I am not sure if Lewis wrote about the rules anywhere, but if he didn’t know them, the principles of the rules were still shown.
Obviously, this is speculative fiction, but it is helpful to work through ideas.