On this episode of Group Answers, Brian and Chris talk to bestselling author and literature professor, Karen Swallow Prior.
Karen Swallow Prior, Ph. D., is Research Professor of English and Christianity and Culture at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. She is the author of Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me (T. S. Poetry Press, 2012), Fierce Convictions: The Extraordinary Life of Hannah More—Poet, Reformer, Abolitionist (Thomas Nelson, 2014), and On Reading Well: Finding the Good Life through Great Literature (Brazos 2018). She is co-editor of Cultural Engagement: A Crash Course in Contemporary Issues (Zondervan 2019) and has contributed to numerous other books. Her writing has appeared at Christianity Today, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, First Things, Vox, Relevant, Think Christian, The Gospel Coalition, Religion News Service, Books and Culture and other places. She is a founding member of The Pelican Project, a Senior Fellow at the Trinity Forum, a Senior Fellow at the International Alliance for Christian Education, and a member of the Faith Advisory Council of the Humane Society of the United States. She and her husband live on a 100-year old homestead in central Virginia with sundry horses, dogs, and chickens. And lots of books.
1. Dr. Prior, as a first order here, tell us about the books that just released (as well as Sense and Sensibility and Heart of Darkness and On Reading Well: Finding the Good Life through Great Book), how you came up with the concept, and a little about the process of developing the manuscript?
2. What role does your faith have in the way you view these classical works?
3. I’m sure you’ve been in and out of Bible studies for most of your Christian life. Based on that experience, what elements comprise a great group Bible study for you?
4. Your books are guides to reading and reflecting. As an entree to our conversation it might be helpful for us to get an understanding of what you mean by “reflecting”, particularly as it might relate to personal discipleship, spiritual growth, and prayer.
5. Your reading and reflecting guides emerged from your own experiences in [reading groups or book clubs]. I’d like for our audience to hear more about how these conversations might fit into a larger discipleship ministry and how secular literature might be an entry point for non-believers and an effective tool for the churched as well. Can you tell us what you’ve learned over the last few years in this regard.
6. If someone were to begin a reading club with the goal of greater discipleship in mind, what advice would you give them? Are there 5 values that you would be sure to stress?
7. Where can listeners pick up a copy of your guides, and where can they find you online?