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Introducing the “Author Meets Critics” Sessions

September 14th, 2011 | 3 min read

By Matthew Lee Anderson

In the introduction to Earthen Vessels, I wrote that my hope was that the book would generate conversation within our quirky movement about our physical bodies and the role they play in God’s redemptive purposes in our lives and the world.

I haven’t given up on that hope.  In fact, I’m doubling down.

Since the book was released, I have realized two things:

1)   The book is best read in a small group setting.  

I’ll admit it:  it’s more dense fare than I had hoped and probably more challenging than most people expected.  But that and some reasonably controversial subject matter make it a perfect text to kick around over coffee with seven of your closest friends.

2)   I really, really like talking with people about the body and theology.  Really.

Which brings me to this:

Introducing the “Author meets Critics” Sessions

Here’s how it works: if you gather together a small group of at least eight people who all buy and read Earthen Vessels, I will have a one-hour discussion with your group about the book and the questions it raises for you all. 

I would love to do a one-on-one conversation with everyone, but my wife might kill me.  And that would undermine the benefits of reading the book and discussing it with others.  Which is really what I hope happens.

Here’s the bullet point version:

    • At least 8 people
    • Everyone buys and reads the book (honor system–I’m not going to ask)
    • Preferably your group will meet a few times beforehand to discuss the book, but again, I’m not going to ask.
    • Up to one hour of Q&A and discussion about the book, to be scheduled for some time between now and the end of 2012.
    • I will use Skype video chat, which means that all 8 participants need not be in the same location.  We can do a group chat or Google+ hangout.  Doesn’t matter to me.
    • Opportunity limited to the first 52 groups, one for each week of a year, so sign your group up now.

This is probably the most exciting thing I’ve ever done through Mere-O.  And frankly, it’s was to create these sorts of interactions with readers that I wrote the book in the first place.

But I still need your help.

Will you take a minute and email the friends you have in mind about this?  And will you spread the word on Facebook and Twitter?

Will you spend four minutes deliberating about who in your life might enjoy a book like Earthen Vessels, and whose experience of it might be enhanced by a discussion around it?

And would you consider signing a group up?

I can’t thank you enough for your support, kindness, and encouragement during this process.  I am thrilled to try to give back a fraction of that through this project.


Matthew Lee Anderson

Matthew Lee Anderson is an Associate Professor of Ethics and Theology in Baylor University's Honors College. He has a D.Phil. in Christian Ethics from Oxford University, and is a Perpetual Member of Biola University's Torrey Honors College. In 2005, he founded Mere Orthodoxy.