Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Yada Yada Prayer Group Gets Down by Neta Jackson, Discussion Questions

1. The theme of the Yada Yada Prayer Group (Yada Yada #1) was grace–discovering what it means to be “just a sinner...saved by grace.” What do you think is the main theme of The Yada Yada Prayer Group Gets Down? Why?

I think the main theme is forgiveness. Both giving forgiveness and receiving forgiveness.

2. With whom did you empathize more in the incident at Adele’s beauty shop: MaDear or Denny? Why?

I empathize more with MaDear, actually. I’ve been around older people with dementia, Alzheimers, etc. and could feel how real the situation was to MaDear. To me, Denny should have realized that it was nothing personal and was about MaDear, not him.

3. The Yada Yada prayer group was traumatized by a crime. Have you or someone close to you ever been the victim of a crime? If so, how do you feel toward the perpetrator? If you had a chance for a face-to-face meeting, what do you think would happen? What would you want to happen?

I can’t think of anytime that an actual crime was committed against me. But someone did break into our church and steal the sound equipment and some instruments. One of which was my brother’s guitar that had been handed down to him from my grandfather. This was a couple years ago, but at that time it would have been very hard not to rip into the person. Although, the ideal reaction would have been to try to be understanding and look at the reasons behind the theft. But come, on. Stealing out of a church?

4. How did Yada Yada’s decision to visit Becky Wallace in prison affect the different sisters in the prayer group? How did it impact Becky Wallace?

The decision impacted the sisters in different ways. Some were very adamant that they should definitely pray for Beck and visit her. Others in the group thought it was crazy. Others didn’t say much at all. Becky Wallace was shocked that anyone from the group would want to visit her after what she had done. Still, she put them on the visitors list and was very grateful for the sisters that came to visit.

5. If you were the mother of Jamal Wilkins–the boy who Jodi Baxter killed in her car accident in Yada Yada #1–how would you feel to discover her relationship to your other child? How does this discovery affect (1) Jodi? (2) the mother? (3) the child?

Oh, boy. This is a hard one. I believe I would have reacted the same way as the mother in the story did. I would “flip out”. How does it affect: (1) Jodi: She is devastated. She can’t forgive herself for what happened but wants to be able to help Jamal with his learning disabilities. (2) the mother: She wants Jamal kept as far away from Jodi as possible.(3) the child? He is the most forgiving of all. He sees Jodi for the person she is who loves him and wants to help him learn. He is heartbroken that he was moved from Jodi’s class.

6. Jamal’s mother can’t forgive Jodi, even though Jodi asked for forgiveness at the end of Yada Yada #1. How does this affect Jodi? If the person she has wronged won’t forgive, how can she ever be free of the guilt? However, if Jamal’s mother does choose to forgive Jodi, what would that forgiveness look like?
Jodi can’t move past the guilt and unforgiveness she has for herself because she doesn’t have closure. If Jamal’s mother won’t forgive Jodi, the only way she can be free of the guilt is through God and Christ’s forgiveness. If Jamal’s mother does forgive Jodi, it would help Jodi and the mother to able to move forward with their lives and not carry all that burden around with them.

7. What prompted Denny’s response to MaDear in the final chapter? Why do you think his response was so healing? What questions does his encounter with MaDear raise for you about “repenting for the sins of others”?

Jodi and Denny visited Ruth’s Messianic Jewish church for Rosh Hashanah services. They learned about the Ten Days of Awe, were they not only confess their own sins, but they intercede on behalf of all their fellow Christians as well. Denny felt compelled to apologize to MaDear for what the man she mistook him for had done to her and to her family.

I think it was healing because it helped both Denny and MaDear move past what had happened; to MaDear as a child and to Denny when MaDear mistook him for someone from her past.

The concept of repenting for other sins raises a lot of questions for me. As Jodi says in the book, we are each responsible for our own sins. I think we do, however, have a responsibility to help others move toward forgiveness and bear one another’s burdens.

8. Examine your own attitudes that may hinder fellowship with other groups of Christians. What is the most difficult or challenging area for you? What would it mean to repent of this attitude?

My attitude of timidity probably hinders my fellowship with other groups of Christians. I’ve always been shy. Painfully so when I was young. I always hid behind my older brother. Breaking free from my fear has been very challenging and is something I work on all the time.

9. How might we “repent of” or “take responsibility for” past sins of our nation or people group? No matter what your race or ethnicity, what could you do to help bring about racial healing amount God’s people? How can we help each other?

I think we should all do our best to overcome stereotypes and misconceptions that arise from stereotypes. We should see each other as so important that Christ died on the Cross so that we might be forgiven of our sins. We can help each other by looking the heart and not the outward appearance just as God sees us.

10. Are there relationships in your own life–of any nature–that need healing through repentance or forgiveness? Whether you have “sinned” or “been sinned against,” do you have the courage to take the first steps?

I think everyone has sticky relationships. Especially within families and church families. We all have different opinions and see things from different perspectives. I usually try to see the situation from the other person viewpoint. Sometime it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. If it doesn’t work, I find that after time, the edge of the hurt wears off and it is easier to work on forgiving.

I enjoyed this book. It is part of the Yada Yada Prayer Group series and would have been hard to follow if I hadn’t read the first book of the series.

I am part of a group at our church that meets weekly for encouragement, support, prayer and Bible study before church services start. My friend, who is also reading this series, says that we are her Yada Yada group. I call it therapy. I encourage everyone to find a group of Christian women to call your Yada Yada.

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