Besides the Bible Book Club

Books — By on February 25, 2013 at 6:25 am

Welcome to our Besides the Bible Book Club “meeting.”  We’re excited to read Thin Blue Smoke together with you this February.  Join the conversation in the comments below.  Doug Worgul, the author himself, is moderating, so just hit reply and chime in.  We’ve also created  a PDF version of the discussion questions as a resource for you while reading Thin Blue Smoke: Thin Blue Smoke, Ferguson

Now here’s Doug: 


Thank you for reading Thin Blue Smoke. And thank you for inviting me to participate in your discussion of the book.

Here are some Ferguson questions for discussion:

  1. What do you think is the source of Ferguson’s deepest pain?
  2. What is it that Ferguson most longs for?
  3. What is Ferguson’s greatest gift?
  4. What role does Ferguson play in the lives of his friends?
  5. With what part of Ferguson’s life, if any, do you most identify?
  6. What does the future hold for Ferguson?


Next up, A.B.

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  • Ferguson with the furniture and trappings of religion. I identified with him because even though he had the language skills to usher others into God’s presence, he had difficulty experiencing God’s love and grace himself. As such, I wonder if he didn’t struggle for years feeling like a charlatan or a closet doubter.

    • Doug Worgul says:

      Doubter, more than charlatan.

      Ferguson believes even though he feels he lacks personal evidence of anything to believe in. Which, to me, is the ultimate expression of faith. Ferguson wants his experience of God to be more than it is. He wants to feel something. He wants something more than the intellectual exercise its been for most of his life (and which was good enough for his father and grandfather). And yet, even in the absence of this, he believes.

      Ferguson just recently read Peter Rollins’ THE IDOLATRY OF GOD, which he found quite liberating.

  • sara says:

    Ferguson was my favorite character because as Doug says, he “believes even though he feels he lacks personal evidence of anything to believe in.” I related to Ferguson in that sense. He seemed to be living the “help me in my unbelief” prayer, and, yet, he kept at it for all of those years.

    • Doug Worgul says:

      Thank you, Sara. Spiritually, and in a few other aspects, Ferguson is most like me.

      I was raised Baptist, and grew up listening to folks give their “testimonies” about their direct encounters with God and their close personal relationships with Jesus, and I always felt left out. I never felt God’s presence. Never have. And I no longer expect or hope to.

      I’m an Episcopalian now. And I find deep meaning and satisfaction in the beauty and mystery of the Episcopalian liturgy. It helps me. It strengthens my faith, in the face of God’s silence.

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