Monday, September 14, 2009

Masha Hamilton and Time to Go

I mentioned yesterday that I read Masha Hamilton's new book, 31 Hours. Tonight she came to speak at the bookstore. She was classy, brilliant, and had chosen passages from the book that were spot-on for us, the Religion and Ethics group.

The event was poorly attended. There were maybe ten people there. Discouraging to put together a program and have few people there to enjoy it.

This discussion group has been meeting for many years - more than ten. Attendance can range from three people to forty people. As the discussion leader, I choose the materials or speaker, read up and prepare the discussion questions, send out a reminder email, and show up to lead. And try not to take poor attendance personally.

The first time I led a book group at my church, I had visions of seventy-five people showing up. From the neighborhood, bookstore customers, church members. The group ended up being around ten people. After a few great discussions, I decided to let go of expectations of large numbers of people being important. But I want actively interested people who have read the material to come. Tonight, two people had read the book and I was the only one who asked a question. How disappointing that must have been for Masha. I know I felt embarrassed at the lack of involvement by the audience.

When do we decide that something has run its course? It is the longest-running discussion group at the store. But to tell you the truth, I'm tired of doing it. And that's how I know it's time for me to take a break.

Later this week, I'll be talking about a couple of things that Masha has set in place that could use some support. Stay tuned.

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