Welcome to studying Grounded!
Think of this page as a conversation menu, like the board at your local coffeehouse. You might want a traditional study guide or you may want to create something suited to your own taste. Whether you are looking for materials to design a book group, an adult forum, a class, a retreat, or conference materials, you will find great options here.
Here’s how it works:
Under STUDY GUIDES, you will find the HarperCollins Small Group Guide with questions for each chapter of Grounded. You will also find a 4-session guide—which I wrote to go with Grounded—designed to be used weekly or at a retreat. These guides are for either individuals or groups. Just download the guide you want, grab a cup of coffee, a book, sit with your friends, and talk about what grounds you. There is also a 5-session discussion guide from First Churches, Northampton, Massachusetts.
But you may not want to follow a guide—you may want to create your own experience.
And that’s the deeper purpose of this page.
PRINT AND ONLINE directs you to news stories and interviews about Grounded. The journalists asked great questions—some of which might echo your own. Feel free to use their questions along with my answers as you engage the book. Each interview raises distinctive concerns about the book, often pushing into edgy or surprising territory. Some of these are very short pieces, others longer.
AUDIO includes radio shows and podcasts, most 30 to 60 minutes long. You can listen to them as a whole, or play back individual sections that may be of particular interest to your group. And, of course, you needn’t use only one—you might draw a conversation starter from a particular piece one week, and use a different broadcast the next.
VIDEO shares interviews, lectures, and sermons related to Grounded. These can be shown in adult education classes, book groups, or at conferences. You can show the entire video or use individual segments that best suit your needs. Audio and video resources are like having an author visit your group—I urge you to consider using some selections from them over the course of your experience.
Structure the group in whatever way is best for you. You may use Grounded as a monthly book and meet only once to discuss it—or maybe twice! You might want to do a four- eight-week study, especially suited to an adult education class on a Sunday morning or a weeknight evening. You can follow the study guide. Or you can use guiding questions and show a video or listen to an audio clip and talk about Grounded.
Mix up adult education classes and small group experiences—for example, showing a video on Sunday morning and discussing the ideas, inviting people to either read Grounded on their own or join a group. Individuals and groups can use the study guides or invent their own path to engage the book. You may want to hold a one-day retreat (especially good for Lent) on the theme of “What Grounds You?” by using the book, audio, and video. Create a conversation across your organization, community, or congregation—and invite people to enter in a variety of ways—either for just a taste or an in-depth transformative experience.
Begin your gathering with poetry (read something by Mary Oliver, Wendell Berry, or David Whyte) and light a candle and place it in your midst (to remind you that the Spirit is present). If you choose to pray (which I recommend), my favorite “earthy” prayer resources are Earth Gospel by Sam Hamilton-Poore and the Celtic prayer books written by John Phillip Newell. And, as for me, I can’t read or talk about a book without a cup of tea or coffee or a glass of wine in hand.
Share your group experience online! Take a picture, ask a question, let others know you had a great time by posting on Facebook or Twitter. If you tag me on Facebook, or post using my @dianabutlerbass and the #GROUNDED hashtag on Twitter, I will do my best to respond to your group. If you write your own study guide or create a new resource, and want to share it with others, email me and I may post it here.
Come back and visit again. As more resources become available, I will post them here. The Grounded conversation is just starting. Thank you for being part of it! I hope you experience that God is with us—all of us. Everywhere.
I’m honored that the wonderful Carolyn Winfrey Gillette was inspired by Grounded to write a new hymn, “God, We Wonder Where to Find You.” I encourage you to sing it in your church. Learn more.
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HarperCollins Small Group Guide: Reading and Discussion Guide for Grounded. A traditional study guide focusing on each chapter in the book—www.smallgroupguides.com
Diana Butler Bass: A Simple Guide to Grounded in Four Sessions. A template for engaging with Grounded over four sessions, whether weekly or at a retreat or conference.
First Churches, Northampton: Discussion Guide for Grounded. A 5-week study plan developed by Rev. Todd Weir for use at First Churches UCC/ABC in Northampton, Massachusetts.
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PRINT AND ONLINE RESOURCES
“Where Is God?” The central question of Grounded is “Where is God?” This short Huffington Post original piece introduces that question in relation to challenges in the world around us.—Huffington Post Religion
Below are several interviews and stories from a variety of websites, journals, and news organizations, each emphasizing different concerns of spirituality, theology, culture, sociology, or church. The journalists’ questions may be used as discussion questions – or they may mirror questions your group has. Many of my comments and answers clarify issues from Grounded, often in personal or unexpected ways.
Diana Butler Bass on Grounded: Finding God in the World, by David Crumm, is a featured story on Read the Spirit that combines and interview with a review of Grounded.—readthespirit.com
“Finding God in the World: An Interview with Diana Butler Bass,” by Deborah Arca, focuses on a “spiritual revolution” of finding God with us in the world and its meaning for theology and the church.—Patheos.com
“Diana Butler Bass on Why Conventional Religion is Fading Into History,” by Kathleen Samuelson, is a brief discussion of the decline of religious institutions and the turn toward seeing the world as “sacred ecology.”—Publishers Weekly
“Diana Butler Bass grounds herself in nature and finds God,” a news story about Grounded by Jennifer Preyss with insights from Scott Thumma and Brian McLaren—Washington Post
“The spiritual revolution taking place away from church pews.” Kelsey Dallas’s interview is smart discussion (the journalist is a Yale Divinity School graduate) of the shift from “religion” to “spirituality” including provocative ideas that we now construct our own “spiritual playlists,” the practice of mysticism, and the nature of awe.—Deseret News
“The New Spirituality: Horizontal, Incarnate, Communal. An Interview with ‘Grounded’ Author Diana Butler Bass,” by Catherine Woodiwiss, is a discussion of bridge building, the need for spiritual wisdom, and the turn toward table and garden as the primary metaphors for faith community.—Sojourners
“Knee Deep in Renewal,” by Carol Howard Merritt, reflects on church renewal and church planting—literally—in relationship to Grounded.—Christian Century
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AUDIO: RADIO AND PODCASTS
“Grounded with Diana Butler Bass”—The Robcast, with Rob Bell.
“The Power of Today”—Day1.org
“Diana Butler Bass!”—Pulpit Fiction Podcast
“Diana Butler Bass”—In the Square Podcast
“Diana Butler Bass: Grounded”—Newsworthy with Norsworthy Podcast
“We’ve Been Talking About God All Wrong: All Together Podcast With Diana Butler Bass.” Paul Raushenbush Talks with Diana Butler Bass—Huffington Post All Together Podcast
“Diana Butler Bass and the Emerging Spiritual Revolution”—Marginalia: A Los Angeles Review of Books Channel
“Interview with Diana Butler Bass”—Life After God Podcast
“Faith and Spirituality”—State of Belief
“Diana Butler Bass, Grounded”—Religion for Life
Diana Butler Bass at Aldersgate Church, Alexandria, Virginia. Four sermons over one weekend, in conversation with pastors at the church. Each is quite different; listen to them all! Aldersgate.net
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VIDEO: TV, LECTURES AND SERMONS
“Faith Outside the Box,” Just Faith with Jacqui Lewis—Shift/MSNBC
“A Revolution of Spirituality & Religion”—HUFFPOST Live
Short Segments from HUFFPOST Live:
“Diana Butler Bass in Conversation with the Rev. Dr. Gwynne Guibord”
—Guibord Center-Religion Inside Out
“Spiritual Revolutionary”—All Saints Pasadena
Forum, January 10, 2016—Washington National Cathedral
Sermon on the spiritual power of water, preached on January 10, 2015 (Epiphany 1)
—Washington National Cathedral
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Fresh Water Trust Podcast