Feb. 4, By Christian Murray
The fourth season of a local book club has kicked off for the year with its members reading works that deal with religion and philosophy.
The club is run by Jon Storck, the pastor of Grace Fellowship Church in Sunnyside, and attracts anywhere from 3 to 15 participants each week. Its members meet each Wednesday at 6:30pm at Molly Blooms, a popular pub located at 43-13 Queens Blvd.
The books selected typically challenge Christian beliefs or endorse them. The same is true for those who subscribe to atheism.
Stork said that half the members of the club are Christians with the other half atheists.
“I want people to come whether they are religious or not,” Storck said. He said his ultimate goal is to bring people together who have a range of beliefs.
He said that he wants all the members to be able to discuss their views—yet be tolerant of differing opinions. He said that too many people with conflicting viewpoints are intolerant of one another.
“It’s about people willing to sit down and have a stimulation conversation without condemning each other,” he said.
Storck said that Christianity often gets a bad rap. He said that it is not all about condemnation and judgment. For him, his belief is based on the central components of the bible, as opposed to many of the social issues that are often debated.
Storck said at times the conversation can heat up but in those cases they will stop and play a game of poker—or have a beer– just to lighten up the mood.
Storck said that the book club is not about converting people to Christianity. He said that is in” God’s hands.
However, most of the books that the club has selected over the years do deal with God either directly or indirectly.
The club has read some of the following:
Mere Christianity, by CS Lewis. This book is a collection of speeches Lewis made during World War 2 where he defends the Christian faith from the viewpoint of morality, which persuaded him from atheism to Christianity.
The Reason for God, by Tim Keller. This focuses on the universal belief that society has moral lines that cannot be crossed—such as stealing or killing another person. He explores where these moral beliefs come from and makes the case that is for God.
God Is Not Great, by Christopher Hitchens. His central argument is that man created God as opposed to God creating man. He also argues that the concept of God is actually bad for society.
The group is about to read A Good Man is Hard to Find, by Flannery O’Conner. This is a short story that deals with tough characters and asks questions whether there is evil in the world. It is set in the mid 1900 and has very subtle hints at the possibility of grace and redemption.
Time: 6:30 pm
Location: Molly Blooms, 43-13 Queens Blvd.
Anyone can join the group