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This reading group guide forBe U by Mary Mary includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.
Sisters Erica and Tina Campbell of the hit gospel duo Mary Mary team up for this inspirational book that encourages young women to be the “you” God envisions them to be. Be U is divided into five sections: Be Honest, Be Beautiful, Be Intentional, Be Strong, and Be You. Inspired by the songs they write and by scripture passages, Erica and Tina take turns writing twenty-one messages that are full of honesty, integrity, joy, and gratitude.
1) Part One talks about honesty and teaches us about letting go of our “regrettable yesterdays” (p.5). Share with the group some of your own “regrettable yesterdays.” What did these experiences teach you? Did these experiences deepen your faith in God? How so?
2) Describe a time when you felt closest to God. Could you feel His presence? Try to capture the moment for the group. Did anyone in your life help you to ‘see’ God?
3) Define what it means to be a Christian. Who is an example of a strong Christian in your life?
4) Forgiveness is a central topic in Be U. What makes forgiving others so difficult? What makes forgiving ourselves sometimes even more difficult? How do we know when God forgives us?
5) “But faith, in God’s timing, always brings forth fruit” (p.16). What do you think Tina is saying? How is she able to put her faith in God that everything will work out? How can you do the same?
6) Tina says, “Beauty can bloom from unwanted or unplanned trials” (p. 57). What does ‘beauty’ mean to Tina and Erica? Does their definition differ from the way our culture perceives beauty? How so? What does being beautiful mean to you? To your community?
7) Do you relate better to Tina’s story, Erica’s, or both? What makes the two different from one another? What do they have in common?
8) Scripture is quoted throughout Be U, and it is this scripture that inspires Tina and Erica to write from their heart. On page 38, the following quote from the Book of Romans is quoted to help frame Part 2: Be Beautiful:
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. - Romans 5:8
Read the quote aloud to your group. After a few moments of quiet reflection, discuss how the quote speaks to you. Why do you think the authors selected this passage for Part 2? What do you think it has to do with beauty? With honesty? With intention? With being you?
9) Erica says she doesn’t just sing the words “I Trust You”—she lives them (p. 23). How do you put your faith into action? How do you trust the people in your life? How do you trust God?
10) “No gift is too small to appreciate” (p.62). Tina is thankful for the air God gives us. What are other simple gifts from God that you are thankful for? If these gifts—like air—are easy to take for granted, how can we remind ourselves to be grateful for them every day?
11) Erica says, “we’re meant to have a bigger impact on the world than the world has on us” (p. 31). What do you think Erica means by this statement?
12) Is it easier to trust God or to trust other people? How so?
13) Another important message of Be U is Tina’s reminder that “To whom much is given, much is required” (p.93). How do you share your gifts with others?
14) Erica talks about the “God Factor”: “When you spend time with Him, you come to know Him better. And when you come to know Him better, you trust him more” (p.40). How do you, your family, friends, and church use the “God Factor”?
15) What did you take away from this book? Discuss favorite passages, quotes, and themes. What will you do to become “you” today?
Additional Activities: Ways of Enhancing Your Book Club
1) Chapter 15 discusses helping others, an important way to live the Christian identity. Have your group get involved with a charity organization in your community. After serving together, discuss how the work impacted you. Share stories and insights. Did helping as a group change your relationships with each other?
2) Mary Mary has sold millions of records across the country. Their message is powerful and is reaching many young women across the globe. Listen to the album “The Sound” by Mary Mary (2008) with your group. How does the music make you feel? What is different about the music compared to the book? What is similar? Try singing together as a group. What is the experience of group praise as opposed to individual prayer?
3) Beauty is a controversial topic, and one that Erica and Tina aren’t afraid to tackle. Consider the definition of beauty in Be U. Then sit in a circle and have each member of your group say one thing about every other member that makes him or her beautiful. Or, write letters to each other, explaining why each person is beautiful, unique, and a special member of the group.
4) Tina and Erica share with us the blessings in their lives. Talk about your blessings and how you came to be a Christian. Tell stories and share pictures, keepsakes, memories, and music. Where have you gone on your journey toward “being you” and where are you going?
Growing up in sisters in a large family in Inglewood, California, Erica and Tina Campbell first sang publicly in the local church choir and received their first break in 1998 with a song on the Prince of Egypt soundtrack. Now, they are three-time Grammy winners--their most recent being their 2009 win was for Best Gospel Performance for their hit single, "Get Up." They are also Dove, Stellar, MOBO, and American Music Awardwinners. Their group name was inspired by the two Marys in the Bible--Mary, the mother of Jesus, and Mary Magdalene, a "loose" woman. Mary Mary wants their duo name to communicat that God's love is extended to all. This R&B, urban gospel duo performs for audiences of thousands across the country.