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1. The book deals with characters who are Catholic (Nora, the Sisters of Mercy), Anglican (Father Andrew, Joan, Philip the Gardener), Evangelical Protestant (David and Aaron Mosley, Pastor Wyn, and the members of The Compound), agnostic (Mark), and atheist (Sam, Nathan Dodge, and others). To what extent was each faith group accurately or inaccurately portrayed?
2. When General Sam Mosley pushed the button to destroy the underground lab, was he “playing God”? Do you think he may have killed anyone? Was his action justifiable?
3. Ahaz Pharmaceuticals paid David Mosley and his congregation a great deal of money to test an experimental vaccine. What was their motivation? Were their actions or motives ethical? Were they right to do this? Why or why not?
4. On the flip side, were the leaders of the Compound right to participate in this experiment? Do you think they knew all the risks and benefi ts? If so, do you think they fully (or should have) explained these to every member of the compound?
5. Do parents have the right to subject their children to medical experiments like this? If so, under what circumstances?
6. David Mosley and his congregants chose to commit suicide rather than face a certain and horrible death. They believed a peaceful, painless death was preferable to a horrible death. Was their thinking rational? Would the Bible offer any insight to them? Does the Bible give us any insight as to what we should consider when we face pain and suffering?
7. Do you believe groups such as the Return to Earth Society exist? Upon what would they base their beliefs? How do you feel about animal rights groups that seem to place more emphasis on animal rights than human rights?
8. When Mark Carlson’s daughter died, he became angry with God and abandoned his faith. Have you ever had an experience in which you became angry at God? Have you ever felt God didn’t make sense? Did this strengthen or weaken your faith? How?
9. The illness and death of their daughter put a terrific strain on Mark and Donna’s marriage, eventually leading to their divorce. Have you walked a similar path? If so, how did you deal with this?
10. Georgina was falsely accused of being a member of the Return to Earth Society? Have you ever been falsely accused of something? How did it make you feel? Have you ever accused someone of something they did not do? Did you apologize? Was it difficult? How did this affect your relationship with the other person?
12. General Sam Mosley realized a number of mistakes he had made as a father and grandfather. What were they? What do you think he would do differently? What could you do to become a better spouse and parent?
13. In the book, the Blue Monk seemed to reappear as a ghost. Do you believe in ghosts? Do you think the theological explanations given by Mark and Father Andrew are valid?
14. Aaron fl ed from a number of enemies, both imagined and real. Have you ever felt that you were surrounded by people who mean to hurt you? How did you respond? What gave you hope? What help did you fi nd in your time of need?
15. Margaret, the members of the mob that hunted the Blue Monk, and their descendents returned every year to the Silver Cathedral to honor the Blue Monk, his ministry, his legacy, and to pay homage and penance. Which of their activities would have Biblical support? Which would not? Were they right to keep this secret? Were they right to make the vow they made?
16. Margaret chose to forgive Joshua Parke for his roll in the death of her beloved brother. Could you have done the same? If Joshua had not asked for forgiveness, would Margaret have been right to withhold forgiveness? Why should she forgive him? What might have happened to her had she chosen not to forgive him?
17. Margaret adopted young Joshua Parke. Why do you think she did this? Why do Christians support and emphasize adoption and care of orphans? How did this change Joshua’s life? How do you think it might have changed Margaret?
18. Mark risked his life to bring the medication to Sam and Aaron. In what circumstances would you consider doing the same thing? For whom would you do this? Loved ones? Total strangers? Why?
19. How did Mark’s faith change as he was challenged by Nora and witnessed firsthand how faith works in the lives of others?
20. Have you encountered someone whose faith seemed so real that inspired or challenged you? Who was that person? What attributes did he or she exemplify to you? Do you demonstrate your faith in a way that speaks to others? If so, how?
Paul McCusker is the Peabody Award–winning writer and director of the audio drama Bonhoeffer: The Cost of Freedom and of the multiple award-winning audio dramatizations of The Chronicles of Narnia, Les Miserables, A Christmas Carol, Little Women, and his original series The Luke Reports (just nominated for the Audie Awards’ Best Audio Drama) and The Father Gilbert Mysteries (also nominated for the Audie Awards’ best production award).
He is also a writer and director for the long-running children’s program Adventures in Odyssey, writing not only over 250 audio episodes, but also scripting two of the animated video series and eighteen spin-off novels. For adults, McCusker has written the Gold Medallion–nominated Epiphany, The Mill House, and A Season of Shadows. His plays and musicals have been performed in community theatres across the country—one, A Time for Christmas, was a Dove Awardnominee. McCusker currently has over thirty books in print, including the TSI series he is co-authoring with Walt Larimore, MD. He lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Walt Larimore has been called one of America’s “best-known family physicians.” He was awarded the 2004 Christianity Today Book Award for coauthoring Going Public with Your Faith and has been a Gold Medallion Book Award finalist three times. The author of the popular Bryson City Tales series, he lives in Monument, Colorado.