Our read this gathering is A VOICE IN THE WIND by Francine Rivers
I enjoyed reading this book for its historical references. In a general way it reminded me of one of our favorite reads, THE RED TENT by Anita Diamant ( which by the way is to be a lifetime movie in December, starring Minnie Driver, check out the trailer) The book is in its 20th anniversary edition and is the first in a trilogy, the Mark of the Lion series. Here are discussion questions for the book from the author’s website:
1. In the opening chapter, Hadassah’s father disappears while preaching to the crowds in Jerusalem. Why do the authorities consider him a threat?
2. Why are the Romans so hostile toward the Jews? Why is it even more dangerous to be a Christian in that culture?
3. Why do you think Hadassah’s life is spared by the soldiers? In your opinion, which would have been the preferable fate: to be killed quickly, or to be taken to Rome and sold into slavery? Why?
4. As the sole survivor of her family, and throughout her story of hardship, how is Hadassah able to continually give thanks to God? How can she remain so sure that God has not abandoned her? How do you think you might have reacted if you were in her sandals?
5. Why does Enoch purchase Hadassah as a slave for the Valerian household? Have you ever responded to “a still, small voice” by doing something you might not otherwise have done?
6. Patrobus calls the Christians “cowardly” for dying in the arena without defending themselves (page 54). Do you agree that not fighting back is a sign of cowardice? Why or why not?
7. On the ship bound for Rome, Hadassah befriends a woman, but the woman rejects her friendship. What does the woman find repulsive about Hadassah? Have you ever felt rejected because of your faith?
8. Decimus and Marcus disagree about many things, including politics and Marcus’s live-for-today lifestyle. What are some issues that spark arguments between parents and grown children today?
9. Hadassah tells Marcus, “We all serve something or someone, my lord” (page 124). Who or what does Marcus serve?
10. In Hadassah’s view, the Valerian family “had so much and yet so little” (page 142). Can you see ways in which wealth and comfort could be a curse? Have you ever tried to share the gospel with someone who thought he or she had no need of Jesus?
11. Discuss Julia and her three husbands: Claudius, Caius, and Primus. Who do you think was the best husband for her, and why? Would Julia agree with your choice? How do you think each of the men would rate Julia as a wife?
12. What is the true basis of Claudius’s attraction to Hadassah? Compare Julia’s personal qualities to those of Hadassah. Who would make a better partner for a lifetime? Why?
13. Compare Roman marriage customs to marriage customs today. Do you think it’s a good idea for parents to be involved in their child’s choice of a mate? Why or why not?
14. Discuss the character of Calabah. How does she draw Julia into her destructive web? Why do you think Calabah exerts a stronger influence over Julia’s beliefs and behavior than Hadassah does?
15. Are any of Calabah’s beliefs and attitudes alive and well in our culture today? Which ones? How do modern-day Calabahs affect the choices of women and girls?
16. What personal qualities does Atretes have that set him apart from the other slaves and gladiators-in-training?
17. At the height of his popularity as a gladiator, Atretes is treated like a Roman-era rock star, handled by managers and followed everywhere by clamoring fans. Explain how fame and public adulation can be a form of prison.
18. Atretes’ worship at the Roman temple and his relationship with Julia both leave him feeling empty and dissatisfied. Have you ever experienced something that the world promised would bring satisfaction or joy, and it left you feeling hollow? Where does true satisfaction come from?
19. How do you think Hadassah feels when she meets Trophimus and starts meeting in secret with other Christians? What risks does she take in joining them? There are areas of the world today where Christians are punished for practicing their faith. Pray for all persecuted Christians.
20. What is the difference between obedience and service? Which word better describes the attitude Hadassah displays in her life as a slave to the Valerians? Give some examples.
21. How is it possible for Hadassah to continue to show love to people who treat her with contempt and cruelty? Discuss the effect her attitude has on the various members of the household: Decimus, Phoebe, Marcus, Julia, the other slaves. Have you ever been able to love a difficult person in spite of his or her attitude toward you?
22. Discuss Marcus’s and Hadassah’s attraction for each other. What is the initial impediment to their relationship? When Hadassah is offered her freedom, what remains an obstacle? Explain the difference between Marcus’s and Hadassah’s views of love.
23. How does Hadassah stay true to her faith right up until the end?
24. Did you enjoy reading A Voice in the Wind? What part of the story had the greatest impact on you? Why?
Be sure to read Echo in the Darkness, where the fascinating story continues.