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Book Club

Enjoy reading books and discussing them with other women? Join NEWIM's Online Book Club. We read a book every 2-3 months, and then use video conferencing (ZOOM) to discuss the book online. You can join in via telephone, computer, smart phone, ipad from just about anywhere in the world. And if there are others in your area, you might choose to get together in-person to discuss the book. Join us!

NEWIM's Next Online Book discussion

Use this link to join the online, video conversation.

Shades of Light, by Sharon Garlough Brown

Sunday, October 6, 2019 from 4-5:30 p.M. (PST)

We’ll be discussing Sharon Garlough Brown’s new book, Shades of Light. In this book she explores the topics of mental health and spiritual formation. She’ll be joining us from 4:30 - 5:30 p.m. when we’ll have the opportunity to ask her our questions about the book, and also about her writing process.

About the Author

Sharon Garlough Brown is a spiritual director, speaker, and cofounder of Abiding Way Ministries, providing spiritual formation retreats and resources. She is the author of the bestselling Sensible Shoes Series, which includes spiritual fiction novels Sensible ShoesTwo Steps ForwardBarefootAn Extra Mile, and their study guides. An Extra Mile won Christianity Today’s 2019 Book of the Year award for fiction.

A graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary, Sharon has served on the pastoral staff of congregations in Scotland, Oklahoma, England, and most recently in West Michigan, where she copastored with her husband, Jack, for many years. In March 2013 her book Sensible Shoes was named one of television personality Kathie Lee Gifford's "favorite things."

Short Introduction to Shades of Light and its Study Guide


Companion Book to Read:

Learning from Henri Nouwen and Vincent van Gough: A Portrait of the Compassionate Life

Carol Berry and her husband met and befriended Henri Nouwen when she sat in his course on compassion at Yale Divinity School in the 1970s. At the request of Henri Nouwen's literary estate, she has written this book, which includes unpublished material recorded from Nouwen's lectures. Berry has been studying Vincent van Gogh since 1979, and spent years under the instruction of Henri J.M. Nouwen. She has traveled throughout Europe retracing van Gogh's life, visiting the towns and villages in The Netherlands, Belgium, and France, where van Gogh lived and worked. She has an MA in art education from California State University. 

About the Author

Carol A. Berry is an artist, art educator, and lecturer at the Vermont Humanities Council, and the author of Vincent Van Gogh: His Spiritual Vision in Life and Art in the Modern Spiritual Masters series.

Previous Books

CLICK to go to AMAZON. Also available in your local library.

CLICK to go to AMAZON. Also available in your local library.

Online Book Discussion

Email for more information about how to join

the online conversation from wherever you are in the world.


Sensible Shoes

What Women Said about the Club and the Book

Barefoot is my favorite book in the series, so far. I was moved to tears and engaged from cover to cover, surprised by the unfolding of events and how deeply it touched me. I am coming to really like these women and their non-cliche approach to walking with God. I feel that I understand them. I appreciated the reminder to treasure every minute. Life is fragile. I love the way the characters demonstrate grace in response to others who have failed them and how they choose to seek forgiveness...I'm learning from them and catching a glimpse of the joy that comes when we truly surrender to the Lord. I also love seeing how these women integrate Christian spiritual practices into their lives.

-Luann Budd, Northern California

 "First of all, I doubt I would have heard of this book without being involved with NEWIM.  I am so thankful that they have organized this book club as I love reading. This first book was amazing - for me personally but also it offers some spiritual disciplines that I will use in mentoring women here in Indonesia. The book club discussion really helped me see even more insights as other ladies shared their response to certain characters and situations. I have read the book twice as a result and I do not want to give away (I may need to buy multiple copies so I can though!) as it will be something I will refer to again and again. What a reminder that we are all on this life journey of faith together and we are better together! This book club is a way to keep us connected in more ways throughout the year for growth, encouragement, and edification."

-Cathleen, Missionary in Indonesia

"Thank you for putting the book club together! I really enjoyed it. It was nice to be able to see and hear peoples impression of the book and the characters in the story.

I found “Sensible Shoesvery thought provoking. It made me want to get to know the women more, to relate to them and to sympathize  with what they were experiencing. It brought forward all sorts of emotions. It was interesting to see how we all related to different women in the story and to the different spiritual exercises…some which were a first for me! I loved the idea of walking a labyrinth and hope you can incorporate that into one of the Springs retreats."

-Sheila, Southern California

The Rock, the Road and the Rabbi by Kathie Lee Gifford

What Women Said about the Book

As I read The Rock, the Road, and the Rabbi, Kathie’s writing style feels inauthentic to me which undermines her credibility. I don’t agree with some of the information given and that disappoints me because I had hoped to find a resource I could use to introduce people to the Holy Land. I doubt I will use this one.

I really value that Kathie tells the world of her love for Jesus and for the Bible. She also tells her husband’s experience: “What Frank didn’t realize until our trip to Israel is that he had a religion all his life, but he never had a relationship with the living God.” (pg. 8) I really commend Kathie for her boldness in sharing their testimonies.

I am troubled by Kathie’s emphasis on the “secret” things, “deeper” truths, and “what the Bible really says.” I think her statements unintentionally undermine the credibility of Scripture. I think the Bible can be understood as we read it in English, and if we have questions we can use one of the standard Bible commentaries (available on to find answers. We don’t need to go on a Holy Land tour with a Rabbi to understand the Bible. I disagree with the importance given to numerology and don’t find those “insights” valid. The idea that Jesus transferred His DNA via His saliva when healing the blind man (pg 100) seems wrong to me. That said, I do value the short descriptions and explanations of the geography of Old and New Testament sites. Her information about the Baals (pg 26), Herod’s atrocities (pg. 30), and Jewish wedding traditions (pg. 125) are interesting.

Overall, I’m glad I read the book. I was pleased to learn during the book discussion that the objections I had to Kathie’s writing style were not apparent in the audio version. I think that there is value in learning about the various historical sites in Israel and it’s fun to see the pictures. I advise people to check the validity of what Kathie presents as “the deeper truths from the Rabbi” and perhaps take them with a grain of salt.

Luann Budd

As Luann, Kim and I chatted, I think we came to many common conclusions. We enjoyed many aspects of Kathie Lee Gifford’s book but there were other things we felt caused us to be a little wary. 

I personally didn’t appreciate the over enthusiasm with comments similar to, “Oh this was the greatest thing in my life” and “My life would never be the same again.” I know she is a very effusive personality so I shouldn’t be surprised. Kim mentioned she listened to the book on audio. If I’d done that I might have been more receptive to hearing Kathie Lee’s enthusiasm but reading the words came across as insincere to me

What I did love were the insights into the places she visited and the little known facts about the places and the Scriptures attached to that place. I’ve been to Israel twice but it’s been several years so I can’t remember everything—maybe much! It did increase my desire to return, which actually never goes away. I loved being there and gained much spiritually and in my knowledge of the background and places of the Bible. It was easy to mentally picture the events in Jesus’s life.

I’m glad I read the book but would be careful who I recommended it to. I would wonder if a new believer might not be knowledgeable enough to question some things that seemed a little off. Also, the Rabbi referred to numerology a lot and I personally wonder whether it’s really valid or helpful. I do know that we should look for how a word or phrase, etc, is used throughout Scripture to get a total view of the word or phrase. But I’m not so sure that just because the number three is mentioned in various places, for instance, that it always refers to the same theme.

Again, I’m glad I read the book.

Kathy Collard Miller

News of the World by Paulette Jiles

One of my favorite books. Beautifully, without getting preachy, Pauline Jiles, shows us what it means to love our neighbor. I love how memorably it opens to us the world of Texas in the late 1800s. I had no idea that children were being kidnapped from small towns, taken captive by the Kiowa Indians, and raised as their own. Or that the U.S. Army would rescue these children many years after their capture and then try to reunite them with their families. An incredible challenge on so many levels. It's amazing how much America has changed in the last 125 years and how much hasn’t changed. I loved watching the journey of these two characters as the book unfolds. Other Resources: “Paulette Jiles Rides the Dangerous Trails of 1870s Texas” via The Sacramento Bee;Can a 10-year-old Girl Ever Recover from Years in Captivity?” via The Washington Post; interview with The Dallas News: “Paulette Jiles Explains the Apocalyptic Influence on Her Acclaimed Texas Frontier Novel.” —Luann Budd