Discussion Questions on a book: Strongholds by Vanessa Davis Griggs

These are some of the discussion questions at the end of the book:

Which character(s) did you identify and/or empathize with the most? Why?
I’m not sure if I would fully identify with any of the characters. But if I had to choose it would be Desiree and Edwin because of their marital issues. Although hubby and I don’t readily have the same strongholds (Desiree – eating and Edwin – gambling) we do have our issues with communication.

Fatima Adams seemed to have a difficult time overcoming how she felt about Darius Connors. Do you think things could have been easier than she made them to be? What should she have done to get past her strong feelings for him?

I’m not sure if there were any additional things Fatima might have been able to do to make the break up easier on her, break ups are difficult in general. Although I would have changed my phone number since Darius was insistent on calling and leaving messages.

Was Bentley wrong in what he said to his wife about the books she read as well as the television shows she watched? Was he even justified in bringing it up?
Bentley was correct in the statement he made to his wife (Marcella) about the books she reads and his addiction to p-graphy (and not photography). I’m sure if you ask any woman that reads that type of fiction if they would consider it p-graphy and that would say no. In fact, until I read this book I would probably say no. But after reading how Pastor Landris broke it down to those words bringing images to the mind and causes some to use their imagination, I can understand why he felt justified in bringing it up.

Is there a difference in what Bentley was doing as opposed to what Marcella was doing? Why or why not?
I don’t think there’s too much of a difference in what Bentley physically sees and what Marcella reads. To put it plain and simple one uses words and the other are those words acted out.

In your opinion do you feel overeating should be included as a stronghold? Why or why not?
I’m abit indifferent on this, I can see how overeating would seem harmless to anyone, but I can also see why it is considered a stronghold. A stronghold in that some people find it a hard habit to break which takes away from their body being a temple God gave them.

What are your views regarding a person who works as much as Dr. Holden was? In your opinion, should working too much be considered a stronghold?
I think Dr. Holden was justified in his reasoning for working so much in that he wanted to provide for his family’s every need and want. But as his wife Avis pointed out, those material things mean nothing if he’s not there to share them. And yeah working too much can be considered a stronghold in that it took Dr. Holden away from what mattered most, spending time with his family.

Arletha Brown was said to be extremely religious. Is there such a think as being too religious or overly religiously? Discuss.
I’m not sure about Arletha’s situation. While I can understand her plight for perfection and getting into heaven, she really went over board. She was more concerned with her getting in and her path that she didn't see fit to help anyone else along the way. And she didn't believe in the church changing with times.

I think as time changes so should how the church operates and minsters to people. Churches want to recruit people, but what are they doing to ensure those people recruited establish and maintain a relationship with the church.

If you had to choose a sin or stronghold from this book as the biggest sin or stronghold, which would you choose and why?

I think it would be a tie between Bentley and his obsession with p_graphy and Edwin and his gambling habits. Both are really hard habits to break and require constant work towards breaking. Both can do serious harm to a marriage if left unresolved.

Do you believe any of the characters should have continued to struggle with their strongholds considering they came to the altar and were prayed for by a man of God? Why or why not?

As Pastor Landris pointed out, bad habits take work in breaking. And while admitting you have a problem is a good start, one must constant seek to break that habit to change your circumstance.

Was Pastor Landris wrong for not counseling each person in his congregation no matter how long it took him to get to them? Explain.
I believe Pastor Landris or Johnnie Mae rather, was correct in pointing out that the pastor could not be everywhere every time a member needs his assistance. The same philosophy for any regular business or organization would apply here in that the CEO can’t possibly do everything. The CEO is supposed to be the face and the one leading those he has put in place to help ensure that the company is ran effectively and efficiently.

As Johnnie Mae also pointed out it would be feasible for him to meet with each congregation member if the church was small, but once the congregation grows to over 200 I think it abit too much to of pastors to meet with each and every member of a mega church. Consider for the moment TD Jake and his church the Potter’s house. The website mentions about 30k members, imagine if you will TD Jakes shaking every hand after just one service, he’d be there well into Sunday evening.

Not too mention the pastor had a family, growing family that warranted some of his time.

Discuss Daruis Connors and his various actions. Do you believe he was sincere in his feelings toward Fatima? Do you feel bad for him at all?

I think Darius was looking for something extra to have on the side. I don’t think he had any intentions on ever leaving his wife and would have continued the affair with Fatima as long as Fatima saw fit to continue. It’s hard to say whether or not he was sincere in his feelings toward Fatima, his actions (constant phone calls and her birthday surprise) certainly would lead one to believe he was sincere. I do feel bad for Daruis because he’s caught up in a web of deceit, he doesn’t respect his wife or the life they’ve built together.

What do you think is going on with Trinity (Faith, Hope, and Charity)? Do you believe people can truly have multiple personalities or do you believe it's merely something they're just making up?
It’s hard to speak on multiple personalities because I’ve never encountered anyone with multiple personalities, at least not that I know of. But as mentioned it could very well be a defense mechanism that shields from a bad personal experience as with Trinity. So, no I don’t think it’s something that is made up, not that it can’t happen. I am not sure what to make of what’s going on with Trinity. The answer might have been provided in that tablet Faith wrote in during the last session with Dr. Holden.

I'm sure it's kind of hard to get the gist of the book from just the few questions I answered. I would recommend the book to friends as a good read. I would, however point out that this is one of three books with stories connected, and I think this was the second book of which I accidentally finished reading first. The first of the trilogy is Blessed Trinity and the end of the trilogy is Memory Serves. I'm currently reading Blessed Trinity with plans to read Memory Serves next.

Peace, Blessings and Laughs

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