A Companion Guide to
The Truth About Lies and Lies About Truth
for Personal Reflection and Group Discussion
by David Takle
Copyright 2010, David Takle. All rights reserved. This material may only be copied and distributed as a complete document. No single page or segment may be reproduced without the permission of the author. If kept intact, you may freely copy or distribute this study guide. Information on where to download this document can be found on www.TruthAboutLies.info (under Order Here)
A Companion Guide to The Truth About Lies and Lies About Truth for Personal Reflection and Group Discussion
The Truth About Lies and Lies About Truth is a thought-provoking and paradigm-challenging book. Because of that, and because of the density of the material in this book, your group should have no difficulty generating discussions. In fact, most groups will need more than one meeting to discuss each chapter. About all you will have to do in order to launch a discussion is ask one question:
What things in this chapter caught your attention?Attempts to direct the discussion with specific questions will more likely inhibit participation than encourage it. Consequently, most of the questions in this guide are intended for personal reflection and preparation for group discussion rather than for directing the group itself. Hopefully these questions will generate additional critical thinking that will be helpful in discussing the material, as well as assist in connecting the actual life experience of the reader with the ideas in each chapter. As a group leader, be sure to encourage the group members to spend some time detailing their responses to the questions prior to the meeting.
There are also a few exercises suggested in the guide. If you have the time, it can be very valuable to do them together and then discuss the reactions people have to them. Exercises that require a time of reflection may need at least 15-20 minutes of group silence while everyone works on their own response.
How Long Will the Study Last?We would suggest at least an hour minimum (preferably 90 minutes) for each discussion time. If
your group needs to keep pace with a quarterly church calendar or accommodate other time constraints, we would recommend one of the following plans:
For a 13-week group (one quarter):Allow one week for each chapter, except for chapters 9 and 10, which would do better with two weeks each.
For a 24-week group (two quarters):Allow two weeks to each chapter, except for chapters 9 and 10, which would get three weeks each.
If your time is more flexible, you may want to spend an additional week near the end of the group to discuss the Model for Healing Distorted Beliefs (in the Addendum) and encourage participants to spend a significant amount of time outside of group to engage with God about an item on their survey (at the end of the guide). It can be very valuable and encouraging to discuss the various results people will have with this process.
Please be aware that due to the design of the book, discussing this material over a period of time may create considerable angst in some group participants. Because the paradigm shift is so big, much of the book is devoted to deconstructing our previously mistaken assumptions about how spiritual growth takes place. Unless this process of deconstruction is fairly successful, it is very difficult to reconstruct the new paradigm without it being trivialized or misunderstood. Consequently, long before this new approach to growth is presented, you will probably have group members asking How do we fix this problem? Just encourage each other to be patient. The process is important and worth taking the time to thoroughly understand each step along the way.
Chapter 1 The Problem is Worse Than We Think1. Deception in this chapter is given an all-encompassing definition: All of our perceptions or interpretations of reality that are incomplete or distorted in some way. What examples can you offer from your own life or observations that would fall into this definition?
2. The many ways we experience deception were categorized under two main areas:(a) the types or forms of deception that we encounter(b) the sources of deception, or where these forms arise from.Are there any particular areas that stood out for you in some way? Why? Are there any of these areas that you can personally identify with as significant in your own journey?
3. What television shows or movies you have seen in which you can identify a seriously flawed premise. For example, in Sex and the City the characters all believe very strongly in their right to determine morality from their feelings, and are deeply offended by any suggestion to the contrary.
4. Have you ever been amazed at some dynamic that you saw in the family of a friend? What family process or family rule surprised you and why? How might that be related to faulty beliefs that exist in that family?
5. What are some distorted dynamics that you have identified in your own family? What underlying beliefs fuel those behaviors?
6. The New Testament paints a picture of a Spirit-filled, transformed life that many Christians find beyond reach or too good to be true. How have you witnessed people grappling with the disparity between this picture and where they see themselves? What faulty beliefs do you think might arise from trying to make sense of that gap?
7. What examples can you cite from your own life or people you know in which a personal injury (emotional or physical) led to a deeply held faulty belief about God, self, or life?
8. In what ways has your understanding of deception changed from reading this chapter?
Chapter 2 The Truth About Lies1. Have you ever thought about the idea that unbelief is actually belief in a lie? What is your reaction to that redefinition? What are some examples of this in Scripture? In everyday life?
2. Consider the following quote: Evil must always distort and confound those realities in order to seduce people into participating in their own self-destruction. In your own words, describe the process by which we find ourselves to be active agents in the very things that hurt us and keep us trapped.
3. Read through the chart at the end of Chapter 2 and choose a line where you can identify with two or more of the characteristics shown. Give examples of when each characteristic feels true. What makes one feel more true than another? How has your experience of these changed over time?
4. How might the pervasiveness of deception lead us to a position of more humility and teachability?
5. Give two examples of experiences that made a lasting impression on you. Try to find one positive story and one negative. What did you learn from each experience (can be either truth or lie). After each experience, what things did you see or interpret differently than before?
6. In what way does knowing about the pervasiveness of deception actually offer us great hope instead of despair?
Chapter 3 The Destructive Nature of Deception1. What are the great lessons of Eden?
1a. In what ways do you think differently about this story than what you have heard before? How else have you heard this story interpreted?
1b. How does this understanding of deception change the way we view the choices made by Adam and Eve?
2. Try to identify several other places in the Bible where people failed, and then work backwards to identify what faulty beliefs they might have assumed that led them to the actions they took. How many such cause-and-effect relationships can you see?
3. What difference does it make for us if deception is a primary cause for sin?
4. Identify a time when you experienced anger and conflict with another person that was actually the result of a misunderstanding. When the mistaken ideas were cleared up, what happened to the emotions? How is that related to our ideas about deception causing problems?
5. Suppose you have a negative assumption about a person that is actually not true. What kinds of relational damage might occur if you acted on your assumptions as if they were true?
Chapter 4 From Deception to Malformation1. Identify an area in your life where you often miss the mark. Consider the issue for a while from theperspective of deception. What beliefs might be lurking behind your particular area of weakness?
2. Identify an event or theme from your past (resentment, regret, a person you cannot forgive) that causes you distress whenever you think about it very much. What beliefs have you internalized about that area that generate most of the emotion?
3. What is your reaction to the statement that just as righteousness is an act of faith in the truth, sin is an act of faith in a lie.
4. In your own words, describe how a lie works its way into our mind and causes malformation. How do areas of malformation differ from our fallen nature? How does this suggest an answer to many of the areas of our life where we feel stuck?
Exercise: Take the survey at the end of this study guide. Choose and item that rates a 2 or 3. What emotions does this item stir in you? In what ways does this issue impact your life? What companion beliefs seem to be tied to it?
Chapter 5 My Beliefs May Not Be What I Think I Believe1. What are some differences between beliefs that are internalized from experience and the beliefs we acquire through Christian education?
2. Give some examples that demonstrate the following statement: Once we arrive at an explanation or belief about an event, it immediately appears self-evident to us that the event proves the belief to be true.
3. Think about an area in which you have experienced a