Discussion Questions for "And Toto, Too: 'The Wizard of Oz' as a Spiritual Adventure"

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And Toto, Too
"The Wizard of Oz" As A Spiritual Adventure

By Nathan G. Castle, O.P.

Discussion Questions

Prologue

  1. Think of a time when there was a "perfect storm" moment in your life. What was that like?
  2. Has anyone ever listened to the story of your heart of hearts?
  3. In what ways have you experienced the Presence of God or what you call your higher power within you?
  4. Recall a time you had to have a difficult heart-to-heart conversation. What was it about? How did it go?

Chapter 1 In the Beginning

  1. What things do you share in common with L. Frank Baum?
  2. When have you taken big risks? How have you succeeded? Failed?
  3. What kind of support did you have from people close to you?

Chapter 2 Looking Inside

  1. Where is God for you? Were you taught to think of God as far away?
  2. What do you think about the possibility that you and God could overlap?
  3. How do you start a prayer? Do either one of these ways work for you?
    "Our Father who art in heaven? Or, hello in there?"

Chapter 3 Uncommon Common Journeys

  1. "Would you like to come along with me? Would you feel degraded to be seen in the company of a cowardly Catholic priest?" How do you feel about taking this kind of journey?
  2. How do you answer the God question, or do you? Are you a believer in Something or Someone? Would you identify yourself as agnostic, atheist or none of the above?
  3. How comfortable do you feel about self-reflection?

Chapter 4 The Characters

  1. In looking at your own life, what is it like to consider yourself as God's gift to the world?
  2. "We're surrounded daily by familiar faces we barely know, some of them in our own households." What is your experience with this?
  3. "Toto, I believe, is a Christ-figure in The Wizard of Oz."
    What do you think about this?

Chapter 5 Watching the Movie

  1. What do you think about infinity and your place in it?
  2. Aunt Em and Uncle Henry are busy providing for Dorothy, while not providing for her. Have you ever found yourself in a similar scene?
  3. How would you feel if you had the opportunity to start over in your relationships? Do you think that's possible in this world or the next?
  4. Can you imagine a place where there isn't any trouble? Would you go to such a place? Have you been to such a place?

Chapter 6 Going No Place

  1. Think of a time when you felt like giving up.
  2. Have you ever felt "they" were all against you? When? Why?
  3. "God can be found in the oddest places in the oddest forms." Can you think of instances in your own life where this has been true?

Chapter 7 Marvelous Encounter

  1. How do you recognize a fellow traveler when you see one? What experiences in your life's journey have equipped you to help fellow travelers?
  2. Professor Marvel helped Dorothy reimagine her circumstance. When has someone done that for you? What was that like?
  3. When have you felt that you have been understood? On whose shoulders do you stand?

Chapter 8 A Storm's Blowin' Up

  1. If you've ever been caught in your own private cyclone, what was it like?
  2. "Love gives her the power to reverse her direction." When have you experienced this kind of power? What effect did it have?
  3. What events ever caused you to "put down your baggage" and embrace what matters most?
  4. Have you ever experienced a deep peace in the eye of the storm?

Chapter 9 Over The Rainbow

  1. Have you ever gotten exactly what you wished for? What was it like?
  2. What do you think of the idea of latent gifts lying dormant in you? Have you experienced a gift emerging in you exactly when it was needed?
  3. Glinda advises Dorothy to seek The Wizard's help in getting back home. Was this good advice or a bum steer? How do you feel when well-meaning folks offer you unsolicited advice?

Chapter 10 Spiraling

  1. Have you ever had to live in ink, where no mistakes were tolerated?
  2. Have you ever done a major "turning around?"
  3. Do you think of your life as "something beautiful you're in the process of creating?"

Chapter 11 Life's Way

  1. When you think of your life, do you consider it as a time line or a circle?
  2. "Death, like birth, is temporary. Both are followed by new life." What do you think about that?
  3. How do you respond to these questions: "Can you ever finish loving those you love? Why would you want to?"

Chapter 12 Do You Believe In Dog?

  1. "I will love you but I must be in control of our relationship at every moment." If you experienced this in your life, how did it make you feel?
  2. Can you imagine God choosing to be weak in order to love?
  3. "Believer" and "Beloved" are from the same root. What do you believe about love from someone who considers you beloved?
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