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2010 is looking good! Thanks for your participation suggesting topics and voting on them.

We'll assign the top 10 or 11 topics to months in 2010 and get back to you soon with a schedule.

Our next gathering is in two weeks - Tuesday, Jan. 5.

F - 10
G - 10
Q - 9
C - 8
J - 7
N - 7
A - 6
I - 6
K - 6
U - 6
X - 6
D - 5
O - 5
M - 5
H - 4
P - 4
R - 4
B - 3
L - 3
S - 3
T - 3
W - 3
E - 1
V - 1

F) The Power of Humor
How humor has been used to persuade, to disarm, and to heal.

G) Bowling Alone
Discussion of the breakdown of the American community, based primarily on Robert Putnam's work regarding social capital

Q) Is Doubt Necessary for Faith?
A disturbing trend in our society is that of intelligent people who decide to abandon belief in religion and God. Too often the culprit of such decisions is that the faith communities of which they are a part do not look upon doubt as a virtue, leaving these people to feel as if there is no place for them. What would happen if these faith communities decided to decriminalize doubt? How might a religious community be affected if it began to emphasize doubt as an important, even necessary, component for increasing one's faith?

C) Healthcare Reform: What's Wrong and Where Do We Go From Here?
The U.S. Congress is currently in the midst of debating a massive healthcare reform bill that would make drastic changes to an industry that makes up a huge portion of our national economy. What are the problems with the current system, what are the solutions being proposed by Congress and what are some of the other solutions not being proposed by Congress?

J) Poverty
What works to address poverty internationally and domestically? Why do so many of us feel that poverty will never go away?

N) Everything was Better Back when Everything was Worse:
There are pros and cons to living in an age where we have more choices and opportunities than we've ever had before. Does diversity provide us with happiness or are we paralyzed by too many choices?

A) Why Americans Like Divorce Almost as Much as We Like Marriage
I'd like to talk about how we explain a nearly 50% failure rate in a multi-million dollar industry. Or simply explore the question: "Why divorce?!" We've been warned, we know what we're getting into. Why do we keep failing at it?

I) Half-Baked and Happy?
Some say that these days most of us don't do things well, and we get away with it. The premium on quality has been sacrificed to the premium on efficiency. We have learned to leverage technology to get significant output from very small effort. Is this true? If so, what is gained and what is lost in a culture where it is so easy to get so much of something for virtually nothing?

K) The Creative Spark
Exploring our collective beliefs about the source/nature of creativity and how it serves us...or doesn't. Why the tortured artist? Why the doubts about pursuing creative endeavors?

U) The Sermon on the Mount as it Applies to Modern Life

X) Depression in Utah
I have read recently an article about depression in Utah. Utah ranks the highest of all the states in the United States for the most cases of major depression. Utah was also in the top 5 for antidepressant prescriptions. (Utah also ranked lowest for illegal drug and alcohol use, incidentally). What it is about utah that makes more people depressed? Is it genetic? Are our expectations about life too high? Is it toxic perfectionism? Some aspect of Utah culture? Or is it that people in other states mask the symptoms of depression with illegal drugs and alcohol?