Sacred Text Reading Group
Date(s) - 08/21/2021
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

A weekly online sacred text reading group with Amy

Using a spiritual-practice approach, in each session we will explore a different brief scriptural text in depth. The aims of the sessions are educational (learning something about the texts and traditions), spiritual/moral (discovering what the texts ask of us), and community-building (getting to know each other better). Amy will have a version of the text available to share; “bring” your own if you like. All are welcome, as are your suggestions of future texts. About half our readings so far have been those suggested by group members.

Our text for Saturday, August 21, 2021, is an extract from the movie script for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011, by Bridget O’Connor & Peter Straugha), based on the novel by John Le Carre. Le Carre served in MI6 and was raised on the road by a father who was a con man. He has great insights into deception, loneliness, and faith.


It’s 1973. George Smiley is a senior British spy in MI6. He’s telling his protege Peter Guillam about the time he met the current head of the KGB (who goes by the alias “Karla”). They were both young spies in the 1950’s and Smiley tried to persuade Karla to defect rather than returning to Moscow, where he faced a purge/political trial. You can watch Gary Oldman giving most of this speech at

          I gave him the usual pitch…
          “Come to the West and we can give
          you a comfortable life. After
          questioning. Or you can catch
          your plane and fly home and be
          Think of your wife. You have a
          wife, don’t you? I brought you
          some cigarettes, by the way…
          We could arrange for her to join
          you, we have a lot of stock to
          trade. If you go back, she’ll be
          ostracised. Think of her. Think
          about how much she…”
          Kept harping on about the damn
          His expression encouraged me.
          I could have sworn I was getting through to him,
          that I had found the chink in his armour;
          when of course all I was doing—all I was doing
          was showing him the chink in mine.
          “Look, we’ve both spent our lives
          looking for the weaknesses in one
          another’s systems. Don’t you
          think it’s time to recognise
          there is as little worth on your
          side as there is on mine?”
          That was Karla? And he flew back
           to die rather than give in?
           Yes. (Beat) And that’s how I know
            he can be beaten. Because he’s a
            fanatic. And the fanatic is
            always concealing a secret doubt.

If you’re new (either to UUCPA or to the group) and would like to get acquainted, Amy and whichever group members can manage it will be there ten minutes early and will also stay afterwards–we’d love to have a little getting-to-know-you time.

How to join:

  • Join this class from your Web browser:
  • Join this class using the Zoom app: Meeting ID: 578 882 781
  • Join this class by phone: 669 900 9128 US (San Jose), Meeting ID: 578 882 781, passcode: 171919
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