One of the big themes for A Language of healing for a Polarized Nation is the importance of nuance. Political realities in our world push us toward one extreme or the other—binary thinking. It’s all or nothing! Those narratives are killing us.
Last night, I had dinner with a police friend of mine. Hearing him talk about the difficulty of doing his job today broke my heart. If there is any engagement between a person of color and a police officer, it is assumed the officer is racist even if the suspect is a danger to others around him. And, they know if something goes wrong, they will get little support from society or their superiors. Morale is at an all-time low.
I also have conversations with my African American friends and hear the fear in their voices of what could happen to their children if they engage law enforcement. I see the pain in their eyes when they recite the names of young black men and women who have been unnecessarily killed in those engagements.
And we can’t seem to find a healthy way to talk about the problem so we can fix it. Why is it that if there’s a disturbance in my neighborhood, I am reassured when a police officer rolls onto the scene, and others feel threatened, even though they’ve done nothing wrong? More importantly, how do we responsibly fix that?
That’s the conversation we need to be having as a culture—truly listening to each other’s concerns and finding the place to make substantive changes for a better society. But most people aren’t having that conversation, not if you listen to the media or to our political parties. They are caught in the throes of a presidential election, where both candidates and their supporters are using the current unrest to their political advantage even if it further divides us with fear and mistrust. Citizens are using violence on both sides without regard to law and order as we tap dance on the precipice of another civil war.
We had no idea our country would be in such turmoil when we published A Language of Healing for a Polarized Nation only a few months ago. We are grateful that many people and institutions have found our book and are using it to explore more wholesome conversations about the issues that divide us. Here’s what we got from one reader recently:
A Language of Healing for a Polarized Nation is an amazing book. You not only created the best format for a multi-author book but also created a space where people can have transformative conversations. Our culture desperately needs this message. The practical steps you provided in each chapter gave me hope that change can really happen. We do not have to agree with someone to show compassion, love, and engagement.
Kyle, a reader in Colorado
Over the past few months, I’ve been involved in numerous conversations where people want to explore the nuances of our current crisis and bring people together to find solutions. I’ve done Language of Healing Live Zoom conversations to help explore those options. I’ve been asked to be a guest at many on-line book groups who are studying our book. I am convinced the vast majority of people want to have a different conversation. That’s why over the last few months Bob Prater, Arnita Taylor, and I have worked on a companion to our original book to help people conduct small group discussions about our book.
You asked us to create this resource, and today we are pleased to announce the publication of A Language of Healing Conversation Guide. This new resource will help small groups of people in neighborhoods, businesses, and schools create a safe space for people to talk with each other instead of shouting at each other. It is hot off the presses and is also available at Amazon or in discount bulk pricing at Blue Sheep Media, our publishers.
This guide can help you and people you know…
- to speak your own language of healing in your corner of the world,
- to reach out to people beyond our regular sphere of relationships, and
- to think proactively about how you might respond in difficult situations to disarm the tension and build bridges of honest dialogue and compassion.
Don’t let the media or politicians control the conversation here. Find some people you know and take the risk to discuss this book with them. You’ll be surprised at how it can turn the conversation from one of rancor and fear to mutual respect and understanding.