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How to Heal Our Divides: A Practical Guide by Edited by Brian Allain and Adam Thomas

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How to Heal Our Divides is a timely handbook speaking a word of hope into a tumultuous time.  The ‘divide’ has only been exacerbated in recent years by political polarities, the COVID-19 pandemic, racial justice movements, issues of gender justice, and more. Sadly, among Jesus followers the divides are equally if not more schismatic.

How to Heal Our Divides begins by providing a biblical framework for why we need to do this necessary work across our differences toward restoration and healing. It matters for our communities and neighbors and also for ourselves, but mostly for Jesus’ sake. When we heal the divisions with those closest to us, we can reach out to be a healing salt and light to others. 

The introductory essays are followed by an encouraging and inspiring collection of essays and contributions by advocates and activists, representing a variety of church, parachurch, and other organizations. From an artistic movement that turns swords into plowshares, to listening circles happening between those who would never keep each other’s company, to opportunities created for one-on-one conversations that soften hearts to listen, each story has made a difference.  

Even as the author list includes well-known people such as Parker Palmer and Brian McLaren and nonprofits such as The Colossian Forum and Telos, many are memoirs or self-reflections by individuals involved in small, grassroots efforts. As a Canadian, I was pleased to see an Indigenous contribution by the Canadian storyteller Shannon Crossbear.   

Perhaps this is not so much a how-to collection as an invitation to see places where possibility and grace have broken down walls. Doors have opened to a more blessed way of being together. This collection is an encouragement to me to be more attentive to the stories of healing in the divides within my own family, church, community, and country and to become part of a better way myself. (Adam Thomas, howtohealourdivides.com)

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