A New Book, A New Conversation: Why Can’t We Talk? Coming to Bookstores Near You

I invite you to join me in celebrating some good news—and pondering what it might start.

If you’ve explored the other parts of this site, you know I’ve been working on a book. It covers many of the themes we explore right here—particularly the ancient “work of the soul” that can make dialogue not just what we do, but who we are. You can read an excerpt here.

Soon you can read the whole thing.

This fall, SkyLight Paths Publishing will release Why Can’t We Talk? Dialogue as a Habit of the Heart. While the book is primarily directed at Christians (in the end, I found I could be most effective when writing to the tradition I know), I believe its lessons can apply across the spectrum of faith. It discusses strengths of character that most faith traditions uphold, suggestions for spiritual practices to cultivate those strengths, and a whole boatload of practical suggestions that anyone can use.

And I hope “anyone”—OK, everyone—will read Why Can’t We Talk? Why? Because it would greatly enrich what I see as one of the most exciting aspects of this development: the book not as an end in itself, but as a small starting point to much larger conversation. Yesterday a colleague of mine expressed a great deal of enthusiasm for the book. She’s a Hindu, and I am dying to hear her perspective, because I know it will add to the general stew of ideas. The more people who read the book, the more voices we can get in the room for this conversation. Who knows? We might be able to move the needle on dialogue where it matters: from interpersonal relationships to the halls of Congress.

I will keep you abreast of important developments as they arise. In the meantime, feel free to tell everyone you know, and post your thoughts here (or on my Facebook page or Twitter feed). There’s no time like the present to start the conversation.

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  1. Posted June 27, 2012 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    Dear John,
    First a hardy hooray and congratulations! Second, if you’re going to sell your book, you’ve got to learn some shameless self promotion! O.K., I plead guilty to not checking your blog recently. But, dear brother, why didn’t you shout it from our Merton mouthpiece, the ReadMerton yahoo group? Why didn’t you e-mail us, phone us, send us a flare? Okay, why didn’t we call you when we missed you on Tuesday?
    BUT MOST OF ALL CONGRATULATIONS! May WE now begin to shout the news abroad?
    Walt Chura, O.F.S.
    Coordinator, Thomas Merton Society of the Capital Region

    • Posted June 29, 2012 at 6:16 am | Permalink

      Thank you, Walt! And yes, I am certainly happy to send out as many announcements as possible! What’s held me up (and has kept me away from Tuesday nights) is that the manuscript is due TODAY; I made the deadline, but it’s made my last month a hectic nonstop freight train. Next week gets back to some semblance of normal, so I’ll start going on publicity then.

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