Think of an issue that makes your blood boil.
Now imagine lunch with a friend who is just as passionate about it—on the other side. How can the two of you even broach the issue, let alone hear each other with curiosity and compassion?
One answer begins long before the lunch does. To engage in dialogue, we can first embrace dialogue as a habit of the heart—an inner transformation that the ancient practices of Christian spirituality can address.
By describing that transformation and how to cultivate it, Why Can’t We Talk? Christian Wisdom on Dialogue as a Habit of the Heart (SkyLight Paths Publishing; read an excerpt here) prepares Christians of many stripes to approach their adversaries with curiosity, civility, and compassion. The book:
- Examines the obstacles that keep us from dialogue: black-and-white thinking, our “distraction lifestyle,” the fear of change, and others
- Explores the strengths of character from which healthy dialogue springs—and the work of the soul that cultivates them
- Shows how to enhance the work of the soul by engaging the world around us
- Lays out practical guidelines for dialogue and how they work in an imperfect world
- Includes extended anecdotes of dialogue in action, from resolutions of interpersonal conflict to difficult dialogues on some of the most divisive issues of our age