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Why Can't We Talk?: Christian Wisdom on Dialogue as a Habit of the Heart

Why Can't We Talk?: Christian Wisdom on Dialogue as a Habit of the Heart

Why Can't We Talk?: Christian Wisdom on Dialogue as a Habit of the Heart

Why Can't We Talk?: Christian Wisdom on Dialogue as a Habit of the Heart


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Learn How to Contribute More Effectively and Compassionately to
the Conversations that Shape Your Life

"Anything could happen when we start to talk. Nothing will happen if we don't. That alone makes the way of dialogue a journey worth taking."
—from the Epilogue

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?

The answer begins long before the lunch does, by learning to engage dialogue as a habit of the heart—an inner transformation that the ancient practices of Christian spirituality can address. This highly readable and timely guide to restoring dialogue shows you how to cultivate this transformation while preparing you to approach your adversaries with curiosity, civility and compassion. With dialogue expert John Backman leading the way, you will:

  • Examine the obstacles that keep you from dialogue: black-and-white thinking, a “distraction lifestyle,” the fear of change and negative impressions from others.
  • Explore the strength of character from which healthy dialogue springs—and the work of the soul that cultivates them.
  • Learn practical guidelines for dialogue and how they work in an imperfect world.
  • Encounter anecdotes of dialogue in action, from resolutions of interpersonal conflict to difficult dialogues on some of the most divisive issues of our age.
  • Use provocative questions at the end of each chapter to stimulate group discussion and individual reflection.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781594734847
Publisher: Turner Publishing Company
Publication date: 10/01/2012
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: eBook
Pages: 176
File size: 686 KB

About the Author

John Backman is a member of the National Coalition for Dialogue&Deliberation board of directors and creator of The Dialogue Venture. He writes extensively on contemporary spirituality and its ability to help us dialogue across divides and his work has been published in several faith-based and secular national publications. He is an associate in the Order of the Holy Cross, a community of Benedictine Episcopal monasteries in North America and South Africa.

Kay Lindahl, the founder of The Listening Center in Long Beach, California, is author of How Does God Listen?; Practicing the Sacred Art of Listening: A Guide to Enrich Your Relationships and Kindle Your Spiritual Life; and The Sacred Art of Listening: Forty Reflections for Cultivating a Spiritual Practice. She is co-editor of Women, Spirituality and Transformative Leadership: Where Grace Meets Power.

Table of Contents

Foreword vii
INTRODUCTION: Talking with the Adversary ix
1 When You Have to Move the Elephant 1
2 Hearing the Call to Dialogue 17
3 Roadblocks on the Way 29
4 Engaging the Work of the Soul 41
5 Three Mind-Sets for the Journey 59
6 Pushing beyond Our Borders 69
7 Making Dialogue Happen 83
8 Dialogue Unbound 97
9 Dialogue in the War Zone 111
EPILOGUE: A Gentle Challenge to Our Culture 125
Acknowledgments 129
APPENDIX: Spiritual Practices for the Way of Dialogue 132
Notes 141
Suggestions for Further Reading 148

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