News Flash! Utne Reader names Parker J. Palmer as one of "25 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World" - people who, in the editor's words, "don't just think out loud but who walk their talk on a daily basis." See the October-November 2011 print or online issue.
At a critical time in American life, Parker J. Palmer looks with realism and hope at how to deal with our political tensions for the sake of the common good - without the shouting, blaming, or defaming so common in our politics today.
In his newest book, Parker J. Palmer builds on his own extensive experience as an inner life explorer and social change activist to examine the personal and social infrastructure of American politics. What he did for educators in The Courage to Teach he does here for citizens by looking at the dynamics of our inner lives for clues to reclaiming our civic well-being. In Healing the Heart of Democracy, he points the way to a politics rooted in the commonwealth of compassion and creativity still found among "We the People."
"Democracy," writes Palmer, "is a non-stop experiment in the strengths and weaknesses of our political institutions, local communities, and the human heart - and its outcome can never be taken for granted. The experiment is endless, unless we blow up the lab, and the explosives to do the job are found within us. But so also is the heart's alchemy that can turn suffering into compassion, conflict into community, and tension into energy for creativity amid democracy's demands.
Healing the Heart of Democracy names the "habits of the heart" we need to revitalize our politics and shows how they can be formed in the everyday venues of our lives. Palmer proposes practical and hopeful methods to hold the tensions of our differences in a manner that can help restore a government "of the people, by the people, for the people".
©2011 Parker J. Palmer (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
"...[A] book born for this moment. Wise, evocative, and pragmatic at its core, this dream for a new politics is grounded in dignity and liberty for all." (Terry Tempest Williams, author of The Open Space of Democracy)
"...[The] most important manifesto in generations for breaking through the divisiveness that has paralyzed our democracy." (Bill Shore, founder of Share Our Strength, author of The Imaginations of Unreasonable Men)
"...[A] master work by a master, a clear and uplifting resource that keeps shining light in all the dark places. Palmer is that rare, deep seer who is at home in the streets, a teacher by example who has the courage to stand openly and honestly in the public square." (Mark Nepo, author of The Book of Awakening and As Far As the Heart Can See)
Our nation is in trouble. People should revisit the concepts of democracy and recognize the importance of hearing, respecting others and working together for the good of all. Palmer does an excellent job of refreshing our collective vision of who we are and what matters.
This extraordinary book weaves the hunger of the spirit in community, the fear and generosity of the heart, and the possibility of democracy with the necessity of democracy. This book of revelations guides readers to transform the shattered self into the whole self, the cruel and dying society into the extended whole democratic society. I want everyone to read or listen to this book. It is hope and it is real. It offers the future without disaster.
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