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Shadowing Pádraig Ó Tuama: Common Ground is Not the Goal

Shadowing Pádraig Ó Tuama: Common Ground is Not the Goal

July 6, 2018

While debriefing Narrative 4 circles I facilitate in and beyond Nashville, I often hear people say things like, “This experience reminds me of how much we all have in common. Most of the time, we’re all focused on all our differences, but we just need to remember that we are all more alike than we are different.”

This is a lovely sentiment, and one that may even be true. But it also might not be. While prioritizing the search for common ground has great use, it also runs the risk of assuming we must do this because difference is bad.

Shadowing Pádraig Ó Tuama: Populate Our Language with Plurals

Shadowing Pádraig Ó Tuama: Populate Our Language with Plurals

July 2, 2018

More than once during our month together, I heard Pádraig say, “We need to populate our language with plurals.” Singular language often impoverishes our understanding of issues and ideas.

Populating our language with plurals may help us remember that we are all multitudes. Even the person we think we totally understand—we don’t. Our simple, un-nuanced, stereotypical ways of speaking need always to be further complicated.

Shadowing Pádraig Ó Tuama: We Need More Villains in Our Stories

Shadowing Pádraig Ó Tuama: We Need More Villains in Our Stories

June 29, 2018

“We need more villains in our stories.” I hear Pádraig’s words as a challenge to listen to how we tell stories. More specifically, how we scapegoat in the way we tell stories.

Shadowing Pádraig Ó Tuama: The Political is Personal

Shadowing Pádraig Ó Tuama: The Political is Personal

June 25, 2018

Everything political is personal for someone. Politics, at its etymological root, has to do with how we organize our lives and affairs with the people we live among. And how we live among each other affects us all in personal ways.

Shadowing Pádraig Ó Tuama: The Subjectivity of Reasonableness

Shadowing Pádraig Ó Tuama: The Subjectivity of Reasonableness

June 22, 2018

“Most people do what seems reasonable to them at the time, most of the time …

It’s not that everyone all the time is being reasonable. That’s obviously not true. It’s that most people are probably doing what they consider reasonable. And even that needs nuancing: “most of the time.” Sometimes, people act in ways that even they can acknowledge are unreasonable. Most of the time, however, it’s likely helpful to assume people behave in ways that make sense to them.”

Shadowing Pádraig Ó Tuama: We Need a World that Works for All—Not Just for All for Whom It Works

Shadowing Pádraig Ó Tuama: We Need a World that Works for All—Not Just for All for Whom It Works

June 18, 2018

With that simple phrase, Pádraig named, with a kind of poetry, what so many of us are fighting for: a world that works for all of us, not just for the few for whom it seems to be already working.

Book Endorsements

Here's what folks are saying about my writing

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Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, from the foreword

“[Where the River Bends] is important … We cannot encounter these pages and remain unaffected. But what will happen to us if we listen to those we tend to ignore? This book is one way to find out. I encourage us all to listen.”

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, from the foreword
Michelle Alexander, bestselling author of The New Jim Crow

“We can theorize about what forgiveness really means, or we can talk and listen to those we have viewed as unforgivable. Where the River Bends … offers depth of insight and perspective that is rare yet essential if we are going to move to higher ground.”

Michelle Alexander, bestselling author of The New Jim Crow
Shane Claiborne, bestselling author of The Irresistible Revolution

“…Where the River Bends is a book pregnant with the hope that comes through the power of forgiveness. Don’t just read this book… let it move you to become an agent of mercy in a merciless world.”

Shane Claiborne, bestselling author of The Irresistible Revolution
Brian D. McLaren, bestselling author of A Kind of Christianity

Letters from “Apartheid Street” is “a valuable resource for all who are called to be peacemakers – which should mean all of us.”

Brian D. McLaren, bestselling author of A Kind of Christianity
John Paul Lederach, peacebuilder, author of The Moral Imagination

“Our field needs passionate, on-the-ground, first hand descriptions of the challenges of constructively engaging settings of deep and painful conflict. [Letters from “Apartheid Street”] provides just such a window.”

John Paul Lederach, peacebuilder, author of The Moral Imagination
David Dark, author of Life’s Too Short to Pretend You’re Not Religious

“Pay serious heed to Michael McRay.”

David Dark, author of Life’s Too Short to Pretend You’re Not Religious
Kathy Kelly, Nobel Peace Prize Nominee

“Surprisingly invitational… [Letters from “Apartheid Street”] is a book worth reading and rereading. As a guide for activism, I hope these reflections will have a profoundly rippling effect.”

Kathy Kelly, Nobel Peace Prize Nominee
Englewood Review of Books

“Most of us seem content to merely believe stereotypes we hear about prisoners from television, movies, etc. [Where the River Bends], however, shatters this view of the criminal offender.

Letters from “Apartheid Street” is “invaluable, necessary, and absolutely brilliant.”

Englewood Review of Books
Marc H. Ellis, author of Toward a Jewish Theology of Liberation

“What is hopeful about [Letters from “Apartheid Street”] is the humanity the author shows through his interaction with Jews and Palestinians. In a down to earth yet profound way, this book shows Jews a way out of the injustice of occupying another people.”

Marc H. Ellis, author of Toward a Jewish Theology of Liberation
Tarek Abuata, Executive Director of Friends of Sabeel – North America

Letters from “Apartheid Street” is “an important read for human rights workers who want to do this work with integrity, but more importantly, who want to learn how to be the change that they want to see in the world.”

Tarek Abuata, Executive Director of Friends of Sabeel – North America