Healing the Heart of Democracy

I just started reading Parker Palmer’s book Healing the Heart of Democracy: The Courage to Create a Politics Worthy of the Human Spirit.  It looks fabulous, and a well-timed gift as I personally rejoice in the election results AND feel a tender heart for the apparently intractable divisions we face.  Here’s a provocative opening quote from Terry Tempest Williams in her book Engagement:

“The human heart is the first home of democracy.  It is where we embrace our questions.  Can we be equitable?  Can we be generous?  Can we listen with our whole beings, not just our minds, and offer our attention rather than our opinions?  And do we have enough resolve in our hearts to act courageously, relentlessly, without giving up — ever — trusting our fellow citizens to join with us in our determined pursuit of a living democracy?”

This really resonates deeply with me as a Baptist.   I have been blessed to spend my adult faith formation among a denominational family (American Baptist Churches-USA) which values the spiritual journey of relationship-building and genuine partnership across theological and cultural diversity.  I think we have something special to offer the national crisis of polarization.  Perhaps a reminder that democracy’s flowering requires the capacity of the heart to be WITH differences of need, perspective etc.  To offer our selves as the presence of Christ rather than just our opinions.  To be willing to humbly assert our convictions while not striving to coerce others.

This is really heavy on my heart in my “prayer closet” this season.


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