Magazine article Sojourners Magazine

Antidotes to Cynicism: Books That Help Us Put Heart and Soul into Action

Magazine article Sojourners Magazine

Antidotes to Cynicism: Books That Help Us Put Heart and Soul into Action

Article excerpt

THE WORDS "HOPE" and "change" have been taking a beating lately: mocked by some, tarnished in the political sphere by partisan gridlock, seeming like mere illusions to many who need them most. But hope and positive transformation are more profound realities than will ever fit comfortably in the 24-hour news cycle; they germinate in individual hearts and local communities and grow along the long arc of history.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Whether you're trying to nurture change in your church community, neighborhood, or on a larger scale for our battered, beautiful world, here are some books that can get you started, keep you going, or help you begin again. Because hope, while sometimes down, is never out.

For starters, there's the new and revised version of Soul of a Citizen: Living with Conviction in Challenging Times, by Paul Rogat Loeb (St. Martin's Press). Through the stories and voices of dozens of activists from a wide variety of backgrounds and beliefs, Loeb names the psychological and cultural barriers that can stop us from becoming involved in issues that we care about and explores how such hindrances can be overcome. While not writing from a faith perspective, Loeb sees the search for meaning and values as key to the activist life, and includes several people of faith among his interviewees. This thoughtfully researched, engaging book is both grounded and inspiring. First published in 1999, it has been updated to include perspectives and insights from the tumultuous first decade of the 21st century.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

"Why are we as societies creating a world that we as individuals abhor?" writer and hunger activist Frances Moore Lappe asks in her newly revised book, Getting a Grip 2: Clarity, Creativity, and Courage for the World We Really Want (Small Planet Media). Like Loeb, Lappe takes on the inner voices and outer pressures that can keep us passive, and sketches out a path to what she calls "democracy as a way of life, no longer something done to us or for us but a way of living together that we shape ourselves."

A new edition of the classic Hope and History: Why We Must Share the Story of the Movement, by Vincent Harding (Orbis), also was recently released. In this collection of essays, Harding, professor emeritus of religion and social transformation at the Iliff School of Theology and a Sojourners contributing editor, addresses "teachers of all kinds, to explore with them the powerful and humanizing lessons that are available to us in the story of the post-World War II stage of the black freedom movement." Harding writes as both a participant in and scholar of the movement, and puts forth the themes and nonviolent principles that continue to inform a broad range of struggles for freedom and human dignity. He directs one essay specifically to teachers in religious settings, reminding them that "the raising of rejected stones, the empowerment of the weak and exploited, the establishment of jubilee generations, the healing of broken human connections are as central to your best religious teachings as they are to the heart of the freedom movement."

This reality, as expressed through the evangelical Christian community development model pioneered by John Perkins, is lifted up in Welcoming Justice: God's Movement Toward Beloved Community, by Perkins and historian and theologian Charles Marsh. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.