Reuniting the Children of Abraham and Harnessing the Power of Tension—2 books that are toolkits for peacemaking

Harnessing the Power of Tension book cover
Click the cover to visit the book’s Amazon page.

Headlines from around the world continue to herald the explosive dangers of hatred fueled by tensions over race, religion and ethnicity. Within 24 hours of the mass shootings in Germany, this week, Wikipedia already had an in-depth summary of news reports, making this the 8th major terrorist incident in . Our entire publishing house team is praying that, by the time you read this column that total won’t already have become 9 or 10.

What can writers and publishers do to stem this tragic tide?

Our publishing house’s founding belief is summarized in 5 words: Good media builds healthy communities. We publish books that are an antidote to hate.

So, this week, we want to remind you of 3 books that are antidotes to conflict. The first is featured in our Cover Story in ReadTheSpirit online magazine this week: Another Way, a new book from our friends at Chalice Press that was written by a trio of scholarly peace activists connected with the Forum for Theological Education in Atlanta.

Then, as we point out in that Cover Story—we also are highlighting two peacemaking books with a similar approach, which is: Transforming an entire community by bringing people together in hospitable settings to break bread and share their stories.

Harnessing the Power of Tension
because we’re not going to eradicate it

Authors Brenda Naomi Rosenberg and Samia Moustapha Bahsoun
Brenda Naomi Rosenberg and Samia Moustapha Bahsoun

That headline summarizes the core idea in the book written by peacemakers Brenda Naomi Rosenberg and Samia Moustapha Bahsoun: We can’t erase the world’s tensions. So, let’s acknowledge the tension, grab hold of those seemingly toxic issues—and, together, work on overcoming the tension.

The co-authors ask: What if people could use tension instead of it using them?

They write:

Recognizing that tension will never be eradicated, a new form of leadership coaching is needed that intentionally uses tension as information to address the mounting pressure surging in society: on campuses, in government, in religious institutions, in communities, in businesses and across borders.

Brenda and Samia are both veteran peacemakers, who come from radically different professional and cultural backgrounds. Together, they have developed and continue to teach this innovative method, described in the book, that starts by recognizing the tension between sides in a conflict. The tension is so powerful, they write, that it is like the tectonic shifting of plates on the earth’s surface, which is why they call their method Tectonic Leadership.

The concept of Tectonic Leadership that moves into the tension of conflict to transform it mirrors what I have discovered in my own work in conflict transformation especially related to identity conflicts. The authors provide new language, communication tools and insights to move this collaborative journey forward toward peace and hope.

Reuniting the Children of Abraham
because we share a lot more than is dividing us

Reuniting the Children of Abraham by Naomi Rosenberg book cover
Click the cover to visit the book’s Amazon page.

Brenda’s new book, published in , gives readers all of the inspiring materials—and the practical methods—that Brenda has been using in her peacemaking programs over the past two decades.

Part of the materials about the many values and traditions shared by Jews, Christians and Muslims were developed for the Children of Abraham programs by a team from the University of Michigan. Many of the stories and insights in the book were shared in a CBS network documentary that was produced about the Children of Abraham project.

In other words, millions of Americans already seen some version of the Children of Abraham project either in theaters, workshops, the CBS network or online. Now, these building blocks for bringing together men and women from these three faith traditions is presented in book form. Amazon offers a hardback, paperback and Kindle edition.

We also published a Cover Story in ReadTheSpirit magazine when Brenda launched the book at a gathering of more than 100 Girl Scouts from across Michigan, plus their adult sponsors and mentors in a one-day educational event planned with the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Girl Scouts in a circle at the DIA
The Girl Scouts’ closing circle wound around stone pillars, across this vast lobby and into a nearby hallway to link all the more than 100 participants hand-to-hand in a pledge of unity. The girls had come from across Michigan on , for a special day of exploration and peacemaking under the banner: Reuniting the Children of Abraham. (Click the photo to read the whole story about this inspiring gathering.)

About David Crumm

David Crumm is founding Editor of Front Edge Publishing. Nationally, he is known as a veteran journalist—a top writer and editor—with experience both in the U.S. and overseas. He is based in Canton, Michigan, where he also serves as Editor of Read the Spirit online magazine. His columns on trends in media appear twice a month on our Front Edge Publishing website.

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