Last month I wrote about how, on Pentecost, people were all talking in different tongues but understanding each other all the same. I think it is time to re-run this article. This country, and the world, seems to have become so polarised. We don't even want to listen to each other, much less understand them. I'll stand up and say I'm guilty. Read this again, and then see the new book suggestions that I have gathered for you.
"I've always heard that there are two topics of conversation that you should avoid at dinner parties, sorority rush parties, or any other time when you hope people will behave themselves. Of course, they are two of the most interesting topics: politics and religion. I find it fascinating to discuss politics and religion with like-minded people, but as soon as someone disagrees with my views, things tend to go to hell in a handbasket. The other person, the disagreeable one, gets loud and confrontational, and I slink away because really, you can't change another person's opinions or beliefs. At least, no one has ever changed my opinions or beliefs.
Lately, we've been exposed to a lot of nasty political campaigning. (I'm still seething about a robo-call I received.) The ads and commercials haven't swayed any voters I know. When moderate politicians are reviled by their parties for working cooperatively, something is wrong. Lots of folks are wishing for more civility in politics.
Religion is another area that has seen more than its share of viciousness. The good news is that there are plenty of people who are learning about other religions and who are in intentional dialogue with others. For all the people who claim that you are headed to Hell (in or out of a handbasket) if you don't believe what they believe, there are probably just as many (maybe more?) who appreciate that there are many spiritual paths. If you would like to explore those spiritual paths, Plymouth Library has many books for you."
For civil discourse, try The Civility Solution: What to Do When People Are Rude by P M Forni (395 FOR), Talk to the hand: The utter bloody rudeness of everyday life by Lynne Truss (395 TRU), A World Waiting to be Born: Civility Rediscovered by M Scott Peck (174 PEC), or George Washington's Rules of Civility by the great man himself (973.41092 WAS).
For books on religious understanding and appreciation (not just tolerance), read The Faith Club, a Muslim, Christian, Jew - Three Women Search for Understanding by Priscilla Warner (201.5), Beyond tolerance : searching for interfaith understanding in America by Gustav Niebuhr (201.5 NIE), Getting to the heart of interfaith : the eye-opening, hope-filled friendship of a pastor, a rabbi & a sheikh by Don Mackenzie (201.5 MAC), Interfaith dialogue and peacebuilding (291.172 SMO), Toward a true kinship of faiths : how the world's religions can come together bu the Dalai Lama (Bstan-Êdzin-rgya-mtsho) (201.5 BST), or the children's book, The Christmas Menorahs: How a Town Fought Hate by Janice Cohn.