Three Books to Unite and Heal Communities
A RARE OPPORTUNITY TO JOIN THE NATIONAL CONVERSATION
By DAVID CRUMM
Editor of ReadTheSpirit magazine
A month from now, thousands of congregations nationwide will be kicking off virtual fall seasons of programming, complete with small groups and classes. Half a year into the pandemic, congregations now are well-equipped to offer online-streaming groups, many of which enjoy talking about inspiring new books as they gather.
This week, we are highlighting three authors who willing to help you lead and inspire those groups. Larry Buxton, Lucille Sider and Ken Whitt are offering to:
- Appear by zoom (or your preferred streaming service) before your discussion begins to provide an opening talk that can enrich your experience—and that might even draw more participants to your group to hear their helpful and hopeful messages.
- Appear by zoom during your opening discussion to introduce the timely themes in their new books.
- Appear by zoom toward the end of your discussion series for a Q and A “time with the author,” once you’ve already had a rich discussion of their books.
- FINALLY, A SPECIAL NOTE TO CLERGY—Most clergy nationwide are part of small groups that meet occasionally to discuss everything from upcoming sermons to creative planning for families and Christian education. All three of these authors are willing to zoom with such planning groups as expert resources in a Q and A format—or to help spark creative planning for the new year.
BE AMONG THE FIRST IN THE NATION
Two of the three books we are highlighting today will not even be published until later this year. As a publishing house, we are issuing this rare public invitation to contact us directly to order early, pre-publication copies you can read and discuss. If you do order books from us and participate in one of these zoom options—then, you and your friends will become part of the emerging national discussion on these timely themes.
If you do choose to become one of the first-in-the-nation discussion groups, we want to hear more from you! We want to hear your ideas, insights and responses. We want to share them with others. If you choose, your voice and that of your congregation can be amplified through coverage of your experience in this online magazine. This is truly a unique opportunity to raise encouraging voices in our troubled world.
MAKING A REQUEST IS EASY
Just email us at [email protected]
and 30 Days with King David on Leadership
The Rev. Dr. Larry Buxton is a veteran teacher, leadership coach and long-time pastor. Larry serves on the faculty of Wesley Seminary, Washington, DC. During the fall season, Larry also will be launching a weekly, free “Leading with Spirit” video series that you, your friends and your small group will want to enjoy on a weekly basis. Your congregation can form an inspiring, ongoing relationship with this master teacher.
What’s in the book? In turbulent times, King David united a nation—and his hard-earned wisdom can bring us together today. This new 30 Days With book offers a month of readings. PLUS: A convenient discussion guide for small groups is included in the book.
Buxton’s book is a call for all of us to remember values that unite us. Answering that call in the opening pages are two nationally known political leaders—one a Democrat and one a Republican, who came together in these pages to urge all of us to read these 30 short stories drawn from David’s often tragically learned lessons about life.
An internationally known Bible scholar on the story of David, Wesley Dean Emeritus Dr. Bruce Birch, encourages congregations to enjoy and learn from Buxton’s book. Why? Because this triumphant-and-troubled hero from the Bible still can bring people together.
Is your community interested in interfaith dialogue this year? As a sacred figure, David is revered to this day by Jews, Christians and Muslims around the world.
CARE TO LEARN MORE?
Watch the video trailer for this book, which lists the core values covered in this new book about David. You can easily share that short video with your friends to spark interest. You’ll find that video in our Front Edge Publishing column about Larry’s book. Or, you can easily grab a shareable link to the video from YouTube itself.
Read—and share with others—the Foreword to this book by U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, a prominent Democrat.
Read—and share with others—the Preface to this book by Andrew Card, a prominent Republican. Together, these two opening letters to readers—included in the book—demonstrate why David can bring people together across the deep divisions that seem to be polarizing Americans right now.
and Light Shines in the Darkness
The Rev. Lucille Sider is a clinical psychologist and a clergy-person who earned both a master of arts in religion from Yale Divinity School and a master of science from the University of Kentucky. She was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Northwestern University in the fields of psychology and religion. Lucille was licensed as a clinical psychologist and became a Fellow in the American Association of Pastoral Counselors. She is an ordained minister by the First Congregational Church, Evanston, Illinois.
Lucille is a master storyteller, teacher and workshop leader. She courageously shares her own experiences in coping with sexual abuse and mental illness in her family. Then—just as she does in the pages of her helpful new book—Lucille is able to step back as an expert counselor and talk about ways families can protect the vulnerable and the ways adults who are still suffering the trauma of long-ago abuse can seek help.
Why is Lucille’s book so important in the midst of this pandemic? Because headline news reports throughout the summer say that abuse has risen during COVID-19. One example is an NBC News analysis of data from 43 states as well as the advice of experts in coping with abuse. NBC concludes that experts are alarmed by what seems to be shaping up as “an unseen surge in abuse behind closed doors due to COVID-19 related unemployment and financial strain.” Lucille’s message is that unseen trauma can fester for many decades in families, if we do not intervene and seek help.
Does this sound like a disturbing topic to raise in your congregation? On the contrary, this often turns out to be a warmly welcomed healing opportunity. You may be surprised, if you get a copy of Lucille’s honest-and-uplifting book and read it—then, invite men and women in your community to a group discussion of these issues. Millions of adults—including older adults—still struggle with the trauma of sometimes long-ago abuse. Some of those survivors are living in your community and may welcome a chance to find fresh insights and support.
Because Lucille’s book debuted before the other two books featured in this article, she already has experience with small groups where participants have been moved both by her story—and the constructive and compassionate wisdom she shares.
PLUS: A convenient discussion guide for small groups is included in the book.
CARE TO LEARN MORE?
Read our story about the launch of Lucille’s book.
Read this column by Lucille about some of the early group appearances she made before the COVID-19 shutdowns.
and God Is Just Love
The Rev. Ken Whitt’s book is not yet listed in Amazon for pre-sale, but will appear in the most popular online bookstores this autumn. Meanwhile, readers will be able to order books and receive them even before the official Amazon launch date. So, if you are interested in a visit from Ken, email us at [email protected] and we will let you know what’s available based on your schedule and the production timeline.
Ken is the Executive Director of Traces of God, a spiritual formation ministry founded after his retirement from 40 years of service to American Baptist Churches (ABC/USA). Ken’s ministries have focused on nurturing children, youth and families, mission trips, prayer and justice building. Through the ABC, he served on the General Board, the Board of International Ministries and the National Minister’s Council. His love of global diversity extends throughout his entire life from the communities with which he works—to the global variety of woods that fill his woodworking shop. Ken has four children and 11 grandchildren. His wife, Kathy, is a stained-glass artist, weaver, gardener and spiritual director.
What’s in the book? Ken’s full title is, God Is Just Love—Building Spiritual Resilience and Sustainable Communities for the Sake of Our Children and Creation. He likes to describe it as “a big book.” Here’s what he means: This book is big on hope—and even bigger on love that supports everyone who is concerned about the future world our children will inherit. Because of the big challenges we all face—from climate change to ever-deepening poverty in many regions of the world—we need to share big ideas and make big decisions. Ken invites his readers on a journey toward solutions where God’s guidance is our compass.
Because Ken has years of experience working with multi-generational groups, his book has lots of great ideas for adults to participate with children through stories, songs, art projects and especially stepping out into nature. The cover of his book illustrates a central story he shares of families looking up at the starry night sky with their children.
PLUS: His book closes with a list you’ll definitely want to share with your congregation of 100 Things You Can Do with Your Family right now.