Friends in the New York City area –

I don't get to New York often enough - but I will be later this month. I hope you can come out on the evening of January 28.

http://www.allianceforfairfood.org/on-common-ground

I'll be there early - from 6:30 - 7 to sign books and meet folks if you can come early. Our panel will address a really important approach to social justice and compassion that all of us can participate in every single day through our daily life choices.

Hope to see you there. Please share in your Big Apple networks.

 

Here's a flyer

 

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It’s a tough subject – but important and unavoidable …

Here's a remarkable conversation between an Israeli Jew and a Palestinian Christian.

https://www.westernsem.edu/episode-5-6-sami-awad-jessica-montell-on-peace-in-the-holy-land/

If you sense, as I do, that Christian organizations often make the situation in the Middle East worse with some highly problematic theology mixed with equally problematic foreign policy, you'll be especially interested in their suggestions for how churches in the US can make a positive difference. Pay special attention to Jessica Montell at 4:40-5:40 ... so important! And don't miss the important distinction made by Sami Awad from 5:40 - 6:40. Real wisdom there that can help us all be part of the solution rather than part of the problem.

Thanks to Dr. Mae Cannon for her important peace work with and for Israelis and Palestinians, and thanks for all who love both Israelis and Palestinians as neighbors, refusing to scapegoat or minimize anyone, whether in the name of God/religion or politics/ideology.

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ANNOUNCING: A NEW CHILDREN’S BOOK! CORY & THE 7TH STORY! (And more!)

 

When it feels like the world is falling apart, we need to take a look at the stories we're telling ourselves.

The past couple of years have been a huge struggle for many people, as the world has seemed to turn toward its shadow: divisive, aggressive, selfish, fearful, and short-sighted.

It seemed like we were making forward progress - toward expanded understandings of human and civil rights, toward wider inclusion of voices previously silenced, towards creativity and compassion in the public square, but now, it feels like we've slammed on the brakes and thrown our culture into reverse.

What do we do? Do we panic? Do we give up? Do we respond to anger with anger, lies with lies, and fear with fear - and become what we're resisting?

My friend Gareth Higgins and I have been conspiring about a creative, constructive, life-giving way forward. Gareth worked as a peace activist in the struggles in Northern Ireland, and here in the US, he leads retreats, plans transformative learning experiences, and produces The Porch magazine that hosts a slow conversation about beautiful and difficult things. 

We believe that ...

* amidst the struggle, suffering, and lament, we're currently living in a moment of great possibility.

* no matter who occupies positions of public authority, each of us has the opportunity to transform the world for the better.

* if we want to change politics, religion, education, entertainment, economics, or science ... we need to change the stories that frame our lives.

That's why we've written an exciting new book especially for children, along with a companion book for adults - aimed at bringing hope and practical guidance to the conversation about how to live, now that the six old stories of of fear and violence are breaking down before our eyes.

 

 

Each book, in its own way, offers a big view of human history, and invites readers to defect from the six old stories of domination, revolution, isolation, purification, victimization, and accumulation. And most important, each book invites readers to step into a seventh story ... a story of reconciliation, of humans with each other, with Earth, and ultimately with love itself.

Here's what Gareth says:

"The Seventh Story is, quite simply, the most exciting idea I've ever encountered, and in living with it for the past couple of years in co-authoring these books, my life has radically changed. I see the pain around me, and the monumental challenges, and even though I can get as depressed as any of us, I no longer despair.

I've stumbled onto a way of hearing and telling the story of our lives that generates hope amidst catastrophe, invitation amidst opposition, a larger way of thinking about life that has reawakened a sense of purpose, meaning, and safety, and perhaps even some courage.

I've never been more confident of an idea's power to change the world for the better."

Because we all say and believe that children are our future (as well as our delightful neighbors in the present), we've written one of the books for kids. It's called Cory and the Seventh Story (beautifully illustrated by award-winning illustrator Heather Lynn Harris) and is aimed at kids aged 6-10 years old. But we keep hearing from grownups that they too find it a really helpful way to awaken their own sense of wonder, imagination, and old dreams that they thought they had lost. It's a fable about "Us" and "Them", and we can't wait for you to see it.

We've also written a companion book for adults, called The Seventh Story: Us, Them, and the End of Violence. It's a short attempt at telling a long story: where violence comes from; how humans have developed six ways of telling the story of our lives, and how a Seventh Story has emerged - a story of reconciliation, in which all our lives are inseparable from each other other, from Earth and its ecosystems, and love itself. It invites nothing less than a total change of being - one step at a time.

You can purchase Cory and the Seventh Story and The Seventh Story now.  If you'd like to learn more and order, head over to www.theseventhstory.com.

Thanks! Please help spread the word!

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A Reader Writes: As a Gay New York Jew …

A reader writes:

As a gay New York Jew who was tormented by Southern Baptists when I was moved to Texas as a teen in the 1970s, this here needs saying.

We Christians, in particular, need to face the degree to which white Christianity has failed – grievously, tragically, unarguably failed – to teach its white adherents to love their non-white neighbors as themselves. Congregations of all denominations need to make this an urgent priority – to acknowledge the degree to which white American Christianity has been a chaplaincy to white supremacy for centuries, and in that way, has betrayed the gospel. Our Christian leaders need to face the deep roots of white Christian supremacy that go back to 1452 and the Doctrine of Discovery, and before that, to the tragic deals made by 4th Century Bishops with Emperor Constantine, and before that, to the rise of Christian antisemitism mere decades after Jesus. This tense season of our history needs to be, quite literally, a come-to-Jesus moment for Christianity in America.

Thank you.
I wish I could tape this paragraph to the wall in the catacombs of the Vatican when we visit there next week.
Thanks for writing. I hope your trip to Rome was meaningful - I'm "taping" your note and the quote to this little corner of the wall of the internets. Have a great 2019!

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Do You Want to Start the New Year with a New Story?

Cory and the Seventh Story, co-written with my friend Gareth Higgins, an Irish peace activist and master storyteller, and illustrated by Heather Lynn Harris, invites you to live into a new story.

 

Cory and the Seventh Story  is now available for purchase. It will help you recognize six stories that lead to sadness and fighting ... and it will help you choose a seventh story that equips you to live as a peacemaker and joy-sharer. It's written for young readers (ages 6 - 10), but it's relevant for people of all ages.

It's available now, only from our online store.

You can also order our companion e-book for adults, The Seventh Story: Us, Them, and the End of Violence.

You can learn more here and order here.

https://brianmclaren.net/store/

https://www.theseventhstory.com/

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