Living Peaceably: A Short Checklist of Books

Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life by Marshall B. Rosenberg (PuddleDancer Press, 3rd edition, 2015). “Nonviolent Communication: a way of communicating that leads us to give from the heart,” Rosenberg writes. “We perceive relationships in a new light when we use Nonviolent Communication to hear our own deeper needs and those of others. … We are dangerous when we are not conscious of our responsibility for how we behave, think, and feel.”

Joy Unspeakable: Contemplative Practices of the Black Church by Barbara Holmes (Fortress, 2004). “The world is the cloister of the contemplative,” Holmes declares. “There is no escape. Always the quest for justice draws one deeply into the heart of God. In this sacred interiority contemplation becomes the language of prayer and the impetus for prophetic proclamation and action.” Peace is the Way: Writings on Nonviolence from the Fellowship of Reconciliation, edited by Walter Wink (Orbis, 2000). “Nonviolence is the human future,” Wink says. “As Martin Luther King Jr. said on the night before he was killed, ‘The choice is no longer between violence and nonviolence. It’s nonviolence or nonexistence.’”

Shadows of the Heart: A Spirituality of the Negative Emotion by James D. Whitehead and Evelyn Eaton Whitehead (Crossroad, 1994). “Being angry carries the conviction that something can be done,” they write. “This hope makes anger a friend of transformation, an honorable dynamic to change and growth. … People who are angry with one another are still significant in each other’s lives. Indifference is a greater enemy of reconciliation than is anger, because angry people are still linked.”

Handbook of Spirituality for Ministers: Perspectives for the 21st Century, Vol. 2, edited by Robert Wicks (Paulist, 2000). “In the face of unbridled individualism, solidarity is a powerful antidote to moral isolation and preoccupation with oneself,” writes William Reiser, one of the contributors. “The search for deep, lasting solidarity must be taken seriously as one of the major signs of our times.”

Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We’re in without Going Crazy by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone (New World Library, 2012). “What helps us face the mess we’re in is the knowledge that each of us has something significant to offer, a contribution to make,” they write. “An oyster, in response to trauma, grows a pearl. We grow, and offer, our gift of Active Hope.”