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Speaking Peace in a Climate of Conflict
HARDCOVER; Published: 5/19/2020
ISBN: 978-0-8028-7814-4
Price: $ 24.99
212 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 5 x 7.5
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What can we learn from contemporary writers about keeping public conversation compassionate, vigorous, faithful, and life-giving?

Those who want to avoid simplistic partisan rhetoric and use words in a challenging, spirited way need practical strategies. This book offers a range of them. 

Drawing upon the work of exemplary contemporary writers, Speaking Peace in a Climate of Conflict shows how to speak and write clearly and generously. For example, we can attend more carefully to the effects of metaphors, recognize and avoid glib euphemisms, define terms in ways that retrieve core meanings and revitalize them, and enrich our sense of history by deft use of allusion. 

Contemporary readers are awash in many words that have been cheapened and profaned. But with deliberate use of intelligence and grace we can redeem their “sacramentality”—humanely uttered words can convey life-giving clarity and compassion. Speaking Peace in a Climate of Conflict is an homage to outstanding wordsmiths who have achieved that potential and an invitation to follow them in making well-chosen words instruments of peace.

Table of Contents

1. Don’t Rely on Webster’s
2. Unmask Euphemisms
3. Remind People of What They Know
4. Embrace Your Allusive Impulses
5. Tell It “Slant”
6. Promote Poetry
7. Articulate Your Outrage
8. Find Facts and Check Them
9. Mind Your Metaphors
10. Complicate Matters
11. Laugh When You Can
12. Quit Trying to “Win”

“Our democracy sometimes feels more like a dystopia. The constant name-calling, raft of conspiracy theories, outrageous lies, and steady stream of disinformation put us on the defensive and make honest and compassionate communication increasingly difficult. Written with her signature intelligence and poetic flair, Marilyn McEntyre’s compelling new book, Speaking Peace in a Climate of Conflict, shows us how we might reclaim the nobility of language and its power to heal. It could not come at a better moment.”
— Paula Huston
author of Simplifying the Soul: Lenten Practices to Renew Your Spirit
“It’s commonplace to lament the loss of civil discourse, but few do anything about it. For years, Marilyn McEntyre has been quietly shepherding us toward God’s intention of language as a gift rather than a weapon. She’s done it again. We need her brilliantly crafted words more than ever to show us again how to speak, live, and act in accord with the beautiful gospel.”
— Leslie Leyland Fields
author of Your Story Matters: Finding, Writing, and Living the Truth of Your Life
“I can hardly imagine a more timely book at a more urgent time! Marilyn McEntyre has given us a startling reflection on words, metaphors, and poetry and how they illuminate or obscure the wide realms of politics, culture, and community. It is a book that is profoundly literate, vividly relevant, and plainly wise. It manages the rare feat of demonstrating both soaring vision and precise focus. The reader is startled into fresh insights that invite deeper forms of service and care.”
— Leanne Van Dyk
Columbia Theological Seminary
Englewood Review of Books
“These are not easy challenges McEntyre has laid out in this brief book, and they are not to be taken lightly. But it is imperative that we press forward through the fear and difficulty, bringing ‘what we have and what we can, given our time, energy competing commitments, particular gifts, histories, limitations, and passions, trying to be obedient to our calling’ (180).”