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Why this book? Why now?

October 28, 2017

 

After 20 years of pondering, “Should I write a book?” ... I finally did. It’s titled Ending Our Uncivil War: A Path to Political Recovery & Spiritual Renewal.

 

Timely, don’t you think? The pre-sale is underway. More on how you can order in a bit!

 

Four years ago, I saw a bumper sticker on an early morning bike ride. “Don’t believe everything you think.” My first thought was, “Haha, right!” Then (gulp), “Oh my, is that me?” My self-examination was underway. So was Ending Our Uncivil War.

 

Last year, I felt compelled to write about agape, or deep, profound love for each other, in a world that seems to have less of it at the moment. Many of us seem to have forgotten our common humanity. Civility is in decline. Out-shouting each other is the new way to talk. Our political interactions resemble episodes of "The Jerry Springer Show."

 

That bumper sticker began to make more sense.

 

It seems many people have become overly comfortable, while many more are super-certain and afraid of people with whom they disagree. We have more soldiers and fewer scouts. It also seems other people realize this; they are becoming less comfortable and more inquisitive, and are changing their routines. I believe being more of a scout and less of a soldier is one of the most important things we can do to end our uncivil war (early tip of the hat to Julia Galef for her recent TED Talk, “Scout vs. Soldier”).

 

My old comfort zone began to fade a decade ago. Since then, I’ve made many new friends that don’t look like my old friends. I no longer believe everything I think about quite a few things. Before the shift, I don’t ever remember listening to gay or lesbian couples talk about being judged by family members, or how a black legislator feels about a statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest a few yards from her chair as a lawmaker. I’m not seeking your consent when I share that. I am saying I hope you understand that I have more information than I used to have, and a better place from which to have a conversation. I like the sound of that better than telling anyone they’re wrong or worse, my enemy.

 

So I wrote this book! The literary journey begins with an invitation to you, the reader, to board a beautiful, spacious airplane and get well above today’s ground turbulence for a different perspective. There’s just one condition: You must check your political baggage, turn off your smartphone, and (gulp again), choose a seatmate who is either a political foe or someone who frustrates you to no end, maybe even someone you hate.

 

I have a seatmate on the plane – a homeless person. I share some of my personal journey about how regular service to the homeless significantly changed my heart and mind, and ended my judging. Many are now friends, some very good friends.

 

In the book, we explore examples of great people committed to regular “service in love” and how their daily approach enables them to handle with ease any negative comment, attack, dehumanizing Tweet or post. We visit spiritual topics like agape, countering rampant certitude and fear, and how to get our minds in better shape to process media. We explore the assault of free speech on many college campuses, the dangers of safe spaces and culture of victimization, and what we can do about all of it.

 

The last chapter is about bipartisan government reforms that you and your seatmate likely agree on, but for different reasons can’t discuss in this heated political environment. Or so it seems.

 

The last decade, I’ve been an advocate for small business at the state level. It’s been an eye-opening education of how complex many matters are. I’ve witnessed the good, bad and ugly in politics and policymaking. Importantly, I’ve seen several consistent requirements at the state level that keep our elected officials in check, regardless of the political party in charge.

 

Many states have good guardrails in place, requirements that most Americans agree on – like single-subject bills (“one bill at a time”), balanced budgets, and checks on regulators that prevent excessive authoritarianism by any party or special interest. Other bipartisan reform movements are underway, like term limits and redistricting reform, all of which will go a long way to improving civil discourse and strengthening Congress, the branch that’s missing in action right now.

 

Rather than bicker, withdraw or over-engage, I invite you to engage and incorporate spiritual and political solutions offered in the book and at my website, EndingOurUncivilWar.com.

 

Sound interesting? Cool! Here’s how you can pre-order the book, get involved and make a difference.

 

- Visit www.EndingOurUncivilWar.com, click Purchase and place your order for the hard copy version ($28) or paperback ($16). You’ll receive a signed copy of the book next month.

- You’ll soon be able to buy the book or eBook on Amazon.com or Apple iBooks. Projected live date is November 15.

- Invite me to speak at your club, function, civic group, church, place of worship, or university, and you can buy personally signed copies after the presentation.

- Tell your friends about the book and website.

- You also can follow the progress and discussion on the book’s Facebook page and my Linked In and Twitter accounts at the bottom of this website.

 

Thank you to the many people who have supported me on this journey. I hope you enjoy the book and are inspired to end our uncivil war.

 

Jim

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