Healing the Heart of Democracy: The Courage to Create a Politics Worthy of the Human Spirit ~ Parker J. Palmer

At a critical time in American life, Parker J. Palmer looks with realism and hope at how to deal with our political tensions for the sake of the common good–without the shouting, blaming, or defaming so common in our politics today.

In his newest book, Parker J. Palmer builds on his own extensive experience as an inner life explorer and social change activist to examine the personal and social infrastructure of American politics. What he did for educators in The Courage to Teach he does here for citizens by looking at the dynamics of our inner lives for clues to reclaiming our civic well-being. In Healing the Heart of Democracy, he points the way to a politics rooted in the commonwealth of compassion and creativity still found among “We the People.”

“Democracy,” writes Palmer, “is a non-stop experiment in the strengths and weaknesses of our political institutions, local communities, and the human heart–and its outcome can never be taken for granted. The experiment is endless, unless we blow up the lab, and the explosives to do the job are found within us. But so also is the heart’s alchemy that can turn suffering into compassion, conflict into community, and tension into energy for creativity amid democracy’s demands.”

Healing the Heart of Democracy names the “habits of the heart” we need to revitalize our politics and shows how they can be formed in the everyday venues of our lives. Palmer proposes practical and hopeful methods to hold the tensions of our differences in a manner that can help restore a government “of the people, by the people, for the people.”
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Biography
PARKER J. PALMER is a writer, teacher and activist whose work speaks deeply to people in many walks of life. He is founder and senior partner of the Center for Courage & Renewal. His books include “A Hidden Wholeness,” “Let Your Life Speak,” “The Courage to Teach,” “The Active Life,” “To Know as We Are Known,” “The Company of Strangers,” “The Promise of Paradox,” “The Heart of Higher Education,” and “Healing the Heart of Democracy.”

He holds a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California at Berkeley, as well as eleven honorary doctorates, two Distinguished Achievement Awards from the National Educational Press Association, and an Award of Excellence from the Associated Church Press. In 1998, the Leadership Project, a national survey of 10,000 educators, named him one of the thirty most influential senior leaders in higher education and one of the ten key agenda-setters of the past decade.

In 2010, he was given the William Rainey Harper Award (previously won by Margaret Mead, Marshall McLuhan, Paulo Freire, and Elie Wiesel). “Living the Questions: Essays Inspired by the Work and Life of Parker J. Palmer,” was published in 2005. In 2011, the Utne Reader named him as one of “25 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World”–people who “don’t just think out loud but who walk their talk on a daily basis.” (See the Oct-Nov 2011 print or online edition.) He lives in Madison, Wisconsin.

For those of us who want to see democracy survive and thrive—and we are legion—the heart is where everything begins: that grounded place in each of us where we can overcome fear, rediscover that we are members of one another, and embrace the conflicts that threaten democracy as openings to new life for us and for our nation.

— from the “Prelude” in Parker J. Palmer’s Healing the Heart of Democracy
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Saracen Chivalry: Counsels on Valor, Generosity and the Mystical Quest ~ Pir Zia Inayat-Khan

Saracen Chivalry explores the space between Arthurian romance and the ethics and spirituality of Sufism. Framed as a medieval treatise penned by a fabled African queen, the book articulates a vision of life centered on the virtues of wisdom, courage, temperance, and generosity, illustrating these virtues with scriptural verses, prophetic sayings, sage maxims, and traditional legends and lore.

From the Back Cover
Queen Belacane is dying. As a last act, she inscribes a book of counsels, or prince’s mirror, to guide her newborn son on his life’s path. The Queen’s counsels illuminate the way of futuwwa, a tradition of mystical chivalry traced to the Prophet Abraham. If the Prince would unite the chivalries of Christendom and Islam and attain the Cup Mixed with Camphor, he must fulfill the pillars of his faith, and uphold the universal virtues of wisdom, courage, temperance, and generosity.

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Biography Pir Zia Inayat-Khan, PhD, is an Anglo-Indian scholar and contemplative leader. He is president of the Sufi Order International and founder of Suluk Academy and Seven Pillars House of Wisdom. He lives with his wife and two children in rural upstate New York.

Interview with Pir Zia Inayat-Khan

An interview with Pir Zia Inayat-Khan from the October 2008 Sufi Conference held on Asilomar Conference grounds.

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