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Living Without Enemies: Being Present in the Midst of Violence (Resources for Reconciliation) Paperback – June 28, 2011
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"Living Without Enemies is an amazing story of love and reconciliation. It is a powerful portrayal of how God loves us and inspires us all to love each other more deeply." (Leroy Barber, president of Mission Year)
"Living Without Enemies is a deeply human book that is disarming in its ability to illustrate the ironic turn of tragic yet restorative stories of victims who became perpetrators only to find themselves victimized by an inhuman system that fails to affirm human dignity and our need for grace. Striking in its honest, real-life accounts, Living Without Enemies is inviting, inspiring and illuminating. This volume is one of the most important and most urgent in the Resources for Reconciliation series. It is truly a timely plea for the urgent need for peace in a time when humanity is crying out for hope." (Chris Heuertz, international director of Word Made Flesh and author of Simple Spirituality and Friendship at the Margins)
"Living Without Enemies is exactly and perfectly what reconciliation literature should be. Informative, certainly. Moving beyond anything I would or could have ever expected. And above all, instructive of my soul and my own Christian practice. I am much in the authors' debt for their retelling of these stories and experiences." (Phyllis Tickle, author, The Words of Jesus: A Gospel of the Sayings of Our Lord)
"To rightly serve those in need is no small challenge. Helping can be unintentionally hurtful if done inappropriately. Samuel Wells and Marcia Owen offer a clear, carefully conceived road map into the sometimes confusing environment of crosscultural interpersonal relationships. Living Without Enemies is an excellent practical guide for forging redemptive relationships." (Bob Lupton, FCS Urban Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia, author of Renewing the City)
About the Author
Marcia A. Owen is executive director of the Religious Coalition for a Nonviolent Durham (RCND). She has also served as a sales and marketing manager and lay leader in the local United Methodist Church. In addition to her contracted duties she continues to be an active volunteer with RCND since joining the Coalition in 1993.
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Having lived in Durham, NC for much of the last decade, I appreciated the local connection, but what I enjoyed most was the authors naming something which I think most will have encountered if one has spent a significant amount of time working on a local issue. When one gets involved, it's generally with the conviction that something could be better and with at least some idea of how to help. Yet, the task of listening, learning (if this is undertaken) and involvement can radically change the form of that initial vision of helping and often the involvement can take one from "working for" through "working with," "being for" and "being with" those affected. It's a richer kind of involvement and often one finds oneself changing and being affected in ways that were unanticipated. You could say the book is about gun violence, but the gift of the book, I think, is providing a compelling picture of what it looks like to move beyond the stage of lack of engagement or opening a wallet for a cause to opening your heart and life to the world.
Quite a lovely book. [more at my blog]
The first model--working for--describes the scenario when one person with knowledge or skills helps another person who has a need. Legislative action, philanthropy, and many international relief and development initiatives are common examples of working for, and often this is the default position of the church toward those in need. According to Wells, however, this approach "perpetuates relationships of inequality" and does not produce long-term transformation, missing the crucial elements of empowerment and trust.
The second model--working with--is about entering into a shared project with people rather than doing a task for them, focusing on reciprocal relationships oriented toward a common goal. A common goal is important, but so is the entire process of partnering and working together, whether or not the goal is achieved.
Although working with overcomes many of the weaknesses inherent in working for, there is a third model--being with--that takes it one step further. Being with is more about relationships of mutuality than an overall project or program, as illustrated in the work Jean Vanier and L'Arche, the hospice movement, and elements of the New Monasticism. This approach recognizes that often problems cannot be solved, and we need simply to enjoy being together.Read more ›
The book is not of an overwhelming length, but it presents its themes clearly and thoroughly. Moreover, it's written in a very engaging manner which allows the reader to work through its concepts quickly and easily. As a book, "Living Without Enemies" is a rarity; it can be read, understood, and enjoyed in a single sitting, but its text can be contemplated, explicated, and put into practice throughout a lifetime.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Really interesting book with a nice combination of high level concepts and practical stories. Both work together but allow you to take away what feels right to you, without getting... Read morePublished 10 months ago by SarahH
Listen to authors, Marcia Owen and Sam Wells being interviewed on NPR at [...] The book is wonderful and hearing the authors speak about the ideas behind the book is illuminating.Published on August 29, 2011 by Mae
This book is exceptional and rare in its insights. To get a fuller idea, Google "Living Without Enemies", read the reviews and listen to the interview. Thank you Sam and Marcia.Published on August 27, 2011 by Robert