The Little Book of Dialogue for Difficult Subjects: A Practical, Hands-On Guide


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by Lisa Schirch, David Campt. Good Books, 2007.

Lisa Schirch and David Campt’s expertise and perspective as reconciliation and peacebuilding consultants shines in their Little Book of Dialogue. Schirch and Campt offer readers a foundation and process for individuals, communities, and groups to engage in a process of dialogue that ultimately leads to action. According to Schirch and Campt, dialogue is not conversation, debate, or discussion that results in winners and losers. Dialogue entails a willingness to learn from others, a desire to understand another person’s position, and a respect for others that does not require uniformity. The goal of dialogue is to “build relationships between people as they address a common concern.” Finally, dialogue is a vigorous process that leads to action. Schirch and Campt provide specific steps for organizing and designing a dialogue. Additionally, one chapter identifies the necessary skills of a facilitator and notes that these skills can be learned. Another chapter provides a “five part framework” for gauging the efficacy of a given dialogue. Congregations experiencing conflict or struggling to talk about difficult subjects may find this brief but thorough Mennonite resource perfect for their needs. It is appropriate for a variety of congregations and traditions and clergy and laity alike.

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