Archives for August 2011

The Life of Meaning

The Life of Meaning

Reflections on Faith, Doubt, and Repairing the World

By Bob Abernethy and William Bole, with a Foreword by Tom Brokaw

Nautilus Book Awards Gold Winner 2008

The Life of Meaning presents conversations with 59 extraordinary people speaking candidly about their own spiritual struggles. Their insights on community, prayer, suffering, religious observance, the choice to live with or without a god, and the meanings that are gleaned from everyday life form an elegant meditation on the desire for something beyond what we can see and measure. Among those profiled are Desmond Tutu, Jimmy Carter, the Dalai Lama, Harold Kushner, Madeleine L’Engle, Studs Terkel, Andrew Greeley, Anne Lamott, Francis Collins, Marianne Williamson, Irving Greenberg, Thomas Lynch, Thich Nhat Hanh, Marilynne Robinson, and William Sloane Coffin. …read more

About TheoPol

Welcome to TheoPol—a writing project that ran for four years. During much of that time, it featured weekly snapshots of interconnections between theology and politics. The questions—as to what these connections are, or should be, and whether there should be any at all—remain current.

In one light, theology and politics should have little to say to each other.

Theology is reflection upon the experience of faith. It is the way we think about the ultimate, whatever our ultimate cares and concerns may be. Politics rightly deals with sublunary questions, like how to tackle a public problem at a particular time, given the constraints and opportunities.

Theology can be cast as a view from the cosmos. In comparison, politics is a street-level transaction.

In another light, almost everyone has ultimate concerns.

Religious adherents and secular souls alike have embedded values, whether these are declared or not. Such values and assumptions will surface in politics, particularly during periods when critical masses are moved by the immaterial dimensions of life, struggle, and conflict. This appears to be one of those times.

TheoPol looks at the phenomenon through a journalistic lens. The interconnections are teased out from current affairs; also highlighted are stories of those who have grappled with the question of where to set the dial between theological conviction and political action.

Of particular interest is the cast of theological characters who coalesced during the civil rights and antiwar campaigns of the 1960s. They were present at the creation of the modern theology-and-politics movement and include iconic figures such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, the Rev. William Sloane Coffin, the Rev. Richard John Neuhaus, and Father Daniel Berrigan.

They and many others, of varying theological strains, are counted among the TheoPols.

TheoPol is authored by William Bole.

The Idea Hunter

The Idea Hunter

How to Find the Best Ideas and Make Them Happen

By Andy Boynton and Bill Fischer, with William Bole

The Idea Hunter challenges many assumptions about how great ideas are discovered and who discovers them. Drawing on a plethora of academic research as well as interviews, the authors show that outstanding business ideas do not spring from innate creativity or necessarily from the minds of brilliant people. Rather, breakaway ideas come to those who are in the habit of looking for such ideas—all around them, all the time.

These are the Idea Hunters. Such people do not buy into the starry-eyed notion that the only great idea is a pristinely original one. They know better. They understand that high-value ideas are already out there, waiting to be spotted and then shaped into an innovation. …read more

Forgiveness in International Politics

Forgiveness in International Politics

… an alternative road to peace

The whole notion of forgiveness—as a geopolitical prospect—can seem counterintuitive in an age when people crash planes into skyscrapers. And yet, forgiveness has shown itself to be real enough, and strategically useful in helping to repair relationships that have been long sundered in a number of fractious societies.

Based on a seven-year research and dialogue project conducted at Georgetown University, Forgiveness in International Politics presents case studies of conflict transformation in South Africa, Northern Ireland, Bosnia, and other nations. The book explains how political leaders such as South Africa’s Nelson Mandela and South Korea’s Kim Dae Jung helped heal political wounds by engaging in “transactions of forgiveness,” which include gestures of forbearance from revenge and public acknowledgements of wrongdoing.

Such acts and interventions have pointed the way toward a “politics of forgiveness,” according to the authors. …read more

Organized Labor and the Church

Organized Labor and the Church

Reflections of a “Labor Priest”

By George G. Higgins, with William Bole

In this engaging and highly readable work, Msgr. George Higgins—the dean of American Catholic social action—draws on nearly 50 years of direct involvement in the cause of working people and their unions.

Together with his coauthor William Bole, Higgins writes as both eyewitness and seasoned observer. He revisits the significant moments in the 20th century encounter between religion and labor. He introduces us to some of the great labor leaders across the decades: John L. Lewis, Philip Murray, Walter Reuther, George Meany, Cesar Chavez, and others. …read more