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“Recovering a Robust Public Life

A Review of
Healing the Heart of Democracy:
The Courage to Create a Politics
Worthy of the Human Spirit.

Parker J. Palmer.

Reviewed by Bob Cornwall.

[ This Review originally appeared in the ERB Print Edition, Vol. 1, #4.
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healing the heart of democracy - palmerHealing the Heart of Democracy:
The Courage to Create a Politics
Worthy of the Human Spirit.

Parker J. Palmer.
Hardback: Jossey-Bass, 2011.
Buy now: [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]

[ The reviewer recently named this book the 2011 book of the year on his blog. ]

Most Americans are proud of their democratic institutions, despite the many imperfections and stains on the nation’s record as a democracy. The freedoms enshrined in the Constitution of the United States have given hope to men and women of every race, ethnicity, religion, or social class, of a better future. Over time, we have developed a national mythology to give voice to these aspirations, including the declaration of the first of our two founding documents that “all [men] are created equal.” We have not always lived up to this premise, indeed, rarely have we done so, but it is there to remind us of who we might become, should we choose. Although Americans have an individualistic side to them, the Preamble to the Constitution begins with the words “We the People,” words that remind us of our interdependence as well as our independence.

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A Review of The Power of Religion in the Public Sphere.
By Judith Butler, Jürgen Habermas,
Charles Taylor, and Cornel West, et al.
Paperback: Columbia UP, 2011.
Buy now: [ Amazon – Paperback ]
[ Amazon – Kindle ]

Reviewed by Josh Wallace.

When I hear a sermon or a lecture, I often wonder what sort of script the speaker is using. Not just prepared remarks propped on the lectern or stored in the memory. I’m curious about the cultural scripts that shape and guide what she has to say, the tacitly assumed goals, strategies, evaluative criteria of public discourse.

The Power of Religion in the Public Sphere is less scripted than most essays collections in ethics or political philosophy. That’s because The Power of Religion isn’t an essay collection. It’s a conversation, minimally edited by Eduardo Mendieta and Jonathan VanAntwerpen, between Judith Butler, Jürgen Habermas, Charles Taylor, and Cornel West. And conversation occasionally careens outside the parameters of the lecture hall.

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