February 21, 2018

Dear Colleagues,

Mary Ann Brussat from Spirituality & Practice and Michelle Scheidt from the Fetzer Institute will be attending the Wisdom 2.0 conference in San Francisco Thursday - Saturday of this week. We'll be talking with attendees about The Practicing Democracy Project and hosting two conversations in the Fetzer Lounge, Friday from 11 - 11:45 a.m. and Saturday from 2 - 2:45 p.m. We also will be hanging out there to listen to what people say about their hopes, fears, needs, and ideas for American democracy. Do stop by! 

Hannah Zuckerberg, a sophomore at Pitzer College in Claremont, is doing a field placement with S&P this spring. She's been going over the data from our online survey. We'll soon have a report for you on the themes that have emerged. You can still take the survey, if you haven't yet or if you have more to tell us. It's here: http://www.surveymonkey.com/r/5JWJD3T  

Below are links to new content for the Project on the website.

Salaam, Shalom, Shanti, Peace,

The Practicing Democracy Project Team

Topic: Anger
Does anger serve us well or hinder us? The answer depends on the context. There is anger that separates, yet anger also can break down barriers. There is anger that hardens our hearts, yet anger can open us to life's fullness. In this new Topic, we offer you a palette of articles, books, quotes, spiritual practices, and more to help you consider in what ways anger and conflict destroy democracy and in what ways they help build it.  Here is a sampling of this content.

Is anger a major force in your life or a habit? Does it come out in unhealthy ways? On the "Personal Explorations" page, you'll find two quizzes for measuring your anger.

Many authors write about the effects of anger and what you can do about it in yourself and others. We've picked out our favorites by spiritual teachers from different traditions.

Pema Chodron, Deepak Chopra, Thich Nhat Hanh, Henri Nouwen, Mehmet Oz, and others offer their perspectives on anger in our collection of book excerpts.

It's probably not suprising, given anger's presence in everyday life, that so many movies depict the consequences of this emotion. Watching angry characters can help you get in touch with your own anger and find ways to deal with it.

"The Anger-Eating Demon," "A Special Jacket," "An Ungovernable Temper," and "Lesson from a Bee" show us through engaging stories some creative ways to regard anger.

We offer a wide range of spiritual practices for working with, embracing, defusing, transforming, reframing, and managing anger. We'd love to hear what happens when you try them. (To report on your practice experiences, just "reply" to this email.) 

Book: Uncommon Decency 
By Richard J. Mouw

Richard Mouw, who served as president of Fuller Theological Seminary for 20 years, wisely observes, "It is not enough merely to reclaim civility. We need to cultivate a civility that does not play fast and loose with the truth." Affirming diversity, he challenges us "to reflect the kindness and gentleness of God" and to respect the dignity of strangers whose beliefs and actions may be quite different from ours.  
Book: Frederick Douglass 
By D. H. Dilbeck

Frederick Douglass (1818 - 1895) has been called the father of the Civil Rights Movement and one of the most influential black men of the nineteenth century. In this biography, D. H. Dilbeck does a fine job discussing Douglass's leadership in the abolitionist and women's rights movements, his struggles with the idea of a just war, and his views of the Constitution as a morally flawed document written by those who had slaves.  
Film: Black Panther 
Directed by Ryan Coogler

What is a nation? What values does it stand for? Is it possible in this day and age for a country to be isolationist, ignoring the challenges and the needs of the rest of the world? Do powerful and rich countries have a responsibility to help others? These are some of the questions we will be exploring as we examine the values and visions of America's democracy. And, surprisingly, they are also the focus of a Marvel superhero movie.  
The Practicing Democracy Project is a collaboration between The Center for Spirituality & Practice and the Fetzer Institute. Seek more at PracticingDemocracy.net