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Why We're Publishing "In Defense of Kindness"

Why We're Publishing "In Defense of Kindness"

On January 20, 2017, three hours into the Trump administration, Bruce Reyes-Chow and I Skyped about a book idea he had, The Kindness Project. 

Four years later, after years of name-calling, taunting, and bad behavior in all sorts of venues but most egregiously in the political realm, Bruce and Chalice Press are proud to share In Defense of Kindness: Why It Matters, How It Changes Our Lives, and How It Can Save the World.

Bruce, the former moderator of the Presbyterian Church (USA), has worked for the past 25 years helping individuals and organizations work through conflict having to do with technology, race, relationships, religion, leadership, and change. Those are challenging topics and conversations, the kind that can destroy a Thanksgiving meal or a life-long friendship with one unintended or misinterpreted word. Most of us won’t have to cross verbal swords with a social-media monster, but each of us can think of a time when we wish we’d been a bit kinder.

Goodness gracious, do we need this book!

Now, to be clear, In Defense of Kindness is not all flowers and chocolates. Far from it. To help us understand kindness, Bruce reminds us that we have lowered the kindness bar:

“… [T]o the point that simply not being violent, xenophobic, racist, misogynistic, or ableist is all one has to do in order to be kind. Dehumanization and dismissiveness have become the norm to such an extent that when we notice the infrequent whisper of a kind act or word or response, we are shocked into whipping our out smartphone, recording it, and sharing it with the world. Nowadays even the simplest acts of kindness are newsworthy and become viral sensations: being patient with an older person in the checkout line, providing help to someone who is of another race, taking time to assist someone with a physical disability, and yes, being a dad who shows emotion and compassion to their child.”

Bruce Reyes-Chow

Yes, rainbow-farting unicorns. Proceed at your own risk.

Perhaps the first thing you learned in your faith education as a core tenet was, “Do unto others as you would have them do to you.” We forget the Golden Rule far too often, a sense that’s exacerbated when we’ve been holed up with a few select family members for a year now. Kindness can be as rare as disinfectant wipes, but we must keep searching for it.

So many books are great reads and can teach you a ton, but when you’re done, you find yourself asking, “what now?” As with all Chalice Press books, In Defense of Kindness equips you to incorporate its message into your daily life. The book includes reflection questions and simple homework assignments that will stick with you—such as survey the interactions of your last twenty-four hours and decide if you were being “kind” or just “nice” or the more challenging name a current conflicted situation that you are having with a person, and commit to talking with them about it —our hope is that this book will change the way you live your life every single day.

Thank you for reading. We’re truly grateful for the opportunity to work with authors like Bruce who want to make the world a better place, one reader at the time. I look forward to hearing your own story of how In Defense of Kindness has changed your life, one interaction at a time.


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