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Holy Chaos: Creating Connections in Divisive Times

SKU 9780827215153

by Amanda Henderson

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Daily living and loving in our fraught and deeply divided world can be disorienting, unpredictable, exhausting, and scary. How do we find peace in the midst of the chaotic spaces? Connection in the midst of division? Healing in the midst of suffering?

In Holy Chaos, interfaith leader, activist, and pastor Amanda Henderson shares personal stories and practices from her work at the intersection of faith and politics to help us find connections in the midst of the religious and political divides in our country, our communities, and our families and friendships.

With warmth, wisdom, compassion, and humor, Henderson reflects on the core principles of radical loving in chaotic times: rooting down; embracing fear; engaging curiosity; showing up; accepting our brokenness; finding joy in each other; and letting go to chart a way forward with integrity and love in an increasingly hostile world.

Questions at the end of each chapter make Holy Chaos ideal for book groups, small group study, or deeper personal reflection.

Learn to lean into the messy, long-haul work of social change with Holy Chaos.

Small Group Special: Buy 10 or more copies of Holy Chaos and get a 40-minute Zoom call with Amanda Henderson for your group! Email us at to set up your author call.

Chapters include:

  1. I Still Love You: Getting to the Heart of the Matter
  2. First Things First: Seeking to Understand
  3. Rootbound: Taking Time to Think
  4. “I Can’t Breathe”: Seeing Fear
  5. Embracing Curiosity: Wonder as an Act of Justice
  6. Showing Up: Friendship as a Political Act
  7. Broken: Messing Up
  8. Cultivating Joy: Dance, Regardless
  9. Letting Go, Holding On: What About My Family?
  10. It Takes a Village: Building Community


"I wish I could go back twenty years in time and give myself a copy of Amanda Henderson's beautiful new book, Holy Chaos. It would have saved me so many mistakes. It would have inspired me to take worthwhile risks. It would have comforted me when the work of peace-making and justice-seeking seemed terribly hard. I'm so glad this book is now available for you, because we need you, right now, to become an agent in the holy work of building connections in these divisive times."Brian D. McLaren, author/speaker/activist

"Amanda Henderson is the perfect voice for these tumultuous times. With on the ground experience and the kind of leadership we desperately need for a better future, she offers us tangible ways to do our own inner work, bridge divides, and embody healthy change our world desperately needs. Holy Chaos is the perfect book for individuals and communities who want to not only learn but transform that learning into action."Kathy Escobar, Co-Pastor, The Refuge and author of Practicing: Changing Yourself to Change the World 

"Gracefully written, this book is a documented guide that leads its readers through a mix of religion and politics, fear and love, diversity and unity, poetry and prose, diversity and cooperation, defeat and joy surprisingly opening readers’ minds to the insightful interaction of what at first glance seemed to be contradictions. With unique skill, the author draws from multiple religions not to highlight differences or peddle ideologies but to introduce life-enhancing wisdom helpful for everybody."Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, President Emeritus, Interfaith Alliance, Pastor Emeritus, Northminster Church, Host, State of Belief Radio

"Amanda not only invites us toward vulnerability, but makes herself vulnerable on every page of this book. In doing so, she invites us to live this kind of life, and reveals this is fertile soil for us to come together, across our pain and difference, to pursue peace and justice."Michael Hidalgo, Lead Pastor, Denver Community Church, author of Changing Faith: Questions, Doubts and Choices About the Unchanging God

"Holy Chaos arrives just when we need it! Seriously insightful and delightfully entertaining, this enjoyable book guides us through the practical steps necessary to bridge the social, political and religious divides that threaten to permanently separate us from one another. For those who care about the bonds of family, friendship, neighborliness and the social fabric, Holy Chaos is just what’s needed!"Rob Schenck, President of The Dietrich Bonhoeffer Institute in Washington, DC and author of Costly Grace: An Evangelical Minister’s Rediscovery of Faith, Hope and Love

"Never has the release of a book been so well timed. As people of faith navigate the turbulent waters of our nations politics, it is helpful to have a guide that can bring us safely into harbor without sacrificing our souls. Amanda Henderson has not only studied the waters, but has braved them herself, leaping head first into the deep end of faith and politics."Jerry Herships, Founder of AfterHours Denver, author of Last Call, and Rogue Saints

"If you have ever experienced chaos in your world, community, family or your own heart, Amanda Henderson’s wise book is for you. She offers no easy answers, rather telling stories about her own and others’ experiences and inviting reflection on the holiness of our messy lives. Holy Chaos is a necessary book for these divisive times."―Jane E. Vennard, spiritual director and author of Fully Awake and Truly Alive: Spiritual Practices to Nurture Your Soul

"Amanda Henderson is a wise and generous teacher. She draws from her own experiences as pastor, activist and (most importantly) family member to show us all that every moment is an opportunity for building relationships.  In these fractured times, no one is more cherished than someone who can help us put the pieces back together.  I am blessed to know her and learn from her."Jack Moline, President, Interfaith Alliance

"Amanda Henderson's Holy Chaos is a powerful guide for people of faith who are perplexed by the challenges of our age and wondering how we might respond in impactful ways. Drawing on her stories and expertise as a pastor and community organizer, Henderson's book if chock full of practical insights and provocative invitations to create holy chaos in our communities to bring about the healing and redemption that our world so desperately longs for. This book is required reading for every community of faith seeking to make an impact in their world!"―Brandan Robertson, Lead Pastor of Mission Gathering Christian Church, San Diego, CA and author of True Inclusion: Creating Communities of Radical Embrace 

"What does Henderson mean by “holy chaos?” Based on her experiences as an interfaith activist as well as an ordained minister in the Disciples of Christ, her book plays on the reality that life is simultaneously holy and chaotic. She begins her book lamenting the election of 2016, and the fact that she and her parents were on opposite sides. But she is then motivated, as a person of faith, to seek ways to ameliorate disconnection. Her book does this by telling stories, providing questions for reflection, and offering charts that are good starting points for discussion. Henderson describes how fear appears in the body and can also be used as a tool of oppression. Next, she shares how different world religions deal with the fear of God, and how it can be used and abused by religious leaders Henderson maintains optimism throughout, demonstrating ways of moving beyond fear. Most of the book is devoted to dealing with productive ways of enjoying and cultivating love in the midst of holy chaos."
Library Journal Review