The kinds of polarized issues that exist today are not new. They have existed for ages and some may never be resolved. What is different today is the intensity of anger, hatred, and the emotionality expressed. Society (at both governmental and the church community levels) seems unable to move ahead and deal with the problems at hand. We are stuck. The approach Ronald Richardson describes in this book for resolving them is unrelated to a specific political agenda on either the left or the right.
The church can be a victim of the polarizing process and see its community life severely damaged by it. Some church members want to heighten this process. However, most people in the church and society want to handle their divisive issues more maturely and reduce the polarization in order to move ahead on solving the social/political problems that keep society stuck. This book is for them. The book offers practical and specific advice on dealing with polarized situations based on Richardson's own personal experience in a number of settings.
Church leaders who want to be a positive force for change within polarized situations in their church or community will benefit immensely from this book. Both clergy and lay members can learn from the book, and their congregational life will improve as a result. Adult education groups will also find it a useful tool for discussion.
Yet the men and women in her novels struggle with the same passions we have, and they ask the same questions: Is this person the one? What is love anyway? Do I want to spend my life with him (or her)? How can I nurture a satisfying relationship?
A significant amount of our happiness in life depends on how good our relationships are. Just as in Jane Austen’s time, learning to love and be loved and having truly close and committed partners are major goals in life, regardless of our material station.
Austen had a keen insight into the ways we can create and maintain good relationships. In her books, she shows that to have good relationships, people need to have good character arising out of emotional maturity and a strong sense of themselves. In this book, Ronald Richardson draws on his experience as a marital counselor to unpack this knowledge for us, using examples from Jane Austen’s stories to reveal how you can make your own relationships better.