How to Heal Our Divides: A Practical Guide – NEW BOOK ALERT!!!

Hello World,

At this juncture in our nation’s history, when discussions of Juneteenth, critical race theory, voter rights, police brutality particularly toward black men, etc. are on a national stage, Brian Allain’s new book How to Heal Our Divides: A Practical Guide has been released at a critical time. Below is a description of his timely book.

Our country has become quite polarized – what do we do about it?

Recent times have put a spotlight on the deep divisions in our society. Much has been written that acknowledges and describes racial, political, religious, and other divides, but there is little practical information on what we can do about them. How to Heal Our Divides highlights organizations that are taking real action to address these issues and heal divides in effective and practical ways. See how you can help make the world a better place.

I first met Brian when I attended his inaugural Publishing in Color writers conference at News Brunswick Theological Seminary in New Brunswick, New Jersey in 2018. The goal of this writers conference is to “increase the number of books published by spiritual writers of color. This includes groups such as African Americans, Asian Americans, Latinx Americans, and Native Americans, who have been under-represented in terms of the number of published books.  We seek to achieve this objective in two ways: (1) Publishing in Color conferences, and (2) a TON of free resources for spiritual writers at Writing for Your Life.” In fact, this conference is one reason why I was able to write a cover story for Christianity Today magazine. Read that testimony HERE. 

But this post is about How to Heal Our Divides: A Practical Guide. See my interview with Brian about his book below.

1. As a white Christian man, what inspired you to write How to Heal Our Divides: A Practical Guide?

There were three different things I experienced in 2020 that gave me the idea and motivation to pull together this book. First was my increasing distress with the polarization of our country. Second was the success of a video interview series called “Reading Hope in Trying Times” that I started right after the pandemic hit. I kept getting introduced to more and more people to interview, which was great. This in turn gave me the idea to do some sort of interview series after the election to address our country’s divides. The idea morphed from an interview series into a book with 33 different contributors. The third experience was that I read more than usual, and read several books about racial, political and religious divides.  They were all mostly about the history behind the issue, or about how we should look inside ourselves to examine our own biases. All very good subjects, but I found very little written recommending what to do about it. So I decided to focus the book around that – creating a practical guide filled with examples of organizations actually doing something to heal these serious divides.
2. What in your background prepared you for this work?
Without question, what made the book possible, and made it possible to pull together so quickly, was my network of relevant relationships with thoughtful, caring people who would either write a chapter or introduce me to someone appropriate who would. Many of the chapters are written by people leading organizations doing healing work across some set of issues.
3. Honestly, at this point, do you think through this book, our “divides” can truly be healed?
Well, I hope so!  It certainly won’t happen through the book alone, but rather by people actually getting involved with one or more of those organizations so that their efforts reach more and more people. The primary divides I wanted to address in the book were racial, political, and religious divides. But there is also a chapter that addresses bridging the divide between what are typically described as “fully-abled” and “less-than-fully-abled” or “disabled” individuals.

And what makes this guide practical?

What makes the book so practical is that it features all these organizations that are actually doing something Not just talk; not just theory; not just history. But actually holding training programs, discussion forums, hands-on experiences, and other means by which people can both learn and experience transformational change.

4. How to Heal Our Divides: A Practical Guide has several co-authors or contributors. Who are they?

How were these co-authors or contributors selected and what was their response when you approached them about this project?

I am blessed with a network of relationships with people who are already active in this type of work, so I reached out to them for their recommendations, and requested many introductions to individuals and organizations that I thought were a potential fit. I also wanted a diversity of voices, backgrounds, and areas of focus. I was incredibly grateful at how positive the response was. In a matter of a few weeks I had accumulated more YES agreements to participate than I had set as my goal. I was originally aiming at 25-30 contributors and ended up with 33.  Not only that, during the time since I stopped recruiting (because I had exceeded my goal) I have learned about many additional organizations that are doing similarly relevant and effective work. So I am hopeful that we can publish a second book, full of additional practical examples.

5. In the first chapter “Healing Our Divides: Why This Matters”, author Brian D. McLaren describes confirmation bias, complimentary bias and community bias, what are these biases and how do these biases impact our “divides?”

Brian McLaren wrote an excellent, inexpensive eBook that describes these and several other forms of bias. It is titled “Why Don’t They Get it? Overcoming Bias In Others (and Yourself)” and can be found here: The book includes examples of how Jesus used effective language to minimize the impact of these biases. An excellent read! 

Also, in the first chapter, I read that many stories of divisions being healed were included in the book such as Jeff Burns, who was “transformed from a self-described rabid Islamophobe into a peacemaker”; David Bailey, “who is helping people get a foretaste in the present of a more peaceful future among races”; and Mark Feldmeir, who describes how “faith communities are playing a role in un-dividing America.” What is your favorite story or chapter in the book and why?

Wow! That is almost like asking me which is my favorite child!  I have honestly not given any thought as to how to rank them. I am simply extremely grateful to all of the contributors for doing such a wonderful job. I think their chapters are well-written, and I am very impressed with the work their organizations do every day. And this project was on a very tight schedule with tough deadlines, so I greatly appreciated their timeliness in meeting those deadlines so that the book could be introduced quickly. I didn’t start recruiting contributors until late November, and we had a book available to order by May 18. That could not have happened without a massive amount of cooperation.

6. Who is your ideal audience for the book, and how do you plan to reach them?

I think the primary audience are people who already “get it” – they understand that our country has many very serious issues that need to be dealt with – and they want to take action in a way that will resolve the problems. Not sweep them under the rug, not demonize “the other side”; not just fight about it. They want to get out there, work with people, and solve problems!

7.  According to your biography, you have developed and led spiritual writers conferences at Princeton Theological Seminary, Drew Theological Seminary, Western Theological Seminary, the University of Southern California, Belmont University, New Brunswick Seminary, and several churches all as a second career. You were formerly in the business and technology world, what inspired this second career?

When I turned 60 I asked myself “what do you want to do with the rest of your life?” I had the great fortune to have worked for Frederick Buechner and his family, to bring him online and introduce him to a new generation of readers. So I decided to start Writing for Your Life (followed by Publishing in Color and other projects) in order to take what I had learned working for Mr. Buechner and help other Christian writers. It has been an amazing blessing!

Brian Allain leads Writing for Your Life, a resource center and conferences for spiritual writers, which includes the Publishing in Color conference series, intended to increase the number of books published by spiritual writers of color. Brian also leads the teams that produce Compassionate Christianity and How to Heal Our Divides. Previously Brian served as Founding Director of the Frederick Buechner Center where he led the launch of Mr. Buechner’s online presence and established several new programs and strategic partnerships.

Brian has developed and led spiritual writers conferences at Princeton Theological Seminary, Drew Theological Seminary, Western Theological Seminary, the University of Southern California, Belmont University, New Brunswick Seminary, and several churches. He led the publishing effort for the book Buechner 101: An Introduction to Frederick Buechner, in collaboration with Anne Lamott. All of this is a second career, coming after successful business and technology leadership in high-tech. Brian has an MBA from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was designated a Palmer Scholar, their highest academic award.

For more information about Brian, go to,, and

Any thoughts?

Celebrating Juneteenth, the Federal Holiday!!!

Hello World,

In honor of Juneteenth becoming a federal holiday as of last week, I wanted to share an excerpt of an article I wrote for Urban Faith about Juneteenth. It’s particularly sad that Rev. Ronald V. Myers Sr., chairman of the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation, who I interviewed for the article in 2016 did not live to see this milestone in African American history in this country happen…See “National Observance of Juneteenth Still a Struggle”…

With the release of films such as 12 Years a Slave and The Birth of a Nation and the re-make of the “Roots” mini-series in 2016, we have seen our fair share of the history of black slavery. However, the past few years may have marked the beginning of a burgeoning interest of millennials and younger in exploring slavery, the eventual emancipation of slaves and beyond.

While the official date of the Emancipation Proclamation freeing slaves was enacted on Jan. 1, 1863, it would take two years for slaves in Galveston, Texas to learn of their freedom on June 19, 1865 when Union General Gordon Granger arrived in the city and told them they were free. In years since, June 19 began to be celebrated across the country as Juneteenth and in 1980, the Texan legislature established Juneteenth as a state holiday. Still, the celebration of Juneteenth, which has been inconsistent throughout the course of history, has yet to achieve the recognition and popularity of other official American holidays.

Rev. Ronald V. Myers Sr., chairman of the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation, has been working since 1994 when he helped organize the foundation that is working to have Juneteenth recognized as a national American holiday. “Forty-five states recognize Juneteenth as a state holiday or a special day of recognition or observance. We’re still missing North Dakota, South Dakota, New Hampshire, Montana, and Hawaii,” says Myers.

Myers learned about Juneteenth through celebrations in his hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. “We had one of the largest celebrations around and it was then that I began to understand the history of our freedom in America, and I took that with me wherever I went.”

Read the rest HERE.

Thank you to 94-year-old Ms. Opal Lee who continued Rev. Myers’ work!!! There is more work to be done, but this federal holiday is a cause for celebration.

Any thoughts?

The Top 10 Blog Posts and or Magazine Articles for Black Christian Women in May 2021…

Hello World,

I’m back with my monthly roundup of blog posts and or magazine articles for black Christian women! Below is my Top 10 monthly roundup of blog posts and or magazine/newspaper articles for black Christian women for May, but you don’t have be a black Christian woman to to check them out. As usual, let me know if you like my list! Enjoy and share!

1. “Oldest Living Tulsa Massacre Survivor Viola Fletcher Celebrates 107th Birthday” by Ny Magee

Excerpt: The oldest known survivor of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre recently celebrated her 107th birthday.  Viola Fletcher was seven-years-old when racist whites unleashed their deadly wrath on the Oklahoma city in June 1921. She celebrated her milestone birthday on May 5, and her special day was also acknowledged by the Greenwood community on Monday. Speaking to Oklahoma State University’s Oral History Research Program in 2014, Fletcher said her secret to longevity was “Sleeping and eating and exercising. It’s no problem with me.” As theGrio previously reported, many died and thousands of Black residents were injured during the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre after angry white mobs attacked the area once known as ‘Black Wall Street.’ See more at:

2. “NBC unit adapting Stacey Abrams political thriller for TV” by Mychael Schnell

Excerpt: An NBCUniversal unit has acquired the rights for Stacey Abrams’s new political thriller for a small-screen adaptation. Working Title Television, part of NBCUniversal International Studios, won a bidding war for the rights to Abrams’ latest book, “While Justice Sleeps,” which was released on Tuesday, according to The Associated Press. The book, published by Penguin Random House, deals with a Supreme Court justice who falls into a coma, leaving the court and country in turmoil. It reportedly tells the story of young law clerk Avery Keene, who is pulled into the spotlight when her boss falls ill. See more at:

3. “3 Romance Novels by Stacey Abrams to be Reissued” by Associated Press

Excerpt: Nothing like a prominent life in public service to help your other career as a romance novelist. At least that’s the case for Stacey Abrams. Berkley announced Tuesday that it had acquired rights to three out-of-print novels by Abrams that she had written nearly 20 years ago under the name Selena Montgomery. Berkley, a Penguin Random House imprint, will begin reissuing the books — “Rules of Engagement,” “The Art of Desire” and “Power of Persuasion” — in 2022. See more at:

4. “Simone Biles Becomes First Woman to Land Yurchenko Double Pike in Return to Competition” by Wayne Sterling

Excerpt: Defending world champion gymnast Simone Biles became the first woman to land the Yurchenko double pike vault move in competition at the GK US Classic in Indianapolis on Saturday. The Yurchenko double pike — a high-difficulty skill historically only done by men — is a roundoff onto the springboard, followed by a back handspring onto the vaulting table, and ending with a piked double backflip into the air to landing. Biles, 24, performed the move and then added two extra hops for a slightly imperfect landing. “I was just thinking, ‘Do it like training. Don’t try to like overdo anything,'” she said afterward, “because I have a tendency as soon as I raise my hand to kind of overpower things, and I did a little bit, but at least I was on my feet. It’s a new vault and I’m proud of how today went.” See more at:

5. “Naomi Campbell’s Mother Celebrates Baby: ‘I’ve Waited a Long Time to be a Grandmother'” by Safeeyah Kazi

Excerpt: Naomi Campbell’s mother Valerie Morris-Campbell has said she is “beyond thrilled” to be a grandmother. Her supermodel daughter announced the arrival of her first child, a baby girl, in an Instagram statement on Tuesday, with a snap of her daughter’s feet in her hands. See more at:

6. “Poet Maya Angelou and Astronaut Sally Ride Will Be the First Women Honored on Series of Quarters” by Jen Juneau 

Excerpt: The U.S. Mint is honoring 20 trailblazing women on a new series of quarters, starting with Maya Angelou and Dr. Sally Ride. The poet and the NASA astronaut will be the first two women featured on the back of the coins, which are debuting in January and will continue in circulation through 2025 as part of the American Women Quarters Program. U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee said in a statement that “for too long, many of the women who have contributed to our country’s history have gone unrecognized, especially women of color.” See more at:

7. “Former Uber Driver Earns Bachelor’s Degree after a Passenger Paid off her Debt” by Rachel Trent

Excerpt: A single mother who used to drive for Uber has a bachelor’s degree now thanks to a passenger from three years ago. It’s a big milestone for Latonya Young, who dropped out of high school when she was 16 to raise her first child, then later dropped out of college. In 2018, Young was an Uber driver, a hair stylist and a mother of three. She told one of her passengers in Atlanta her story and how she couldn’t re-enroll at Georgia State University because of a $700 balance she owed. See more at:

8. “Yamiche Alcindor to host ‘Washington Week’ on PBS” by Sytonia Reid

Excerpt: Journalist Yamiche Alcindor is making history by becoming the second Black woman to moderate Washington Week, following her mentor, Gwen Ifill. This Friday, the PBS NewsHour White House correspondent will film her first episode in the moderator’s seat for the acclaimed primetime news program. Alcindor’s move follows the 2020 departure of journalist and previous moderator, Robert Costa from the show.  “I know how much ‘Washington Week’ meant to Gwen, and how much she put her stamp on the legacy of the show,” Alcindor, told the New York Times. “I also feel this incredible responsibility to think deeply about taking this on and making it a show that people want to watch, that people will feel is living up to its great legacy.” See more at:

9. “Celebrating the First Harvard Business School African-American Mother-Daughter Duo” by B.J. Wiley Williams

Excerpt: I’ve always admired my mom, Benaree Pratt Wiley, and her courage, and was amazed when I discovered she was one of twenty-eight women out of 800 in Harvard Business School’s Class of 1972. During her tenure, they didn’t even have a designated women’s restroom in Aldrich. While the experience was one of the hardest in her life in a white-male dominated institution, the struggle was worth it. Growing up, I noticed the value of the Harvard MBA experience, especially as a Black woman. It gave her the skill sets, credibility, and community to have an influential career. It allowed her to take risks that she might not have felt as comfortable with otherwise, like following her passion to found and build The Partnership, a sustainable social enterprise that has forever changed the fabric of Boston’s business community, especially for people of color. Even after stepping back from full-time work, she’s continued to drive impact through her current five Corporate/Non-Profit boards helping to strengthen their governance and commitment to diversity and inclusion. So I knew at an early age that I wanted to go to business school so that I would have the leadership training, resources, and community support to amplify my journey and contribution. Little did I know, we’d become the first African-American mother-daughter duo to graduate. See more at:

10. “At 14-Years-Old, Trinitee Stokes Makes History As The Youngest Person In History Accepted To Emerson College” by Brooklyn White

Excerpt: At the age of fourteen, actress Trinitee Stokes became the youngest Black person and the youngest enrolled student to ever be admitted to Emerson College! Stokes is a budding actress who appeared alongside Oscar-winner Zendaya on Disney’s K.C. Undercover and ABC’s Mixed-ish. “We are enormously excited to welcome Trinitee to Emerson,” said Lee Pelton, the president of Emerson College, in a press release. “She is a remarkably talented young woman in several dimensions, and I have no doubt she will succeed at Emerson.” Stokes plans on majoring in Political Communication and minoring in Public Diplomacy. See more at:

If you know of any black Christian women bloggers and or writers, please e-mail me at as I’m always interested in expanding my community of black Christian women blog, magazines and websites. As I noted before, while this is a roundup of interesting blog posts and or magazine and newspaper articles for black Christian women, you don’t have to be one to appreciate these pieces  🙂.

Any thoughts?