The first book published by Small Change Publishing, Peacemaking: A Community Workbook, is a little book written for groups of people who want to live lives of peace in a violent world, people who would like to understand and respond to the things that undermine peace in the places where they live. Written primarily to those who benefit from privilege, the book tries to help people grapple with the underlying problems that contribute to the systems of anti-peace: denial of complicity, the hiddenness of systemic violence, and the coercive silencing of victims.
This is a workbook and tries to create space and opportunity for people to not just read and take in new (or old) ideas and information, but it tries to provoke, as well as provide structure and resources to respond. The book contains short essays as well as discussion questions and there is accompanying digital media available on the web at cedarparkchurch.org/peacemaking.
Early readers have given it some positive reviews:
Over the years I’ve read a lot of excellent books on peacemaking from Anabaptist as well as other traditions. Matt Balcarras’ workbook is a great introduction and addition to this collection. His unique contribution is his emphasis on “hidden violence and the denial of complicity,” which is mentioned in his subtitle. In response to this sensitivity are suggestions for how we can make the necessary effort to preserve “epistemic humility” – a constant willingness to question our perspectives based on empathy for those who are the least privileged. The workbook is a great tool for a small group interested in exploring the possibility that a peacemaking approach is worth the risk.
Walter Thiessen, PhD – Dean of Arts at St. Stephen’s University and author of Glimpses of a Good Life
Matt Balcarras has filled a practical void in community peacemaking and alternative living with this insightful and honest workbook. Fidelity to the best of the past by reimagining and tailoring it for implementation in the present is a tricky under- taking, but Peacemaking: A Community Workbook has managed to enter a living story by drawing meaningfully from the gospel of peace and Anabaptist-Mennonite peace tradition to unmask our own compliancy in violence and injustice and lead us to a better way. I highly recommend this well organized and accessible book to communities who have a strong desire to tap into the rhythms of peace in their personal lives, church communities, and global engagement.
Andrew P. Klager, PhD — Adjunct Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies and Peace Theology at St. Stephen’s University and Research Associate at the Humanitas Anabaptist-Mennonite Centre at Trinity Western University
Check out the preface, introduction, and the first chapter in the attached .pdf, and email us @ email@example.com if you would like to get some copies for yourself.