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Thriving in the Crosscurrent
Clarity and Hope in a Time of Cultural Sea Change
James Kenney
ISBN: 9780835608763
Book (Paperback)
Quest Books
6 x 9
216 pages
May 4, 2010


"Are we living in an age of moral decay or moral growth?" James Kenney asks his audiences in talks in the U.S. and abroad. The pessimists win out, citing everything from road rage to economic crisis, religious fanaticism, global violence, and environmental disasters. But the good news, says Kenney, is that what we see is not what we get. We misperceive things because we’re in a period of accelerated cultural evolution, or "sea change." The last one being 300 years ago, it’s no wonder we may not grasp what’s happening now. Kenney illustrates using two intersecting waves: A dominant wave, representing worn-out values such as patriarchy, racial inequality, the inevitability of war, exploitation of nature, and materialism, is on the decline. Another wave, representing more evolved values such as gender equality, nonviolence, spirituality, ecology, human rights, is on the rise. At this point in time, the influence of the two waves is about equal. It is a crosscurrent marked by chaotic change, uncertainty, identity crisis, and extremism. But it is also enriched by new understanding, energy, commitment, and spiritual growth. Kenney not only provides a historical perspective on the phenomenon, he ends the book with 12 principles for personal growth.

For the past twenty years Jim Kenney has been recognized as a leader in the global movement for interreligious and intercultural understanding and cooperative action. Working to promote harmony among the world's religious communities, Kenney had primary responsibility for the two largest interreligious gatherings ever held, the 1993 and 1999 Parliaments of the World's Religions (Chicago and Cape Town). The Parliaments focused on bringing religious communities together to work for peace, economic and social justice, human rights, and ecological sanity. Kenny was global director for the Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions from 1995-2002, creating new structures and contexts for interreligious dialogue and cooperation. One of the world's most effective interreligious organizations, the Parliament is dedicated to the facilitation of international interreligious encounter, dialogue, and commitment to cooperative common action, bringing the leaders and the faithful of the great religious and spiritual traditions together to make a better world. Kenney is an educator and well-known lecturer on a wide range of topics relating to history and possible planetary futures. For over thirty years, he's lectured widely on political, social, religious, and cultural issues. For the past 10 years, a particular focus of his work has been on cultural evolution: how human societies move toward a better fit with the real world. In 1975 he co-founded Common Ground, an adult educational organization and study center which offers a wide range of programs focusing on the great cultural, religious, philosophical, and spiritual traditions and their implications for every dimension of human experience. For thirty years, Common Ground has provided a rich variety of first-rate educational programs for seekers with broad horizons. Kenney has been Executive Director since 1988. Kenney is co-founder and co-editor of Interreligious Insight: a Journal of Dialogue and Engagement published four times each year in the US and the UK by the World Congress of Faiths, the Interreligious Engagement Project, and Common Ground. Insight is the only journal of its kind: a chronicle of the global interreligious movement and the changing world religious scene. Kenney was consulting editor and regular contributor to Conscious Choice Magazine, which was published monthly out of Chicago, IL until it recently went out of business. He continues to work closely with a number of important organizations dedicated to building a better world, which include: Interreligious Engagement Project, International Committee for the Peace Council, Network of Spiritual Progressives, Abraham Path Initiative, and Spiritual Alliance to Stop Intimate Violence.
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