William M. Kondrath
Our differences are our greatest blessings and our greatest challenges, maintains William Kondrath, Episcopal priest and seminary professor. Theologically and ecologically, differences foster life and growth, but discord within denominations and congregations frequently have to do with the inability of individuals and groups to deeply understand and value differences.
Even in congregations that may on the surface appear to be homogenous, a multitude of differences exist. In God’s Tapestry, Kondrath shows us how to embrace our true multiculturalism—our differences of race, gender, age, theology, language, sexual identity, and so forth. He does this by exploring differences on four levels—personal, interpersonal, institutional, and cultural. He also demonstrates a threefold process for becoming multicultural: recognizing our differences; understanding those differences and their significance and consequences; and valuing or celebrating those differences.
While ministry is the work of the entire faith community, not only ordained or professional staff, it is critical that leaders learn the art and skill of recognizing, understanding, and valuing differences. Then the congregations and agencies they serve, having learned and practiced the art and skill of celebrating differences, can be the yeast that raises this awareness of God’s diverse blessings in the wider world.
“God’s Tapestry is a groundbreaking book. With theoretical and theological insights robustly explored through the lens of relational psychology, Kondrath guides church leaders through transformative processes for honoring and celebrating the gifts of gender, racial, class, and many other forms of difference in congregations and communities.” —Charles R. Foster
“Kondrath deftly shows how ongoing divisions connected to race, gender, and other differences are tangled up in powerful emotions that need to be respected and addressed before change can happen. He invites us into the awkward but essential dance of untangling...wherein we are made whole.” —Katrina Browne
“This book's gentle tone creates a space for learning about self and others—a soul-space where risks may be taken, relationships deepened, and change navigated in grace-filled ways. Kondrath invites congregations into a new way of being together in the midst of differences, and offers a sturdy guidebook for leaders who need help ‘walking the talk’ of inclusion and hospitality.” —Alice Mann
“William Kondrath presents an approach to community transformation that values feelings, imagination, and relationship—employing relational theory as a new paradigm to understanding what the real stumbling blocks are to community change. His guidelines for recognizing the valuing differences should be presented and affirmed at every church gathering.” —Eric H. F. Law
“This was a fantastic book looking at both the psychological, social, and spiritual underpinnings of racism, homophobia, and sexism. Kondrath provides tools for recognizing when someone is acting out of a fear or a real oppression and how to foster a safe community for the nourishment of all.” —Sam at Goodreads.comAbout the Cover
The cover of God’s Tapestry was created from a painting by South Carolina artist Jan Smiley (Color, © Jan Bode Smiley, www.jansmiley.com)
Alban No. AL353
paper, 285 pages
($16.00 for members)