“A Future Without Walls: Confronting Our Divisions” by T. Richard Snyder.  Submitted photo

TOPSHAM — The world was witness on Jan. 6 to the storming of the United States Capitol by enraged and disaffected people demanding that the results of the presidential election be investigated or even overturned. Long after President Trump has left office, the rage, distrust and division will continue. “A Future Without Walls: Confronting Our Divisions” by T. Richard Snyder, PhD, is written for those who long for an end to the nightmare and who hope for a new era.

“We are a nation divided,” Snyder said. “These terrifying events have caused many to wonder who we are and what we can do to end the unraveling. I am horrified, but not surprised by the violent consequences of our divisions. However, despite the tragedy of our history and this historical moment, there are steps we can take as individuals, communities, and society that can help bring about justice and healing. But, in order to move beyond “hand-wringing,” we must understand why we are so divided. If we do, we will not find perfection, but we can find some healing.”

T. Richard Snyder Submitted photo

Snyder continued, “The book sets out to answer why we are polarized and to discover ways to overcome the dividing walls of hostility. The struggle for justice and healing is complex: both personal and structural. It involves resisting the social structures that foster ‘othering,’ as well as exploring our own complicity and need to partner with those who have been treated as ‘other’.”

“A Future Without Walls” is born of Snyder’s half-century of commitment to social justice and weaves analysis, personal story and paths forward. The insurrection of Jan. 6 is not an aberration, but rather a logical outcome to the dividing of people into good and evil, them and us, privileged and oppressed. It is a lamentation for the tragedy of our divisions and the way we exclude others and a clarion call for justice. The book analyzes the entangled connections between the roots, forms, and consequences of those divisions, sets forth the moral imperative to embrace rather than exclude, and offers concrete actions to help dismantle the walls and create a hopeful future.

Snyder is professor emeritus of theology and ethics at New York Theological Seminary. Upon retiring to Maine he served for two years as academic dean of Bangor Theological Seminary, founded the Restorative Justice Project of the Midcoast and co-founded the Restorative Justice Institute of Maine. A former resident of Northport and Camden, he and his wife live in Topsham.


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