RLC Book Club with Mark Beckwith, “Seeing the Unseen”
A bishop and gun safety activist offers a way forward from opposing viewpoints.
Instead of dismissing those whose views and experiences are different from our own, the author argues that we must look directly at them and see the goodness that is inherent in all things. From the language we use to the imperative to understand and include, we have a duty to work through opposition and build community.
Bishop Beckwith describes it this way: “We are trained to think, yet the cultural emphasis on thinking has not be applied to our ability to see . . . We are not as well trained in seeing the world’s fullness—pain and joy, compassion and cruelty. We regularly receive glimpses of pain and joy, but they are often presented in such a way as to reinforce our thinking.”
Ordained in the Episcopal Church in 1979, Mark Beckwith served parishes in Connecticut, New Jersey and Massachusetts. Elected Bishop of Newark (NJ), he served in that capacity for twelve years until his retirement in 2018. As an active bishop, he helped reorganize the Coalition of Religious Leaders of New Jersey and served as President. In the wake of gang violence in Newark, he helped found the Newark Interfaith Coalition for Hope and Peace. With a local Rabbi and Imam from that coalition, he appeared several times on Morning Joe, and did two PBS interview shows hosted by Jon Meacham. The three of them co-hosted A Matter of Faith, a NJ Public TV show that focused on local issues. He currently serves as the Bishop Liaison for Bishops United Against Gun Violence, a network of 100 bishops he co-founded after the Newtown, Ct. killings in 2012. He is the co-founder of Faith Leaders for Ending Gun Violence, a national ecumenical group of diverse religious leaders. He has been part of the leadership team for Braver Angels, a national movement that seeks to depolarize America. He is the author of Seeing the Unseen: Beyond Prejudices, Paradigms and Party Lines (Morehouse Publishing, 2022). He offers spiritual direction and coaching for clergy. A graduate of Amherst College and Yale Divinity School, he lives in Jaffrey, New Hampshire. His passion is to invite people to look beyond and beneath their political and theological positions, which in today’s climate of polarization can be overly confining and find hope and blessing – and a way forward.
Join Red Letter Christians on Zoom with Mark Beckwith and Shane Claiborne on August 27th at 7 PM ET to take a deep dive into his newest book, “Seeing the Unseen“.