Book Review: Grace in the Gray

It’s no secret that I have been practicing the art of “listening to understand” for a couple of years now. So, when an opportunity arose to review the book “Grace in the Gray: A More Loving Way to Disagree” by Mike Donehey, I excitedly signed up, knowing that the book would help me grow and continue to challenge me in this way.

I was not disappointed.

“How can we more lovingly disagree? It’s about leaning in and longing to understand. It’s about admitting when we’re wrong and not always assuming our views are the correct ones. It’s about curiosity and kindness and asking better questions.”

Mike Donehey (p. xiii)

Grace in the Gray is about helping the reader do four things:

  • subjectify those we’ve objectified
  • empathize with those we’ve vilified
  • humanize those we’ve deified
  • see that our posture is just as important as our position (p. xiv)

“It’s incredible how much wonder we can experience if we simply learn to listen more and talk less.” (p. 13)

Throughout the book, Mike offers stories from his own experiences as well as practical things the reader can try in their efforts to become more gracious. He is incredibly relatable and humble as he shares what brought him to this place of being able to offer and accept grace in the midst of disagreements.

It’s difficult to not type out every meaningful sentence (I underlined most of the book), but I will share a few more in hopes that it will inspire you to get a copy for yourself:

“I am neither my mistakes nor my successes. I am not my bad ideas or my good ones. And when I finally understand this deep down in my psyche, something incredible happens. I not only handle correction, but I also begin to actively seek it out. I want to see where I got it wrong because I want to learn. I stop running away from correction and instead desire to receive it.” (p. 24)

“The tension between truths is everywhere we look, and if we can learn to embrace it, holding the tension will help us grow…We hold the tension so we can hold the ones we love. And maybe we can begin to reframe how we experience disagreement in every aspect of our lives.” (p. 112)

“We honor others online when we deeply consider their hearts as we engage.” (p. 146)

“It’s a whole lot easier to have compassion for a person than a viewpoint. It’s a whole lot harder to cancel a human when we see them as such…We fuse together the person and their view – they’re one and the same, and they’re either all bad or all good…I’d like to point out that if I void everything someone says based on their shortcomings, I’ll have no one left to quote.” (p. 148-149)

What a different place the world would be if we could all learn to listen to understand and to do so with grace, humility, curiosity, and love. I urge to you read this book and allow your heart to be challenged by it. It certainly challenged mine.

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