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  1. Michael
    Indian Trail, NC
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Woinsome Persuasion
    September 9, 2018
    Michael
    Indian Trail, NC
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    "Winsome Persuasion" is a great title for the believer who wants to engage the culture in a respectful way without compromising belief in Jesus Christ. Around 190 pages, the book covers many topics, including:

    1. We can become so focused on the broad scope of the Great Commission that we miss ministering to and loving people at the local level (i.e. being in love with a concept or idea instead of loving people Christ died for).

    2. 3 advantages parachurch organizations have over churches in dealing with political and social issues.

    3. The importance of having times of cultural engagement and times of solitude and withdrawal (amen to that!).

    4. 3 things we can learn about cultural engagement in the life of Saint Patrick.

    5. How Christians can respond to today's volatile culture.

    6. Be compassionate towards those we disagree with as God is compassionate towards us.

    7. Importance of knowing about differing viewpoints on a conviction you believe in - can help you prepare a thoughtful and reasonable response. In other words, get out of your Christian bubble!

    8. Suggestions for developing a persuasive message.

    9. Humility is important in public discourse (wish we would see more of this!).

    10. When used appropriately, humor can be effective.

    Well-written and full of excellent insights, this title will be a very helpful future reference. I was given a review copy by IVP Books in exchange for a fair review and appreciate the opportunity!
  2. Andy Le Peau
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Cultivating a Lost Art
    May 2, 2018
    Andy Le Peau
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Civil conversation is sadly a lost art. In Winsome Persuasion, however, Tim Muehlhoff and Richard Langer contend that the more civil we are, the more persuasive we become.

    The authors, as an example, point to the fiery abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison who railed against slavery in the most absolute, uncompromising terms--even burning a copy of the Constitution every Fourth of July. He never took time to understand, empathize with, or seek common ground with his opponents. He persuaded few who were not already persuaded.

    In contrast, Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote a story to get past the "watchful dragon" of the heart, as C. S. Lewis described how fiction could circumvent our usual defenses. In Uncle Tom's Cabin, she cast slaves as main characters, not as scenery. She overcame stereotypes going both ways, casting Simon Legree as a northerner and Augustin St. Clare as a southerner opposed to the institution. She sought common ground by appealing to the common humanity of all. The impact was enormous in rallying widespread support for ending slavery.

    Muehlhoff and Langer unpack several key ways we can do the same today. First, we can cultivate ethos by presenting ourselves as a trustworthy person who can see both sides of an argument, by showing courage, kindness, justice, and humility, and by exhibiting goodwill in looking for the best (not the worst) in our opponents.

    A second strategy is to read the rhetorical situation; that is, finding values and ideals that both sides can agree on and using those to move the discussion forward.

    Third, we need to adjust our message and style of presentation to the constraints of our situation. These constraints can be the length of a tweet, time limits given to speakers, the amount of evidence we have, or a sore throat. But constraints can also be matters of decorum or social expectation--we don't interrupt other speakers who have the platform, or in a Q&A audience members ask questions and don't give tirades. Bulldozing ahead headless of these constraints will generally not win us supporters.

    Fourth, we can form loose connections with outsiders. Francis Schaeffer called this joining with cobelligerents--those we agree with on one issue even if we disagree on many others. Conservative Christians, for example, can form a loose connection with feminists when both seek to keep a college campus safe for women at night.

    Muehlhoff and Langer write primarily for Christians who see things in society they would like to change or improve. They exemplify well the virtues they are trying to nurture in their readers. As they give examples, they show both sides of issues with understanding and compassion. They show wisdom in understanding the value of compromise and how to get there.

    Throughout they emphasize humility, a quality severely lacking in the public square. By following their advice, we will immediately make our society better.
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