Practicing Democracy Guides

Democracy is more than a form of government. It is a way of life that can be strengthened through spiritual practices — both those traditionally considered to be “inner work” and those that encourage active engagement with our neighbors and communities. The Practicing Democracy Guides give you specific ways to practice democracy at home, at work, on the Internet, and in other settings.

  • Practicing Democracy with Children: Children come naturally to some democratic values, like pursuit of happiness and love of freedom. Other ideals — like recognizing that we are all equal and seeking the common good — need practice. This guide encourages children's democratic engagement at home and in their communities.
  • Practicing Democracy Online: An increasing number of our interactions about democracy occur online. We turn to our favorite websites, channels, and chat rooms for research, dialogue, and debate, often as a replacement for pursuing face-to-face opportunities. To help foster healthy engagements online, we offer these suggestions.
  • Practicing Democracy at Work: Americans spend a major portion of each week at work. The way we go about our jobs and how we relate to our colleagues — both in our own workplace and on behalf of the larger community of workers — reveals how we much we value the common good and the national motto “Out of many, one.”
  • Practicing Democracy with Your Faith Community: Faith communities serve as pillars of light modeling civility and hospitality to the stranger; they boldly denounce injustice and offer programs to enhance the common good. Here are some ways your faith community can strengthen the bonds within our democracy.

For more information about the Values, Visions, and Spiritual Practices chart used in these guides, please see The Language of Democracy.

We the People Book Club Reading Guides

The We the People Book Club uses American literature to explore the values and visions of American life. The selections for the year-long program chronicle the last century of American thought and explore such themes as individualism and communalism, difference and unity, law and justice, the "stranger," and the spiritual values of resilience, compassion, hospitality, freedom, equality, and civility.

Reading Guides to the selections are being created month by month for free download:

Available Now:
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (September 2018)
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (October 2018)
A Good Man Is Hard to Find by Flannery O'Connor (November 2018)
Selected Poems by Walt Whitman and Maya Angelou (December 2018)
Tenth of December by George Saunders (January 2019)
Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (February 2019)

Available in Coming Months:
Pudd'nhead Wilson by Mark Twain (March 2019)
The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin and Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (April 2019)
Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko (May 2019)
The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen (June 2019)
The Partly-Cloudy Patriot by Sarah Vowell (July 2019)
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (August 2019)