The Call: The Spiritual Realism of Sargent Shriver
by Jamie Price, Ph.D
The Call explores the role of the spirit in the life and work of one of the most accomplished American peacebuilders of the 20th century, Sargent Shriver (1915–2011). Author Jamie Price demonstrates that Sargent Shriver’s approach to serving people, designing public policy, and transforming conflict situations makes it possible to imagine a constructive way forward – a path that makes it possible to imagine integrating the spiritual values of compassion and service into the secular structures of public affairs without the divisive, polarizing effects of leading with particular religious doctrines or traditions. Price defines The Call as a “true conversation that never happened”, a dialogue between Price’s reconstructed figure of Sargent Shriver and an inquisitive imagined friend, Didymus. The book unfolds as an interview in which Didymus explores the role of the spirit in Shriver’s efforts to build peace. The book’s title, The Call, alludes to the pivotal moment in which Shriver received the phone call from his brother-in-law, the newly-inaugurated President John F. Kennedy, asking him to be Director of the as-yet-nonexistent Peace Corps. Informed by Shriver’s hundreds of speeches, philosophers, and theologians who inspired Shriver, and real-life conversations between Shriver and the author, the book is an intimate, unique, often funny exchange about the inner workings of a mind always questioning the relationship between spirit and social action. A must-read for aspiring leaders, innovators, and peacebuilders seeking to redress contemporary challenges to human dignity and security, The Call invites readers to navigate conflict and nurture human connection with creativity and compassion.