Jeanne Bishop is an attorney whose compelling personal story led her to forgiveness of her sister’s murderer and to becoming a prominent advocate against the death penalty. Her book, Change of Heart: Justice, Mercy and Making Peace with My Sister’s Killer, has recently been published. She will be coming to Louisville and will speak at Highland Presbyterian Church on Sunday, October 25 at 4 pm. Jeanne is a friend of ours from Chicago. She is a grace-filled and articulate person who will inspire you. For information about about Bishop and her book offered by Westminster John Knox Press click here.
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About Change of Heart
This powerful, true story of faith and forgiveness shows that all of us are capable of experiencing the healing and renewal that comes with truly forgiving another. Change of Heart follows the transformative journey undertaken by Jeanne Bishop after the murders of her sister and brother-in-law, a journey that challenged Jeanne’s belief in the message of Jesus on the cross and eventually moved her beyond simple forgiveness to the deeper waters of redemption and grace. Jeanne’s authentic story will guide readers past the temptation of anger and revenge, and help them navigate the path of truly forgiving someone whose actions have hardened their heart.
From once wishing that her sister’s killer languished in a cell for the rest of his life, Jeanne now visits him regularly in prison and publicly advocates for his release. “It’s not okay what you did, but I am not going to hate you. I am not going to wish evil on you,” writes Bishop of the murderer. “I am going to wish the opposite. I am going to wish that you will be redeemed.”
“The criminal justice system in the United States, which deems some people unworthy of redemption-even children
who commit serious crimes-urgently needs to hear voices that speak for mercy and restoration. Jeanne Bishop’s is such a voice” writes Sr. Helen Prejean, activist and author of Dead Man Walking. Change of Heart confronts these serious and pressing issues of restorative justice, juvenile life sentences, and incarceration in the criminal justice system. Ultimately, Jeanne is writing more than a memoir of finding faith through extraordinary obstacles. Her compelling story offers a better understanding of what it truly means to be a person of faith. It is a call to action that is a “must-read for pastors, social workers, caregivers, and all who seek to build community with people relegated to the margins” (Greg Ellison, Emory University).
“A person is more than the worst thing he or she has ever done. God loves all human beings and endows them with dignity and worth. Juvenile life without parole sentences tell people who committed their crimes as juveniles that they are human garbage, to be thrown away into the maw of prison until the day they die. The criminal justice system in the United States, which deems some people unworthy of redemption—even children who commit serious crimes—urgently needs to hear voices that speak for mercy and restoration. Jeanne Bishop’s is such a voice.”
—Sr. Helen Prejean, activist and author of Dead Man Walking
“Every murder involves two people: the murderer and the victim. Most of us want to remain as far as we can from either one. The chasm between the two is immense, with darkness in between. But occasionally someone comes along who attempts to bridge this divide at tremendous personal risk, putting the victim’s life into the killer’s stare, in the hope that some light might emerge. Such a person is Jeanne Bishop, whose sister was brutally killed. She has written a mesmerizing book, Change of Heart, describing her difficult journey through loss to confronting evil. Reading this book takes you to places you’d rather avoid, but you may come away treasuring life even more.”
—Richard C. Dieter, Executive Director, Death Penalty Information Center
“This book is an extraordinary witness for survivors of crime and all of us who seek a more compassionate, thoughtful and responsible way to manage the tragic ways we hurt each other. Courageous and honest, Ms. Bishop’s compelling story is a gift for anyone seeking a way to think about punishment and reconciliation in a society where families are too often burdened by violence and the avenging politics of fear and anger.”
—Bryan Stevenson, Founder and Director of the Equal Justice Initiative and author of Just Mercy
“Change of Heart is a powerful story of faith, forgiveness, and reconciliation. This is a painfully honest account of a remarkable and courageous journey from the tragedy and pain of the murder of family members to a place of freedom and grace.”
—Maurice Possley, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author
“Change of Heart is a tragic story of senseless violence, horrific loss, and, in the end, forgiveness that is astonishing. I kept asking myself – `As a Christian, could I be as strong and merciful as Jeanne Bishop?’ I have my doubts.”
—Best-selling author John Grisham
“There is a lot of grace in Jeanne Bishop’s elegant, elegiac book Change of Heart, but it is not a wimpy hearts-and-flowers kind of grace. Instead, it is a heartfelt, gut-wrenching kind of grace. Powerful grace. Transformative grace. This is an utterly surprising story of redemption. It is an unflinching look at the very real cost of blessing- truly blessing-someone else. Jeanne’s story of restorative justice haunts me. The stunning letter she wrote to her sister’s murderer still lingers. And the story of the grace of the gift of two quarters is one I will retell and retell again. Change of heart is what happens when someone, in the depths of despair, cries, `This is too much for me. God, take it and redeem it,’ and believes … no matter the cost. Please read this book.”
—Robert Darden, associate Professor of Journalism PR & New Media at Baylor University and author of Nothing but Love in God’s Water: Black Sacred Music from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement, Volume I.
“Bishop captivates readers with her elongated, deliberate, painful, and utterly authentic story.”
—Publisher’s Weekly Starred Review