I still remember hearing those words from Alan Jackson on live TV. I was emotionally bare and yet unaffected by what happened.
As most Americans, I wantI still remember hearing those words from Alan Jackson on live TV. I was emotionally bare and yet unaffected by what happened.
As most Americans, I wanted vengeance and I wanted it to be big and loud and violent.
I listened to Toby Keith's 'Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue,' I cheered during the first strikes on Afghanistan and Iraq
They were evil and we were good.
That was it. Plain and simple.
But as I have reflected a lot over these last 10 years, I have began to realize that the world isn't black and white like that.
What they did was horrible.
But our response has been just as horrible with just as many civilians killed.
We had an opportunity on 9/11 to choose which way we were heading as a country
As a supposedly 'Christian' nation, we acted farthest from what Christ's example. We took the path of Rome.
But books on the subject have been few and far between. Books on the contemplative response to terror.
But I do have one I would highly recommend.
These thoughts and more have been spurred by my reading of 'Peace Be With You: Monastic Wisdom in the Age of Terror' by David Carlson.
Dr. Carlson's book has been one of the most thoughtful and provocative texts I have read concerning 9/11 and the Christian response. As part of his research for this book, Dr. Carlson traveled to several different monasteries including Christ in the Desert in NM & Gethsenami Abbey in KY (the famous home of the late Trappist monk Fr. Thomas Merton). Throughout his journey, Dr. Carlson discovers a more mystical and universal Jesus who's love engulfs the whole world. The most amazing parts to me are his thoughts on the workings of the Incarnation and how that event was more than God coming to earth but of God continuing to come to earth. It's part of the 'Cosmic Christ' of Merton where we look to discover Christ in all those around us. It's not that we are helping another human, it's that we are helping Christ (Matt 25).
I don't want to quote a lot of his book but I do have to include this passage:
The choices we had on 9/11, I saw for the first time, were the same as God's option at the crucifixion. They were the same options that the Amish had after the schoolhouse shooting. Vengeance on God's part, on the Amish's part, is one possible response to suffering, to crucifixion. But in seeking to punish our enemies, we leave Christ, we abandon Him, on the cross.
In contrast, the act of forgiveness, two thousand years ago at Golgotha, and just months before in the Amish community, brought and brings resurrection. That is what mercy and redemption mean, the passing from death to life.
and a little further down the page,
The suffering of 9/11 had not broken us open to human suffering elsewhere. As Sister Julianne of Our Lady of the Desert helped me understand, 9/11 could have been a "bridge" to the world. In our insecurity, we have instead sought revenge abroad and built a wall at home...Here was the "word of life," fully clarified, that I had been seeking over the past year. In our response to the tragedy of 9/11, we had replaced God of the paschal mystery with the God of vengeance. The God whom Jesus embodied had made a far different choice. God had chosen forgiveness. God did not condemn the world for crucifying His Son, but raised Jesus for the sake of the world--for the sake of us who continue to crucify Christ in our actions toward others.
So does that mean we just let the people who did this go? No, I don't believe so and I don't believe that's what Dr. Carlson is saying. I believe he is saying:
For Christians to view 9/11 and the world of terrorism through the paschal mystery of Christ's death and resurrection will be difficult and complex. Such a stance does not mean condoning or ignoring what al-Qaeda did on 9/11, any more than God, in Christian belief, ignored or condoned the sinfulness of humanity in crucifying His Son. Forgiveness must mean, as South African activist Malusi Mpumlwana suggest, helping our adversaires recover their humanity.
So needless to say, I HIGHLY recommend this book. I would give it 4.75 stars out of 5. It's a book that I will continually go back to over and over to glean and gain wisdom on the art and beauty of forgiveness.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”...more
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Ball+ does a great job of exploring the more-modern history of Anglican spiritual direction including the Oxford movemI thoroughly enjoyed this book. Ball+ does a great job of exploring the more-modern history of Anglican spiritual direction including the Oxford movement and the Evangelical awakening. I sensed no agenda being pushed in this book, but I see it as both a guide for those of us called to the priestly ministry as a 'curer of souls' and for the laity in our churches who are there to guide and walk with each other. ...more