DEBI PUGLIESE's Reviews > Amora

Amora by Grant J. Hallstrom
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it was amazing

Examining the cover of Amora, the latest work by my friend and author, Grant Hallstrom, I asked myself, “How do you just sit and read when the whole world seems to be collapsing in on itself?” I tried to encourage myself. Maybe I could stay engaged in the pages long enough to escape my headlines-induced case of over-jangled nerves. Amora, inspired by the time and region themed around the persecution and brutal fate of early Christian martyrs takes place somewhere around A.D. 150 in the Greco-Roman empire. But the time and theme of Amora is only a device for the reader. No matter what you are reading on the page, Hallstrom is deftly turning it into something else. Amora takes on the ethos of the ideology that enables people who think of themselves as good, principled, politically aware, and even woke to contribute to — and benefit from—ever-increasing inequality and brutal social injustice. Amora’s composite Roman characters - the wealthy and noble aristocrats, academics of lucrative thought leadership, believed themselves as part of the solution, but never the problem. They believed that they were changing the world for the better, by eradicating themselves of early Christians – perceived by the ruling class as a ‘cult’ that posed a threat to the ruling class. Hallstrom provides a credible portrait of the Roman mind and culture, with peaks of humor and insight and troughs of poignant self-delusion. Hours later, having sped pages of irreconcilable tensions of joy and calamity, peace and unspeakable violence, and the historical and moral imaginations of the noble men and women, masters and slaves, rulers, politicians and soldiers, and the Christian martyrs all with their own unquenchable wants and needs, I found myself asking another question – equally relevant now as it was centuries ago, “What do you do when love, lust, hatred and revenge have all worn out their welcome and all possible tears have been spent?”

In a modern world, as modern people, with modern problems filled with “born again” paganism, which often leave little room for the sacred, Hallstrom offers a seemingly contradictory way of thinking. Forgive. “Forgiveness” he writes, “is not the enemy of justice. It is its mate. Which is not to say we pretend something didn’t happen or that it doesn’t really matter… or sweeping evil under the rug or pretending that it doesn’t exist.” For those who would struggle with forgiveness, one first has to recognize a fundamental truth: Our own criteria for judgment is limited and imperfect, skewed our own particular world view. As commanded by Christ, Amora reminds us, “Forgive by giving it to God. And trust him to execute perfect justice. The apostle Paul wrote, “The sufferings of the present time are not comparable to the coming glory to be. revealed to us.  For we know that the whole creation groans together and travails together until now… For in this hope we were saved; but hope being seen is no hope; for does anyone hope for what he sees? And we know that God works together all things for good to those loving God, to those being called according to His purpose, because those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, for Him to be firstborn among many brothers. And those whom He predestined, these also He called; and whom He called, these also He justified; and whom He justified, these also He glorified. For it is Christ Jesus, the one having died, now rather having been raised up, who is also at the right hand of God, and who is interceding for us.

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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
September 13, 2020 – Shelved

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