"As much as I wanted to turn away from her story—go back to Alabama and wash it off me in the shower of my safe and sequestered home—I knew I could not. For if I turned away from Rebekah’s story, I was turning away from Rebekah… and from the daughter she would never see again. And somehow I knew that if I turned away from them, I would be turning away from God. And in turning away from Him, I would be turning away from the part of me that was must human, the part of me that most intimately touched the divine. It hurt to be there, to look into those faces, to hear those stories. But I knew it would hurt more to turn away."
—Kimberly Smith, Passport Through Darkness
This has been a difficult read for me tonight. I deeply miss and long to be back in Africa.
So how does this faithful betrayal work itself out in practice? How can we construct an architectural space that (1) challenges this temptation to reduce the truth affirmed by Christianity to an oppressive religious system and (2) simultaneously provides room for that truth to breathe?
— Peter Rollins, The Fidelity of Betrayal: Towards a Church Beyond Belief
Every person of appropriate age remembers where they were on the morning of September 11, 2001, after having learned of the transpiring events of that day. Each individual experienced a reaction of sorts. Such reactions include feelings of anger, resentment, sadness, and shock. Our nation as a whole responded as well, though not all have agreed on the executive response that was made shortly after in an attempt to rectify the damage caused on 9/11. Namely, the decision to go to war.
In Peace Be With You: Monastic Wisdom for a Terror-Filled World, David Carlson attempts to ask a different question, one not often considered in such times of crisis. Specifically, how could we have better responded? In answering this question, Carlson conducts a variety of interviews with monks and nuns of the monastic order in hopes to reveal what we missed in the event of 9/11. It’s quite obvious that something was missed in that there is still no peace. It seems we’re even farther from experiencing peace now than ever before.
Each interview provided a new thought to be considered. Each, I would suggest, was enlightening and helped in answering the aforementioned question. These interviews are finally stitched into a coherent whole within the last chapter, with the conclusion being that we could have responded differently by truly acting as Jesus would have. Which, in turn, would have eliminated the possibility of war.
It is also worth noting that Carlson, as well as those interviewed, offer substantial information on the monastic life. In reading, one will gain a better understanding of those who have chosen monasticism as a way of life and will hopefully conclude with a deeper respect for those involved. That being said, I highly recommend reading Peace Be With You by David Carlson. While it’s not normally a book I would have chosen for myself, it proved to be a book worth reading indeed.
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.”
"Rather, to forgive our enemies in this time of terrorism is to realize that our adversaries need our help in recovering their humanity, even as we need the help of others, their forgiveness, to recover our own. For in forgiving and loving the neighbors who surround us in this world, we meet God."
—David Carlson, Peace Be With You: Monastic Wisdom for a Terror-Filled World