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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 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 IraqThey 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 countryAs 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 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 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 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 homeHere 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 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. Good Lenten read, as the author spends a year visiting monks and nuns six years later and getting their reflections on the 9 11 and aftermath A pretty different perspective from many Americans I would guess, and very thought provoking. Peace Be With You by David Carlson is a book which examines how monks responded to the events of 9 11 This is a difficult book to read, not in style but in content If one expects a superficial analysis of Christian responses to 9 11 then one should look elsewhere It might be easy to dismiss the book as blame America first, but that response is for those who use Christianity as a bat to bludgeon others Rather, the reflection that Carlson shares are about examining oneself and changing oneself first rather then seeing how others are to blame.This book is perhaps one of the few sustained reflections on the Christian response to 9 11 The access point is unique through the use of monks By accepting the reflection of monks, and in an typically Orthodox fashion, the reflection include the words of the living and the dead If you are looking for a book that says the United States is justified in what it has done in the name of fighting terrorism, then you should not read this book In addition, if you have an ounce of integrity you should not call yourself a Christian either, for in reality you probably worship America and not God But if you wish to be challenged as to reflect on how you need change and I include myself in that you then read it immediately.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. If I could recommend only one must read this year, this would be the one Especially important if you consider yourself a Christian, but helpful in forwarding understanding regardless of your religious orientation or lack thereof For the record, I m a Christian Buddhist Taoist Agnostic and none of those chew on that a while. ( EPUB ) ♫ Peace Be with You ♫ If Revenge And Retaliation Are The Best Responses That Our Nation Could Muster After , Then Jesus Did Not Have To Come, Live Among Us, And Preach A Radical Understanding Of Neighbor That Includes The Enemy In The Wake Of The Ten Year Anniversary Of , As Tensions Rise Between Christians And Muslims, Author And Religious Studies Professor David Carlson Seeks Guidance In The Modern Day Deserts Of Monastic Communities Across America Are Christianity And Islam Destined To Confront One Other As Clashing Civilizations Peace Be With You Monastic Wisdom For A Terror Filled World Clearly Answers No Peace Be With You Is The Result Of Than Thirty Interviews With Abbots, Nuns, Monks, And Other Seekers At Monasteries And Retreat Centers Carlson Reveals The Untapped Wisdom Of These Men And Women In Their Own Words As They Speak With Hope To A Suffering World Follow The Author On This Personal, Moving, And At Times Difficult Journey, And Discover A New Yet Ancient Basis For Genuine Peace Between Christianity And Other Religions Especially Islam It Is Time For Christians To Use Their Power To Change The Conversation, Carlson Says, To Ponder Jesus Command To Treat The Stranger As Our Neighbor And To Treat Our Neighbor Not Only As Ourselves, But As God In Our Midst As Carlson Reminds Us, There Is Another Thing Stirring Around The World There Is A Movement Of Extremists For Love And For Grace That Have Been Singing A Different Song Shane Claiborne One Of The Richest, Most Insightful, And Most Instructive Books I Have Ever Read On The Business Of Living The Christian Life Fully, Biblically, Faithfully, And Non Dogmatizedly Phyllis Tickle
I m not a Christian and wasn t raised one I was drawn to this book because I ve always liked learning about contemplative traditions This book is accessible for those who aren t Christian and has beautiful and painful messages for all of us Highly recommend. How should the worldChristians in particularrespond to the horrifying events of 9 11or to that matter suffering in general Peace Be With You by David Carlson is largely a personnel journey and reflection on that issue Carlson spent time a few years after 9 11 visiting various monasteries around the country and yessome people may be surprised to know that there ARE monasteries in the US , gaining insight about how we can and should respond to the terror filled war At the heart of this moving and at times deeply insightful book is an understanding that Christians have not been living up to the vision held up by Jesus to love one s enemies and to strive for a world of peace rather than a world at war Carlson rightfully regrets that Jesus has been brought into this war as a banner around which many Christians justify their persecution of Muslims and the invasion of foreign countries Isn t there a better way to approach the current crisis before us and have we missed an opportunity presented to us Carlson makes no bones about where he stands on the issue and where he has come down 9 11 could and should have been a bridge to the world Instead of declaring war, we, as a country, should have offered forgiveness and sought a peaceful solution for the world 9 11 should have been a moment for us to reflect as a nation and a culture about the ways we create the injustice in the world that results in a 9 11 For the record, while Carlson rightfully evaluates our culpability in this event, he does NOT condone the actions of the terrorists and expresses deep regret, sadness, and even anger over their actions Deeply influenced by Thomas Merton, Carlson reflects on the fear and isolationism that gives rise to such hatred Hell, for Carlson, is present in the world mainly through isolationism withdrawing into one s self Of course, I question how he might deal with Sartre s observation that hell is other people We fear the Other, instead of loving them and we destroy community instead of building it This is evident in our actions as a nation and in the rhetoric that both President Bush and Pope Benedict have used The answer lies in love We ought to love our enemies and we ought to express that love through action He cites the example of rebuilding after the Tsunami as a helpful corrective action rather than the War on Terror This love is exemplified in the lives of the monks at the monasteries he visited Rather than being withdrawn from the world, Carlson found them engaged in the world through love Carlson does have numerous unresolved issues, however First and foremost might be the nature of current war No matter how wronged the Islamists may have been, their current incarnation does not seem to be moved by acts of love Whenever you have a group of people who are bent on world domination and dedicated to their cause to deathhow do you realistically reach them They have spurned our acts of charity and made it impossible for some populations to receive gifts of food and water How can we engage with a population of people who have their goal to kill us I think this is the question that plagued Dietrich Bonhoeffer and ultimately led him to abandon some of his pacifist understanding and engage with the plot to kill Hitler How does the world truly engage peace and can peace start with any violence at all Shane Clairborne dealt with this issue by volunteering to be a human shield in Iraq And I think that might be the broader question that is at stake herethe question of human nature Can we fix the problem without fixing the peopleand I think that is the strength in Carlson s monastic approach The monastic life is about changing the hearts and lives of people If enough people engaged in this deeper contemplation, perhaps then the world can truly be changed Carlson s writing is very personal and personable Like Thomas Merton, I felt like I had a good insight into the character, strengths and struggles of Dr Carlson It is a very accessible book and can be read in a short period of time, but like the monks he spends time with, perhaps needs to be thought over deeply I recommend this book for all Christians, especially pastors, and those interested in creating a world of peace out of a world filled with terror.Grade B Homo Homini Lupushttp manisawolftomen.blogspot.com Peace Be With You by David Carlson delves into the monastic life from an unexpected angle After a series of seemingly disconnected promptings Carlson set his mind to travel around to a number of monasteries a practice that was already familiar to this convert to Greek Orthodox to find a word of life, much like those pilgrims long ago who sought out the desert Fathers.Carlson sought to understand the world after 9 11 and to do so he looked to the monastic traditions hoping their separation from the world would grant a unique perspective, something fresh and clean and Christian, not the stale and spoil of our modern world, our false conservatism, that says instead of return not evil for evil, but, You got me I m gonna get you Over and again Carlson is given an answer of peace, an answer of love, and not one of retaliation, the response most often heard in the media, and even among our peers This is a read that will be painful for many, or if not painful, then revolting and rejected out of hand Such is the way that darkness hates the light, yet the call within these pages is like that of Christ s Sermon on the Mount, that we would love our neighbors and pray for our enemies.At one point toward the end of Carlson s monastic circuit he comes to the conclusion that 9 11 ought to be seen in light of the death and resurrection For me this was one of the most powerful moments of the narrative He says that God the Father, when Christ gave up the ghost, had a choice to make at that very moment and that this choice is the same we each make every time that we are wronged whether to retaliate or to forgive, to seek vengeance or to grant love.Yesterday I saw a headline that said the number two man for Al Qaeda had been killed I imagine a number of people reading the same line were glad, or even celebrating as in May when bin Laden was killed, but my mind turned toward the monasteries I wonder what response Christ would have, what response we are called to have, and my mind quickly went to this man s family Did he have a wife Children No doubt, he had a mother, a father, maybe brothers and sisters How many people did he have who loved him in spite of his faults How would they react to such a tragedy And so I prayed, and in that moment pray for one s enemies became something real and not just an oft heard, oft spoke platitude.Were the message itself misplaced this book would be worth reading for its kind and familiar narrative style Carlson comes through in his choice of words so that in this quasi memoir, part life part travelogue, one can find the man and the journey making the road a pleasure to walk.Propter Sanguinem Agni,RS 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. 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. One of the many divisions in 21st Century America stems from life changing attacks we suffered on 9 11 01 how do we now live in this age of the War on Terror The answers are as varied as the religious and political beliefs we each hold onto In the wake of the ten year anniversary of 9 11, religious studies professor David Carlson seeks guidance in the modern day deserts of monastic communities across America He wants to answer one question are Christianity and Islam destined to confront one another as clashing civilizations and Peace Be With You is his result.The Bible clearly indicates that God is the source of Truth cf John 14 6, 16 13, 17 17 As his followers we claim The Truth from Him, but it s important to regularly measure our idea of truth against the Bible in order to make sure we are in line To that end I can appreciate Dr Carlson s efforts to get outside his worldview and connect with other Christians for insight from their worldview and to challenge his readers to examine their own views.The total effect for me, however, was hard to read it focused too much on human opinion of applying Truth and too little on what God has already said I also believe there needed to be a stronger division of government and personal duties the author seemed to conflate the two.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, and the opinions I have expressed are my own I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission s 16 CFR, Part 255.