Saturday, September 11, 2010

no 9-11 tit for tat

Nine years ago today I sat in front of the television stunned, hardly able to take in what I was seeing. Though time has dulled the shock of the images I saw that day, to me 9-11 will always be the day on which North America lost its innocence.

So, when I heard that some pastor was planning to commemorate this day (and register his protest of the Islamic Community Centre planned for two blocks from Ground Zero in New York City) by publicly burning the Koran, I shuddered. We don't need to take more steps down that tit for tat path!

Sarah Cunningham, author of Picking Dandelions: A Search for Eden Among Life's Weeds, feels the same way. Though she was In New York after the tragedy and lived through the horror, she is encouraging Christians to foster peace and good will in the name of Christ. Part 4 of her book retells her account of being at Ground Zero following the attacks, when she served as a disaster relief team leader. Here us an excerpt from the book...

"I don’t know who among us had faith before we arrived, but it seemed as if nearly everyone found it or recovered it somewhere in the crevices of Ground Zero.


The relief workers on site were stretched to exhaustion as we forced our eyes awake at night—days after the last survivor had been found, but still days before all the searching would end. Regardless of your prior beliefs, when you find the end of your own energy supply, it is at least tempting to look for some source of renewal outside yourself.


This is why I often found myself praying furiously—as I had in childhood—for things like the safety of the firefighters who refused to stop searching for fallen comrades even as rain poured down on the wreckage….Even my prayers were sometimes interrupted by the unidyllic blasts of of a bullhorn warning that parts of the tower might crumble further, in which case we were told simply to run in the opposite direction.


While the tower lay in pieces, shreds of people’s lives lay exposed in Union Square as stunned family members frantically searched for news of their loved ones. …Talk about God was as common as talk about the weather. Questions like, “Why did this happen?” and “How will we go on?” became the standard replacement for the usual “How are you?” and “Nice day we’re having” greetings.


…I’m convinced God was there somewhere too, browsing about the tents and the conversations, reuniting with people he had not talked to in ages and lapping up quality time with others before the moment passed and our to-do lists invited us back into oblivion, to routine tasks like picking up dry cleaning or washing our cars.” ~Excerpt from Part IV of Picking Dandelions: A Search for Eden Among Life’s Weeds

In this time of heated rhetoric, I'd like to join Sarah and others in toning down the shrill. One way you can do that is read a book — Sarah's book. Sarah will be giving away free paperback copies of her book today. Details here.

She will also be giving away unlimited downloads of her book for free on Amazon.com during the week of September 11th Free downloads begin on September 13th.

Read her response to the Ground Zero Mosque.

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