The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America



We've prepared a special book list to help our readers deal with the many emotions connected to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. These resources offer spiritual perspectives that can be used to comfort, restore and renew your soul. Especially in times of crisis, we need words of wisdom that, to use a Quaker phrase, "speak to our condition."


If you are feeling anger, read:

Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames by Thich Nhat Hanh (Riverhead). This practical volume is filled with advice on how to handle the toxic effects of anger, which can destroy marriages, family life, urban living and international affairs. Compassion and nonviolence are the best antidotes. On a personal level, we can ask those closest to us not to water the seeds of rage within us but instead to listen tenderly to our concerns.

If you are feeling fear, read:

The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times by Pema Chodron (Shambhala). The counsel offered here is meant to help us turn around our habitual ways of striking out and blaming others for our distress. The author challenges us to become fearless by giving up our feelings of separateness and acting upon our deep connections with others.

If you are in need of hope, read:

Mystical Hope: Trusting in the Mercy of God by Cynthia Bourgeault (Cowley). The author suggests a new way of envisioning this Christian virtue, which plays a major role in the biblical account of God's dealings with humankind. She believes hope grows out of an acceptance of divine mercy. The church needs to "become a sign of hope in a broken world."

If you are yearning for justice, read:

Living a Life That Matters: Resolving the Conflict between Conscience and Success by Harold S. Kushner (Alfred A. Knopf). This soul-stretching book is filled with healing insights into possible responses to public tragedies. Kushner uses the drama of Jacob as a model of the struggle we are undergoing at the present moment — to rise above our bad impulses and to follow our conscience. In the most poignant chapter, Kushner probes the idea of revenge and its relationship to justice.

If you are experiencing suffering and loss, read:

After the Darkest Hour: How Suffering Begins the Journey to Wisdom by Kathleen A. Brehony (Owl Books). Using stories and other illustrative material, the author presents 12 strategies for growing through loss, including discovering a larger perspective, turning toward compassion and helping others, practicing mindfulness and counting your blessings. Brehony salutes resilient people; they possess "a kind of toughness and flexibility that harbors the power to recover."


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February issue


Embracing diversity