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Lots About Books–and War

Lots About Books—and War – January 3
Per usual, I read a lot in 2015—as in 197 adult books and 46 youth and children’s books. I belong to a United Methodist Women’s BookWorms group that meets once a month and I read a lot of books from the national United Methodist Women’s Reading Program catalog. I read many of the books in that catalog that are also for youth and children. I gather titles of books from magazines, newspapers, friends. And I pick up books at the library that just look like they might be gems.
I’m going to take four posts to share some of the book titles with you: Books and War; Books and Grace and the Bible; Books and Prison; and Books and Grandchildren.
The first book about war was a surprise to me. I had just read something deep and heavy and wanted to follow it with something light so I picked up Kristin Hannah’s newest book: “The Nightingale.” Surprise to me—it is not light. It is an amazing book about World War II. It gave me a little bit of the feeling of what it was like to live in occupied France with the poverty and the anxiety. I also caught a glimpse of the courage of the woman who helped downed Allied fliers to cross the mountains to safety. It made me realize I had never had to live in a war zone.
The second book is “Mission at Nuremberg—An American Army Chaplain and the Trial of the Nazis” by Tim Townsend. Here I was impressed with this Army chaplain and his task of relating to and pastoring those on trial at Nuremberg. But after the trials were over and he was appointed to a Lutheran church in the states, he chose to pastor again in a nearby prison, when hundreds of men were touched by his humanity and spirit.
The third book is “Plenty of Time When We Get Home—Love and Recovery in the Aftermath of War,” by Kayla Williams. This is a good book about veterans and the help (and respect) they do or don’t get. Both Kayla and her husband are veterans of the Iraq war.
And the last book about war is Walter Wink’s “Engaging the Powers—Discernment and Resistance in a World of Domination.” This is the third book in Wink’s Powers Trilogy and in my opinion it’s the most accessible and the most powerful. Walter Wink believed deeply in the non-violence of Jesus and the need for it in the world. This book gives details, theology, success stories of non-violence, and more.
On page 216 he writes: “Violence can never stop violence because its very success leads others to imitate it. Paradoxically, violence is most dangerous when it succeeds.”
Wink quotes Reinhold Niebuhr’s often used prayer: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
Then the Walter Wink rephrase of this prayer is: “God, help me to refuse ever to accept evil; by your Spirit empower me to work for change precisely where and how you call me; and free me from thinking I have to do everything.” He very much lived out that prayer himself.

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