“If revenge and retaliation are the best responses that our nation could muster after 9/11, 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 9/11, 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 more 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.”
“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.”
Religious studies professor Carlson investigates varieties of monastic response to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, and their aftermath. Looking for "A Word of Life" from religious communities devoted to prayerful reflection, he finds these communities, even if physically isolated, intensely connected to the world's troubles. Over several years, Carlson visits numerous monasteries and abbeys, interviewing monks, nuns, a Mennonite pastor, and a community's potter, who share their immediate personal reactions to the attack and their communities' response. His timely exploration, coming on the tragedy's 10th anniversary, reveals his own spiritual journey throughout this research. He uncovers a range of thoughtful, challenging perspectives relating to sectarianism, suffering, incarnation, prayer, and the relationship between Christianity, Islam, and other world religions. Thomas Merton's writings are woven into the book's conversations and reflections, especially Merton's views on the mystical Christ, which lead Carlson to reflect: "the one God is a humanity-permeated God." A powerful, insightful guide addressing highly sensitive theological issues, this book may prove accessible and helpful to many who seek to counter terrorism with faith.