It's all I seem to hear about these days.
Fear and terror.
Perhaps as a pastor and counselor, that's the way it is supposed to be in my vocation, and commitment to fidelity.
But, my roots and relationships were beyond fear and terror four decades ago, other than unusual violence and rage in my Detroit neighborhood.. Today's out-of-control cycle of terror, anger, and murder is as common as blowing one's nose.
Of Gods and Men, currently showing at the Royal Oak, MI., Main Art Theater, is the
true, two-hour tale of roots and relations in fidelity, faithfulness, and commitment.
Such virtues and strengths are in short supply around here, today, no?
And, those terrorists who kill a fifteen-year-old, in the movie, for not wearing her head scarf, have to be ignorant, sad to admit, let alone the murderers of all of society in killing her.
The movie is an austere, beautiful and somber drama set in the 1990s in beautiful Algeria's mountains. It is fresh air on faithfulness to God's law of love of neighbor.
That country is gripped by grim and gruesome civil strife and evil, namely, more of the same terrorism rocking this globe daily.
A raging and ruthless insurgency twins with a corrupt government, on separate tracks with agendas of their own, while both pursue eight monks from France, among others, who simply want to serve humanity's needy. They try to live out love and charity among the neighbors with whom they live, work, and, even pray often.
The sacred and social nature of every human being is forgotten by the terrorists, shame on them, since there is no law or directive that permits such slaughter of innocence like the close to 3,000 they killed at the twin Trade Towers in New York a decade ago.
The monks farm with help from their neighbors, and, tend sheep, and, bees for honey, for sale in the marketplace, to make a modest living as they live out their vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, among other virtues.
The monks' Croatian neighbors suddenly turn up dead as their throat are slit. All of this conflicts
the community of men, and their neighbors, who wrestle out loud about whether each monk should stay or flee the threatened monastery.
Long into their informed decision to stay, and, not leave their neighbors to the wolves, the monks seem to be at peace despite normal worry, sleeplessness, and stress caused by the fear of the terrorists returning to kill them also.
Just when the drama, tanks, and helicopters calm down some, and point elsewhere toward the end of the film, the monks reflect on their sense of satisfaction and service at a final supper. The face of each tells it all. Tchaikovsky's Grand Theme from "Swan Lake" is turned on by Luc, the physician, who spends his days assisting the sick and stressed with clinical care, and, carries a couple of bottles of wine for the monks to share this last time together.
Never have I witnessed such allegiance to the love of the Gospels, over violence, and, their respect for the evil enemy pursuing them like lambs who are finally led to the slaughter.
The monks make a point about the "apathy of oblivion" in the culture today everywhere, it seems. They awaken a sleeping nation, here, and elsewhere, to choose another path, as they
have so well demonstrated by example beyond mere words.
Reflections on, "The Faith of Abraham: Bond or Barrier, Resolving common Issues A Deacade After 9/11, is set for Thursday, Sept. 1 at 6 pm in Sacred Heart Catholic Church, at 18430 Utica
Road at Gratiot Avenue in Roseville, MI. Among the speakers will be CEO William Jones, and, Elaenor Josaitis of Focus:HOPE, Steve Spreitzer of the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion, and Fox 2 reporter, Bill Gallagher, master of ceremonies, among others. Amazing Grace, the emblematic hymn of the All Faiths Festival (AFF) will be sung. ]
All are welcome to this event, and to the AFF annual picnic at Belle Isle's children's play area at Jefferson and East Grand Boulevard in Detroit, Sunday, Aug. 7 from 10 am. Aim is to build bridges among all faith traditions, foster dialog, and help strengthen marriage and family today together. Children's games, and more are planned by committee members, including Pastor Jacque McDaniel of Worship International Church at St. Paul Lutheran Church in East Lansing, MI., and Marge Hallman, among others. Call 586 777 9116 or write firstname.lastname@example.org, or, online at www.interfaithwork.com.