al-shabaab

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The Bookshelf, March 2019 and Kindle Deals

Holy Envy: finding God in the faith of others, by Barbara Brown Taylor. Holy envy is right.

The Rock that is Higher, story as truth, by Madeline L’Engle. Could I have spent the past two weeks with any wiser women?

Invited, the power of hospitality in an age of loneliness, by Leslie Verner. I had the privilege of reading an ARC (advanced reader copy) of Leslie’s lovely book. If you don’t follow her at Scraping Raisins, you should.

Inside Al-Shabaab: the secret history of al-Qaeda’s most powerful ally, by Harun Maruf and Dan Joseph This is a must read for anyone interested in the Horn of Africa. Incredibly informative but far from boring in a textbook kind of way.

Mudhouse Sabbath: an invitation to a life of spiritual discipline, by Lauren Winner. Lauren grew up Jewish and converted to Christianity. In this book she writes about spiritual practice and how Judaism informs her Christian faith. It is lovely.

Running Down a Dream, by Tim Grahl. If you’re a writer or a dreamer, this book is for you. How to beat the Resistance and get the work DONE. Also, check out Tim’s website, for writers it is the best site for marketing that I’ve found.

Everything Happens for a Reason and other Lies I’ve Loved, by Kate Bowler. I read this last year, too. But now that I have cancer, I needed to read it again.

 

Kindle Deals (prices may have changed)

The Furious Longing of God, by Brennan Manning

Winter Hours, by Mary Oliver

The Tigress of Forli: Renaissance Italy’s Most Courageous and Notorious Countess, Caterina Riario Sforza de’ Medici, by Elizabeth Lev (a book I read in researching my book)

Among Schoolchildren, by Tracy Kidder

Searching for Sunday, by Rachel Held Evans

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Whispers in the Dark, Garissa

Hotel massacres in Mogadishu. Museum terror in Tunisia. War across the water in Yemen and refugees heading into Djibouti.

I joked the other day that perhaps the refugee boats going out of the Horn of Africa pass the refugee boats coming into the Horn of Africa, each group urging the other to turn back, each group determined and pressing on.

It wasn’t a funny joke.

whispers in the dark

And then there was Thursday. I checked the news and there had been a shooting at a university in northern Kenya, Garissa. 17 dead. 17 is awful.

It wasn’t over.

I checked the news again later.

147 dead.

One hundred and forty-seven.

Boqol iyo afartan iyo todoba.

Maybe if I keep writing it down it will stop being true. Maybe if I keep writing it down it will stop happening. False. The delusion of thinking writing it down will change anything. Words that get sucked away by grief, letters on a computer that do nothing but disappear into the black hole of hate and violence.

A room of students at prayer. Dormitories. Classrooms where students prepared to take exams. Muslims separated from non-Muslims and the non-Muslims shot in the back of the head. Shot in the back of the head by men who shoot Muslims when they are across the border in Somalia. In the aftermath, a photo of a student in hijab wailing, her arms wrapped tight around the bodies of two non-Muslim survivors. Students crumpled to the ground in pools of blood. Hiding in closets for two days. Hiding beneath dead bodies. Hospitals and mortuaries overwhelmed. The only university in the entire, rural, massive region.

And I don’t know what to say. I want to scream, ‘how can this seem right to anyone?’ How can people do this to each other? When did life lose its sacredness? When did it become so easy to slaughter people who disagree with you? And I struggle against anger and sorrow and yes, fear.

Why? What do they want? What can be gained? Why?

I read the news and then I had to run out the door, I was late for a Good Friday luncheon. I shouted to my husband, “What do they want?” and then I drove away. As I drove I could only whisper, “Jesus.” And, “mercy.” And, “Help me love them.” These are the only words that matter.

I’m finding it hard to breathe.

Jesus. Mercy. Help me love them. These are the words that will help me breathe.

(this post is titled after the post I wrote following the Westgate Mall attack)

*image credit: Oxfam East Africa – A mass grave for children in Dadaab” by Oxfam East Africa