Thinking Out Loud

September 11, 2016

When War Came to America

Filed under: Christianity — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 9:11 am

sept-11-headlineToronto’s 680 News has a somewhat staccato, somewhat robotic approach to the news. Everything in its place and a tone to set your clock by on the hour and half hour. So when the top of the hour comes and someone keeps talking, you know they’ve suspended the format in order to follow a major, breaking story. It must be something big.

I was arriving for work at 10:00 AM, and running three minutes late. Technically, I should never hear the tone, I should already be out of my car. But this time, I realized that they were following something that had happened in New York involving a passenger airplane flying into the World Trade Center.

No, that can’t be right.

I couldn’t wrap my head around what they were saying.

I ran into work and turned on a radio there. Two planes. Reporters saying, “This was not an accident; this was a deliberate act.”

Wait, what?

I kept listening trying to fathom what was taking place, and wishing I had access to a television. 

Then, something about the towers falling down.

Those are big buildings. They don’t just fall down.

I phoned my wife at home. “Turn on the television right away.”

“What channel?” she asked.

“Doesn’t matter, you’ll know.” I then hung up…

…I’m told that one newspaper chose the headline, “When War Came to America.”

Yeah, that’s it. The war landed on America’s doorstep instead of being fought on some foreign soil somewhere else.

I tried to find the image for that newspaper on several occasions. I now know that it belonged to The Times of London, but in this collection of front page images, they show a page wrapper that was published instead. In another collection, you see The Daily Star asking, “Is This the End of the World?”

For 72 hours, America sat stunned. George Bush, who you will remember was reading a children’s story in a classroom when notified of the attack, realized the consumer economy of the U.S. had ground to a halt and told people to go out to the mall.

Ironically, September 11th ushered in age of domestic terrorism and mass killings to the point that for many, the mall or the theater or even the church is the last place you want to be. I’m sure that this type of fear grips many, who simply prefer to stay in their own suburban cocoon. But recent history teaches us that suburbia is no safer than Main Street.

Maybe The Daily Star had it right.

In the days following 9/11 we kept our little Christian bookstore open, despite a dearth of customers. I wanted to be there — albeit deprived of television — for anyone who had a need.

On the third day after the attack, a motorcycle pulled up out front and a huge dude dressed head-to-toe in black leather got off the bike and headed for the door.

He’s going to kill me, I thought.

Instead he said, “I need a book. My teenage daughter is devastated by what’s happened, and I need something that will give her faith and hope.”

Many of those books would be written in the wake of the World Trade/Pentagon/Pennsylvania hijackings, but I know that day I struggled for something that reflected the magnitude of what we’d just experienced…

…The day that war came to America.


→→ What happened that day? Follow President Bush in the hours immediately following the attack in this newly released compilation of memories from Air Force One.


September 12, 2011

Aggregating the Aggregator: An Alltop 9/11

The Day After.

Here’s what others — my fellow Alltop members — in the Christian blogosphere had to say…Choose a few…they’re listed in an order in which they struck me as relevant or unique…

Alltop is a great way to keep in touch with what’s going on in the larger world of Christian faith. Although I don’t use it for the Wednesday Link List, I do check it several times per week. There are two different pages one is Alltop Christian and the other is Alltop Church.  (You can also use it if there’s a particular hobby or interest you have that you’d like to read more about.)

And I did not even consider the possibility of using the WordPress index. The list at that point would have been relatively endless.

…I don’t really expect many people reading this to click every one of these links; but I do want you to see one of the largest outpourings by writers on a single subject. The day that “war came to America” was a day — like the assassination of John F. Kennedy in November of ’63 or the Space Shuttle explosion in January ’86 — that touched us all in many, many different ways.  A defining moment.

…And I hope you’ll take a moment to read what Thinking Out Loud had to say here yesterday.

For additional coverage, check out multi-faith bloggers at Alltop Religion

September 11, 2011

Because People Tend to Forget

September 11, 2011

Seen enough of the TV specials? Tired of hearing of “9/11?”  You should know there’s a good reason why we need those programs and magazine features and internet tributes:

People Tend to Forget

Jesus understood this.  Scripture tells us that on the night he was betrayed he took bread and broke it and said, “This is my body, broken for you; this do in remembrance of me.”

But you already know that. Those words from I Cor. 11 are often the most-repeated words in most churches during the course of a church calendar year. “For I received from the Lord that which also I delivered unto you;” is somewhat how I think the KJV renders it.  The section from verse 23 to approx. verse 30 forms what is called “The Words of Institution” for the communion service aka Lord’s Supper aka the Eucharist.  Even if you attend a church where things are decidedly non-liturgical, these verses probably get read each time your church observes “the breaking of bread;” and even if your pastor leans toward the New Living Translation or The Message, it’s possible that he lapses into King James for this one.

Why did Jesus institute this New Covenant, Second Testament version of the Passover meal? 

Because people tend to forget.

Want proof?

Let’s look at the section we almost never read when we gather around the communion table, Luke 22.  In verse 19 and 20 he tells them to remember. He tells them his life is about to be poured out for them. What a solemn moment. A holy moment. But unfortunately, a very brief  moment.

In verse 24, Luke makes it clear that he’s trying to capture an accurate picture of what happened that night.  Even if it makes the disciples look bad.  It’s the kind of stuff that you would never include in your report to Theophilus if you were merely trying to make Christianity look good.  If you were writing propaganda.

24 A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest.

I don’t want to be disrespectful here, but Luke might as well have written, “At this point, one of the disciples looked out the window of the upper room and announced, ‘Guys, you gotta come here for a minute; there’s a girl out there that is totally hot.'”

I’m serious.  It’s that much out of place with all that has just happened.  Jesus is telling them — trying to tell them — all that he is about to suffer in order that a plan laid out from before the foundations of the world will be fulfilled.  And they’re arguing about who gets to be Disciple of the Month.  How could they go from one extreme to the other so quickly?  In a matter of seconds?

Easily.  People tend to forget.

Whether it’s what happened in New York City, Washington, and that Pennsylvania field ten years ago; or whether it’s what happened in Roman occupied territory in the middle east two thousand years ago; we need to continually rehearse these stories in our hearts and pass them on to our children.

This is a day that is about remembering and like the upper room disciples, we can get so totally distracted.  September 12th comes and everyone moves on to the next topic or news story.  We must not let ourselves lose focus so easily.  We must not forget.

Deuteronomy 4:9 (NIV)
Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.

Image: The Cross or Rubble – Ray Tapajina
at The Art Project – Artists Respond to Terrorism

September 12, 2010

Ground Zero’s ‘Other’ Worship Space

With September 11th behind us for another year — and the tenth anniversary only 364 days away — we switch our attention to a CNN story about The Other Worship Space at Ground Zero; a story we’ve never heard before this:

CNN’s Mary Snow and Alexia Mena bring us this report on the only place of worship destroyed on 9/11 and their hopes to rise at ground zero.

(CNN) –  The unassuming three-story St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church stood dwarfed in the shadow of the South Tower of the World Trade Center. Built in 1916 in the style of the old village parishes in Greece, its location in what became the glass and steel jungle of New York’s financial district was
curious, to say the least.

The church had a congregation of about 70 families. They vowed to rebuild it after the South Tower, engulfed in smoke, collapsed and crushed it on September 11, 2001. But no real progress has been made.

The church negotiated with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which oversees construction at the site, and in 2008, both sides tentatively agreed that the church would rebuild nearby using tens of millions of dollars in public money. The plan also allowed the Port Authority to move ahead with a Vehicle Security Center, which is part of the World Trade Center redevelopment.

But the Port Authority said the church made extra demands that threatened to delay the construction of the entire site. It says it made its final offer in 2009 of up to $60 million and told St. Nicholas that the World Trade Center could not be delayed by the issue. It says the church rejected the offer and walked away.

Leaders at St. Nicholas have a different version of events…

Continue reading here.

Had you heard about this church before?

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