The nineteenth-century industrial revolution brought rapid change, progress, and prosperity, but with it, the heavy cost of intense social dislocation and human suffering. One man, Lord Shaftesbury, decisively led the necessary reforms. His enduring legacy is his demonstration of the essential link between privilege and responsibility in a prosperous society – true for us today.
A Jewish concentration camp inmate is pulled from work detail at a makeshift hospital to listen to a dying Nazi soldier’s confession. The soldier asks him for forgiveness that he might die in peace. In the Jew’s place, what would you have done?
In this Reading with a Foreword by Os Guinness, Simon Wiesenthal gives his account of this incident that happened in Poland during World War II, challenging readers with the moral question of forgiveness. If a murderer is truly repentant, should he be forgiven? Are some actions too horrible to forgive? Can you forgive someone for something done to someone else? Or can you forgive, as a member of a larger community?
These tough questions are relevant for us today. As Os Guinness points out in the foreword, forgiveness is tricky business and should not be taken for granted or issued flippantly. Forgiveness too quickly given can easily become cheap grace, somehow dismissing the wounds of the inflicted or justifying the behavior of the wrongdoer. True forgiveness is costly, where the wronged relinquishes the right for retribution. And yet, through forgiveness, both the wronged and the wrongdoer find release, freedom, and the power to move on.
In an age of increasing violence and political unrest throughout the world, the issue of forgiveness is one that modern people need to consider and better understand.
A new Preface by award-winning director Laura Waters Hinson helps connect this theme with present-day post-genocide Rwanda and other situations.
“The Lottery,” Jackson’s famous short story, has fascinated readers for years with its unexpected and chilling ending. Included with the story of a troubling but powerful modern essay, “The Lottery Revisited” by Kay Haugaard, which is about her experiences in teaching this story though the years and her students’ increasing acceptance of the unthinkable. Together they raise hard questions about subjectivity and truth in a free society.
With a Foreword by Senior Fellow Os Guinness, this story addresses the question of the truth-claims of religious faith in the face of the pressures of the modern world. Since the Enlightenment many religious leaders have attempted to “improve on” God or to make God “relevant” to the times.
Dr. Guinness makes a passionate case for truth. Hawthorne’s story, he argues, raises questions about the authority and public dimensions of faith that are vital not just for Christians, but for all the citizens of the United States and the West at large. This selection is sure to provoke thought and discussion.
Study guide included.