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Monday, 10 March 2008

The Politics of Forgiveness

Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Transcended Tragedy
Donald B. Kraybill, Steven M. Nolt, David L. Weaver-Zercher, 2007

This is moving account of the violence at Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania, that goes on to explore the practices that underlay the extension of forgiveness by the amish community.

This exploration by sympathetic academics from their ecclesial cousins, the Mennonites raises deep questions about the politics assumptions that underlies the liberal consumerist society.

The Amish, while on some accounts have practised a sectarian withdrawal from contemporary society, have lived out another political option that makes reasoned choices about what technologies they will use and practices of life that make forgiveness possible.

In a culture that places such a premium on buying and selling, as opposed to giving and receiving, forgiveness runs against the grain.

Running against that grain, finding alternative ways to imagine our world, ways that in turn will facilitate forgiveness, takes more than individual will power. ... We need to consturct cultures that values and nurture forgiveness. In their own way the Amish have constructed such an environment. p.182

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