Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Books I am reading

Just started re-reading I See Satan Fall Like Lightning by Rene Girard, a stunning book of cultural anthropology that James Hillman mentions in his book A Terrible Love of War, which I bought at Sister Rose Pacette's recommendation. Both books deal with the normalcy of war and violence in human culture, and Girard's deals explicitly with how Christ is the remedy. Both books remind us that peace is not a simple matter of refraining from war, and certainly not a superior moral position that one takes in opposition to those who are "war-mongerers." Both books say that we will never understand peace unless we understand war, unless we understand mimetic violence, scapegoating, and the terrible forces in human social groups that militate towards resolving emotional unease through violence to the Other. Highly recommend both books, although I have lost Hillman's and have only read chapter one. I understand he gets critical of religion in a way that Girard does not, ie. Girard explains war and violence from _within_ a Christian framework, and Christ is the remedy, Christianity perhaps getting the remedy wrong in large ways and small over the two millenia but still essentially the remedy and the only remedy.

When my brain starts spinning and my spirit gets overwhelmed, I turn back to Murder in the New Age, a truly delightful mystery novel that turned up on one of the book hunts conducted by Debbie Hosey, my friend and partner in the Pious Ladies Bookmobile and Writers' Guild and myself.

Also a shout-out (I can't believe I wrote that) to my oldest (in years of friendship, not chronological age) friend, Mary Margaret Hassler Harayda, on the occasion of her birthday. Happy Birthday, Mary! Just remember, I know how old you are! ..... that's the thing about childhood friends... you always know how old they are.

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