Sometime in early 1988, I began keeping a list of every book I finished reading.
Den of Thieves by Katherine Stall.
I remember nothing about this book.
So I looked it up. Here's the summary from Amazon:
This first novel is the lively account of a contemporary confrontation between the radical religious left and the Protestant fundamentalist right. Its heroine, P.K., a divinity student at New York City's Union Theological Seminary, is the daughter of Rev. Samuel Mather, jailed since 1972 for blowing up a trainload of bombs bound for Vietnam. P.K. is determined to walk the straight and narrow despite her radical upbringing, but her less conservative roommate, Rosie, intends to draw P.K. into the activist fold and succeeds when she enlists P.K.'s help in finding 13 Protestant ministers who have been kidnapped during their Sunday services. After discovering a link between the kidnappings and TV evangelist Rev. Anderson, Rosie's far-left ally J. Ashley Rittenhouse IV sends Rosie and P.K. on a cross-country search for the Soldiers of Jeremiah, a tiny, underground, left-wing organization that aims to crush the fundamentalist conspiracy. At an accelerating pace, Den of Thieves takes on a tough, touchy issue: whether in the face of overwhelming odds it is still possible, or sane, to take moral action, and whether in the face of failure, that action retains its significance and meaning.
Ah! Now I do recall. It's familiar, I know I read the story, I know I enjoyed it. But I don't really recall any details about it.
What I find interesting, though, is that my first book is a look at the battle between the religious left and right, a battle which I think is only getting more divisive over time. And something which weighs on me a lot. It irks me that, for most people, the word Christian denotes some bible thumping hypocrite quick to pronounce natural disasters as the punishing hand of God. That's not what I find in the Bible. I find a religion of love, of forgiveness, of tolerance. I find the thoughtful interpretations and respect for intelligence of Marcus Borg and John Shelby Spong. Of the compassion in Karen Armstrong. Of the acceptance of Peter Gomes.
To take a page from John Scalzi, I can only try to remember that my Jesus forgives the bitter, hateful, alienating, bigoted, homophobic, and greedy Jesus I see in the religious right.