Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Den of Thieves

I've accepted the Blogging A to Z Challenge. All month, I'm going to blog about Books from A to Z.

Sometime in early 1988, I began keeping a list of every book I finished reading.

I lived in L.A. at the time, and I recall looking at my own collection of books as well as the local library shelves to try remembering each book I'd read since I'd moved there in October of 1987. The first one I listed, the one that begins the whole thing, dated as being read in November 1987, is 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.


LA Nickers said...

This looks like an intriguing read!


Linda Ann

I stopped by via the A to Z Challenge for April, and I invite you to visit my blogs at:

NICKERS AND INK – poetry, humor, inspiration and more

PRACTICALLY AT HOME – inspiration, humor and how-tos for family, home and garden, and more

THE MANE POINT – a haven for horse lovers

MEME EXPRESS – daily blogging prompts for the A to Z Challenge and more

Tom said...

Fantastic that you've still got that notebook, I would like to record what I read, but in the digital age I'm tempted to use digital methods, but who knows where they will be in 25 years. But a notebook is likely to still be around. I like the sound of your Jesus.