The beginning of Almost Awakened introduces a mystery: did the Bible – found fused to a molten girder in the rubble of the Twin Towers – belong to Donna, an ex-minister who disappeared that day?
This Bible, pictured at right, is on display at the September 11th Memorial Museum at the World Trade Center, and was shown to Pope Francis during his September 2015 visit.
What was Donna, a fictional character, doing at the World Trade Center just one day after being defrocked as a minister? Was it linked to the hateful rants that Malik had been sending from Al Qaeda?
The answers to these and other questions are revealed in the final chapters of Almost Awakened.
Religion is a dangerous medicine: Too little can harm. Too much can kill. This theme is explored throughout the novel, as the characters explore Eastern and Western faiths in an effort to live a life of love. They wonder if “religion kills” only when the common wisdom of the Golden Rule is ignored, and an extremist view is used to justify wars, Inquisitions and terrorism. Or as my character, Melanie adds (in chapter 6) to clarify her ‘too little/too much’ statement: “Religion is a dangerous medicine because when mixed with love, it helps and thrills. When mixed with judgment, it wounds and kills.”
As importantly, Almost Awakened explores how we forgive ourselves, others and God... and what it would mean to “turn the other cheek” to a terrorist ? …or even if it’s a good idea to consider that?
I don’t think that ‘forgiveness’ should mean allowing an assault to happen twice. But, maybe, in these times, “turn the other cheek” means to let go of the negative feelings that give us ‘bias blindness’ or ‘stupid vision’ (explained on page 5 in Less Stress, Better Health and More Love Thus ‘turning the other cheek’ frees us up to see the world more clearly and make better decisions about protecting ourselves, helping others and finding more love.