9/11 in the Century archives

September 9, 2011

We recently asked five Century contributors to reflect on the 9/11 attacks and the decade that followed; their responses are here. Century subscribers can also read the following highlights from our coverage in the weeks following the attacks:


  • The editors respond to the attacks: "We want a word from God. When, before our eyes, hijacked airplanes crash into buildings, and the towers of the World Trade Center plunge to the ground snuffing out thousands of lives, when evil suddenly and irrevocably transcends the limits of what we have assumed is possible, we desperately seek to know what God intends for us."
  • Five eyewitnesses to the disaster: John Allen of Trinity Wall Street, Linda Bloom of the United Methodist News Service, Stephen Paul Bouman of the ELCA, Jon Walton of First Presbyterian in New York, and Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, who was in New York on September 11.
  • Greg Jones describes a prayer service held that night at Duke Divinity: "As events unfolded through the day, it became clear to our divinity school community that we needed to [as Simone Weil puts it] 'go on wanting to love.'"
  • Barbara Brown Taylor on religious dialogue and common humanity: "By now we are all too familiar not only with the major terrorist attacks on the World Trade towers and the Pentagon, but also with the smaller terrorist attacks on Muslims, Sikhs and Arab-Americans in the weeks since then. . . . The events of the past two weeks have shown that many of us are mistaken about one another's identities--especially our religious identities--and that our ignorance is a luxury we can no longer afford."
  • Don Shriver on the attacks and forgiveness: "We should be devoting a lot of time and energy to coping with the complexities of forgiveness as they relate to our immediate and long-term relation to the world of Islam. But in the midst of this crisis, we can also talk about forgiveness prematurely."
  • Miroslav Volf on evildoers: "'Doesn't calling a person "evil" make us go after him with a vengeance, seeking to eliminate or at least neutralize him?' my friend protests. 'It all too often does,' I agree. But it should not. God's love is broad enough to include evildoers, the worst of them."
  • Jean Bethke Elshtain, Glen Stassen, James Turner Johnson and Martin Cook consider terrorism and just war theory.
  • Charles Kimball examines the roots of Islamic militancy, Scott Appleby considers the terrorists' point of view and Trudy Bush examines their timing.



I appreciated the scope and thoughtfulness of the commentary here. Too often I suspect we bloggers forget that what we write goes out to all the world. I sometimes get the impression that some blog or other is written just for us good ole girls - or boys.
I imagine that I get a different response to my blog than many others, but we all have easdroppers.
I went to my blog this morning to check the audience and found that this week there were hits from the Netherlands, Moldova, Kenya, the United Kingdom, Spain, Estonia, and Germany, in addition to those from our country.
My realization has gradually come to the fore, just as when I travel abroad: I am a representative American when I hit that Publish key.
Bob Collie