The nineteenth-century industrial revolution brought rapid change, progress, and prosperity, but with it, the heavy cost of intense social dislocation and human suffering. One man, Lord Shaftesbury, decisively led the necessary reforms. His enduring legacy is his demonstration of the essential link between privilege and responsibility in a prosperous society – true for us today.
Telling Truth to Kings
History abounds with examples of brave individuals who courageously told the truth, often challenging authority in the process. The Spring 2013 Trinity Forum Reading, “Telling Truth to Kings,” ably illustrates the high cost of truth-telling through the story of a humble priest who challenges imperial Spain’s treatment of “new world” peoples.
German dissident Reinhold Schneider wrote the story in the 1930s to speak out against the totalitarianism of the Nazi regime, and “Telling Truth to Kings” prompts readers to consider how power, justice, and courage impact truth-telling today.
A Jewish concentration camp inmate is pulled from work detail at a makeshift hospital to listen to a dying Nazi soldier’s confession. The soldier asks him for forgiveness that he might die in peace. In the Jew’s place, what would you have done?
In this Reading with a Foreword by Os Guinness, Simon Wiesenthal gives his account of this incident that happened in Poland during World War II, challenging readers with the moral question of forgiveness. If a murderer is truly repentant, should he be forgiven? Are some actions too horrible to forgive? Can you forgive someone for something done to someone else? Or can you forgive, as a member of a larger community?
These tough questions are relevant for us today. As Os Guinness points out in the foreword, forgiveness is tricky business and should not be taken for granted or issued flippantly. Forgiveness too quickly given can easily become cheap grace, somehow dismissing the wounds of the inflicted or justifying the behavior of the wrongdoer. True forgiveness is costly, where the wronged relinquishes the right for retribution. And yet, through forgiveness, both the wronged and the wrongdoer find release, freedom, and the power to move on.
In an age of increasing violence and political unrest throughout the world, the issue of forgiveness is one that modern people need to consider and better understand.
A new Preface by award-winning director Laura Waters Hinson helps connect this theme with present-day post-genocide Rwanda and other situations.
Painting As A Pastime
Time pressure and drivenness are defining marks of our modern world. But in such an era, it is a low-tech traditional discipline that offers the greatest relief and perspective: Solitude. Taking time away alone from daily stresses is increasingly important. For Churchill, time spent alone painting provided a meaningful and necessary course of mental refreshment.