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Live Chat Tonight, 9 pm EDT

April 30, 2009
By Catherine Larson

I'll be live-chatting tonight about As We Forgive over on Thinking Christian. Join us for the discussion. It ought to be a lively one.

Tom Gilson, the blog's author, has had a three-part review up this week with some very kind words for the book. He writes, "I have just experienced one of the most remarkable books of my life." That's pretty hefty praise. He goes on to share a bit of his own personal struggles in losing two family members to murder. He writes:

I come from a very small town, from very middle-class roots. My mother’s parents were both immigrants from Norway, homesteaders in North Dakota, hard-working, God-fearing people. They moved their large family to Michigan late in the 1920s, to a small town south of Flint, which at the time was very much a thriving community. All of their children—my mother and aunts and uncles—lived out their values of hard work, love, and respect. You wouldn’t think that two of their grandchildren would meet their ends through murder.

My cousin Jeanette was jogging in a park in Lansing. It took fifteen years to identify her murderer, which finally happened through some outstanding detective work aided by a virtual miracle of evidence found after all those years. Her case was featured on the A&E channel’s Cold Case Files show. I didn’t see it when it first aired. I happened on it while alone in a hotel room on a business trip, surfing through channels with the remote control. Let me give you this advice I hope you never need: if you are ever going to see the story of a relative’s murder on TV, don’t do it while alone far from home. I could hardly bear to watch it. It wasn’t that the story was new to me; I had been keeping up with it all along through the family. But it was brutal to see it played out before me on the television screen. I could hardly stand watching it, but there was no way I could turn it off, either. This was family. At the end they interviewed my Aunt Muriel and my cousin Joe, Jeannette’s brother. I sat there watching, crying, alone.

My cousin Brian was walking his dog in an upscale gated community just west of Orlando. A car drove by, going too fast, and he called out to them to slow down. Somebody got out of the car with a gun and shot him for it. I saw him in the hospital a few weeks later, again while traveling alone on a business trip. The first time I saw him—well, to describe his condition would be to go beyond the bounds of what I ought to write. He hardly looked human. The second time I saw him, a few months later, there appeared to be hope. He was able to sit up in bed, and was in good spirits. But he succumbed to a final infection. His killer was never identified.

I'm very humbled by stories like these and how the book is being used to reach across cultures and touch lives, working in massive wounds and small ones alike to bring the power of hope.


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