Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Transcended Tragedy
March 2010, Jossey-Bass
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AMISH GRACE: How Forgiveness Transcended Tragedy
The Amish response to the murders of five schoolgirls in Nickel Mines, PA in October 2006 was even more surprising than the intrusion of evil into bucolic Lancaster County. Just hours after the shootings, the community forgave killer Charles Roberts and reached out to his widow, attending his burial and contributing to a fund for the family.
Within a week of the murders, Amish forgiveness was a central theme in news stories around the world. The astonishing account was soon chronicled in an award-winning, best-selling book in 2007 that Bill Moyers called “a story our polarized country needs to hear.”
Now the basis for a Lifetime Original movie set to premier on March 28th, the paperback edition of AMISH GRACE: How Forgiveness Transcended Tragedy (Jossey-Bass, a Wiley imprint; March 2010; $16.95 / Paper; ISBN: 978-0-470-34404-0), from Donald B. Kraybill, Steven M. Nolt, and David L. Weaver-Zercher, includes a surprising interview with the shooter's mother in the new afterword. In addition, a discussion and study guide helps readers explores the history, theology and culture of the Amish, connecting forgiveness to their entire way of life.
The Amish response to the Nickel Mines killings offered new insights into the possibilities and practices of forgiveness, even in the face of tragic and horrific human events. “Perhaps our real human need is to find ways to move beyond tragedy with a sense of healing and hope,” the authors wrote. “What we learn from the Amish, both at Nickel Mines and more generally, is that how we choose to move on from tragic injustice is culturally formed.”
“Regardless of the details of the Nickel Mines story one message rings clear: religion was not used to justify rage and revenge but to inspire goodness, forgiveness and grace,” the authors conclude. “And that is the big lesson for the rest of us regardless of our faith or nationality.”