weather icon Clear

Finding comfort, peace and strength; the Word is what you crave

The Word is what you crave.

It’s where you find your comfort, strength, the peace you need to get through the day. Reading it is like hearing God’s voice; studying it is feeling His power, and in the new book “We Are Charleston” by Herb Frazier, Bernard Edward Powers Jr., PhD, and Marjory Wentworth, knowing it could mean offering forgiveness.

There are, say the authors, two Charlestons in South Carolina. Tourists see lovely horse-drawn carriages, fine dining, and historic homes, but there’s a flip-side Charleston, too: it’s where slavery began, where Jim Crow laws once ruled, and where racism is still an issue.

That’s where Mother Emanuel AME Church has stood for generations, welcoming people of faith.

Wednesdays are Bible study nights at Mother Emanuel, although on June 17, 2015, that was pushed back a bit for a business meeting. By 8 o’clock, however, “a dozen of the most devout parishioners” were ready for the Word of God.

Exactly sixteen minutes later, “a skinny young white man” entered the door and joined the group, sitting next to the church’s pastor; the young man was a stranger there, but they welcomed him just the same.

And after prayerful fellowship and Bible study, “as eyes were closed and heads were bowed” for a final benediction, he took out a gun and started shooting.

But why did Dylann Roof scream racial sentiments, reload his gun five times, and kill nine strangers in a house of God? The answer, say the authors, lies in the past, aboard slave ships, on wharfs where people were once sold, and on a flag.

It goes back some 200 years, to another time when that church was a “target of hate.” And yes, it lies in the story of a “young man who purchased a weapon to kill human beings.”

But surprisingly, what resulted from that night more than a year ago wasn’t just a history lesson. It wasn’t merely grief, either. What happened in the days after that night was forgiveness, over and over and over…

There is, of course, more to this story than just what happened in June 2015 in South Carolina – and that’s where I struggled with “We Are Charleston.” There’s too much inside this book, and it veers too much off-course.

I see where the authors are trying to take readers: the book’s opening and ending are about the shooting and aftermath, while the middle part consists of African-American history and that of the AME church, with an attempt to tie them together. These subjects are very interesting, but the tie here is too broad and too deep; I’d have been happier with two different books.

And yet, it’s easy to brush aside book gripes when presented with a powerful message like the one you’ll see; specifically, one of forgiveness, strength, and forward movement. That alone left me satisfied after all.

And so, cautiously, with caveats, I say read this book. Skim some parts if you must, but savor its end: “We Are Charleston” could be the words to remember.

Terri Schlichenmeyer has been reading since she was three years old and never goes anywhere without a book. She lives in Wisconsin.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Prices continue to rise for homes in Southern Nevada

The Pahrump housing market, and neighboring Las Vegas, both reached new heights in June, a trend that has gone on for the last several months.

Nevada gaming win sets record high in May

Nevada casinos raked in an all-time record $1.23 billion from gamblers across the state in May, the first month when some casinos could resume operating at full capacity, the Gaming Control Board reported Wednesday. It was also the third consecutive month Nevada casinos surpassed $1 billion in gaming win. That hadn’t happened since December 2019 through […]

Home prices rise to record levels in Southern Nevada

The Pahrump housing market has been heating up over the last several months, alongside the Southern Nevada market as a whole.

Home prices rise in Southern Nevada, Pahrump

Prices for existing homes in Pahrump and across Southern Nevada reached record highs in April.

CCSD overcomes obstacles in preparing to play spring sports

When competition begins Friday, it will end a 401-day drought since the Clark County School District suspended all sporting events at the start of the COVID pandemic.

Home prices rise in Southern Nevada, Pahrump

Home prices were on the rise in Southern Nevada, including in Pahrump, in March.

Could Las Vegas host entire NCAA Tournament?

Former UNLV AD Jim Livengood’s idea, once considered farfetched, could become a reality if centralized locations for this year’s men’s and women’s tournaments goes well.

CCSD spring sports to be played; fall sports still canceled

The Clark County School District announced Wednesday that spring sports will be played, but the fall sports season remains canceled for interscholastic competition.