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.
Las Vegas sports face coronavirus-related economic damage

The coronavirus pandemic has inflicted substantial financial damage on the Las Vegas sports scene. Fans may need patience before a full recovery takes place.

UNLV looking to raise $1.5M to recoup COVID-19 revenue losses

UNLV is looking for donations to help keep momentum going in its athletics department amid financial stress created by the coronavirus pandemic.

NFL countdown: Raiders add speed to offense

The Raiders took the fastest receiver in the NFL draft in Alabama’s Henry Ruggs, and all the pieces are in place for quarterback Derek Carr to have a career year.

IRS says non-filers with dependents must act by May 5

The Internal Revenue Service on Friday, April 24 issued a special alert for Supplemental Security Income and Department of Veterans Affairs beneficiaries to act by May 5 if they didn’t file a tax return in 2018 or 2019 and have dependents so they can quickly receive the full amount of their Economic Impact Payment.

Gov. Sisolak eases restrictions on some Nevada businesses

Beginning Friday, May 1, Nevadans will again be able to play golf, patronize all retail businesses and undergo medical procedures unrelated to the COVID-19 outbreak as Gov. Steve Sisolak announced that, while he is extending his Stay at Home order through May 15, some of the restrictions of his previous order that expires Friday, May 1 will be relaxed.

DETR announces successful update of unemployment site

The Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation announced Monday a successful weekend update of its unemployment insurance website at ui.nv.gov. The agency also added and launched a performance feature on April 18 that affords filers another option to reset their online password 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Federal government approves disaster aid for state

Gov. Steve Sisolak announced Monday that his request for a Major Disaster Declaration for Nevada in response to the COVID-19 outbreak has been approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Pahrump GriefShare going to online meetings in face of Coronavirus

With the novel coronavirus pandemic spreading all across the globe, the world is in a state of continual flux and change but one thing that does not change is the harsh reality that people pass away and those left behind must deal with the pain of losing a loved one.