In preparation for graduate school and with the assumption that I will be spending countless hours reading academic and theoretical writings, I decided to make a summer reading list to get in the mode of reading such texts. My first step was to scour my step-father's bookshelves to see if there were any readings applicable to conflict, security, world affairs, biographies of certain people, etc. Lucky for me his library is extensive and quite varied, so I found a few. (Thanks, Bob! P.S. Hope you don't mind I'm reading your books! haha)
The first book I read was My Hope for Peace by Jehan Sadat, the widow of Anwar Sadat (Egypt's former president who was assassinated by radicals who disagreed with his efforts to make peace with Israel). It was wonderful! It was a great refresher course on certain points of Islam, which I have previously studied, as well as a semi autobiographical look on how she lived and viewed her husband's peace policies, and how they have shaped her current role as peace activist and professor. I thoroughly enjoyed it!
This week I read The Anatomy of Peace by the Arbinger Institute, which was absolutely fascinating! It breaks down principles of conflict and peace and teaches their application on personal, familial, and global scales. In a lot of ways I think it took basic Gospel principles and put it into nonreligious language, so I found a LOT of truth in what I learned. But it also took abstract concepts like overcoming certain personal weaknesses and put them into concrete ways of self-evaluation, which I find enormously helpful. The basis of everything it teaches is that there are two ways of being: having a heart at war or having a heart at peace. And you can do basically anything and everything with either way of being, though the outcome can differ drastically. I know that doesn't seem to make too much sense but if I describe it any more in depth you might not go out and read it. And you really should read it!
The main reason why I wanted to share that tidbit in particular is because of something else I read this week. In honor of the Holy Week and Easter I was reading the accounts of the Savior's last week in the Gospels. I came upon something that really resonated with me this time, because of everything else I've been learning.
In the middle of Mark's account of Jesus' trial with the High Priest (Caiaphas), Mark records, "But he held his peace..." (Mark 14:61).
That simple description suddenly means SO much more to me than just Christ refusing to answer Caiaphas' questions. I now understand it to mean that His heart was at peace despite being in the middle of a terrible conflict upon which His life depended (and ours' too for that matter!). I know that seems obvious, but in the context of having just read that book, I was able to look at this in a whole new way and see Christ yet again as the perfect example to understanding a new principle. Really, it is so cool. So you all need to go read this book (only took me a few days) and then go read in Mark 14. THEN you will be able to fully comprehend and appreciate how cool it really is. :)
Honestly I LOVE making those "text-to-text" connections (Erika would be so proud!) because it helps me remember and appreciate both lessons so much better. And I just LOVE that I'm constantly finding new ways of applying the scriptures in my own life. They really were written for our day!