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Memorable writers dig deep for the next precise word to construct their narratives—a spiritual process that engages readers.

Elie Wiesel (1928 – 2016) was such a writer, but unlike others, his eleven months spent in the death camps of Auschwitz and Buchenwald eviscerated Yiddish words learned in childhood. For ten years, silence stood guardian over his shocked psyche and sustained his sanity while mastering French in the Normandy home for orphans where he was placed after the liberation. But his heart wound was never staunched—The heinous Evil of the camps defied words. Still, he must try.

And he did. In 1954, he began the task, scrounging for words that shivered before the enormity of his experience. What was to become Night ballooned into 842 pages that underwent several published revisions: in 1956, the Yiddish Un di Velt Hot Geshvign (And the World Remained Silent), reduced to 245 pages; in 1958, the French Nuit, reduced to 178 pages; in 1960, the English Night, reduced to 117 pages; and in 2006, a re-translation of the French Nuit, reduced to 115 pages. Decades of revision finally distilled Wiesel’s wound into its essence.

Although words of thirty other languages approximate this account, what actually occurred in the camps remains obscure. Those who plumb the mystery of Evil get scorched; it remains an unfathomable mystery.

So what to make of this world classic, Night? It still speaks to us, but how?

A clue to this dilemma lies in the Talmud’s designation of God as speaking through the white spaces between printed words. Within such silence emerges Wiesel’s deposition for those with courage to listen.



The Disabled God – Toward a Liberatory Theology of Disability by Nancy L. Eiesland

Only the stalwart need explore the contents of this challenging book. Its cover gives pause with dismembered bodes in garish colors around the pierced Christ (Pablo Picasso’s Crucifixion). Its premise first appeared in the author’s 1991 masters thesis from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University, where she also obtained her M.Div in 1995

A hard read, nevertheless, it reveals a fresh paradigm in which the disabled are called to identify with the wounded God (Luke 24: 36-39). He empowers them, in their uniqueness, to accept their body-houses with all their horrors and surprises and still thrive. The author also challenges existing theological and societal biases against full inclusion of the disabled, who are just like us, save for their unconventional bodies.

Interesting that her image of the disabled God sat in a sip-puff motorized wheelchair, the kind quadriplegics power with their breath.

Who better to author this seminal book on the disabled than Nancy Eiesland. She was born in 1964 with a congenital bone defect in her hip and suffered eleven failed operations by the time she was thirteen years old. Unable to walk, she relied upon motorized chairs for the rest of her life. A deeply spirited woman, she discovered her identity and character within her disability; it became the prism through which she expressed herself as theologian, social activist, author, consultant, wife, and mother. She hoped to bring her disability with her into eternal life. She passed in 2009.

Her book prepared me to begin writing my second memoir, Limping Along – following the dark face of God. I plan to self-publish in 2015.






Available on Amazon

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