“Recreational Grieving,” by Mary Valle for The Revealer

From Judith Weisenfeld’s recent post “The Ephemera Commemoration” at The Scoop:

The activity around the shrines and memorials that people created in the immediate aftermath of the attacks struck us all as both particularly powerful and decidedly different from official religious expressions, both in their spontaneous production and the ephemeral nature of the material culture involved. These were not memorials like the portrayals of individual victims in the New York Times’ “Portraits of Grief” series or as found in the official memorial produced through long negotiations aimed at satisfying the needs ofdiverse parties and, ultimately, unlikely to do so. Rather, these were handmade memorials, expressions of bewilderment, grief, faith and need for connection.

From Christine Scheller’s interviews with ministry leaders about how 9/11 has changed urban ministry efforts, this by Shane Clairborne of The Simple Way in Philadelphia:

My initial thoughts about the impact of 9/11 on urban ministry relate to the increases in military spending where we’re spending like $250,000 a minute. As the country goes bankrupt, it raises all kinds of questions. In our neighborhood, we can really see what Dr. King meant when he said, “Every time a bomb goes off overseas, we can feel the second impact of it right here.” We’ve got thousands and thousands of abandoned houses, a bankrupt school system, folks needing healthcare. The interconnectedness of that is really evident.

In addition, I think that what one veteran from Iraq called the “economic draft” has become a really urgent reality for our kids in the urban neighborhood here, where they’re selectively recruited. The fliers that they give out say, “Everybody told you to go to college. They just didn’t tell you how to get there. Join the Army.”

HuffPo‘s “Interfaith 9/11 Reflections,” a compilation of stories on 9/11 and it’s aftermath by interfaith leaders.

From “Empire of Chaos:  How 9/11 Shaped the Politics of a Failing State” by Arun Gupta at Alternet:

Mere hours after the attack, in his address to the nation, President Bush began assembling the ideological scaffolding for endless war: “America was targeted for attack because we’re the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world”; “our nation saw evil”; “the American economy will be open for business”; “We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them”; and “we stand together to win the war against terrorism.”

Many of the ideas that have shaped the events and policies of the first decade of the war on terror are right there: American exceptionalism, they hate us for our freedoms, capitalism will triumph, and this war will know no geographic or temporal bounds.

9/11 for Kids, from “What was 9/11” by Margaret Webb Pressler at WaPo (h/t Mary Valle):

During the years after the attacks, the United States was involved in another war, one in Iraq. The main reason for this war was because many countries, including the United States, believed that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein had weapons that could be used in terrorist attacks. No weapons were ever found, and no link between Hussein and bin Laden was ever proved. There is a now a new government in Iraq.

From Mark Engler’s recent column at the New Internationalist, “Ten Years after 9/11: Time to End Perpetual War”:

In the years since then, the Democrats have taken over. A vision from them for a differentUS role in the world remains elusive. In May, after Osama bin Laden was killed in his Pakistani encampment, some progressive legislators suggested this should be the time to declare the ‘war on terror’ over, to give up on a counterproductive metaphor that ensured perpetual militarism. Even some conservatives, citing ‘current fiscal restraints’, proposed bringing the troops home.

But such talk remained marginal. And military spending is now at an all-time high.

From John O’Hara’s Appointment in Samarra (h/t Obit Magazine):

There was a merchant in Baghdad who sent his servant to market to buy provisions and in a little while the servant came back, white and trembling, and said, Master, just now when I was in the marketplace I was jostled by a woman in the crowd and when I turned I saw it was Death that jostled me.  She looked at me and made a threatening gesture; now, lend me your horse, and I will ride away from this city and avoid my fate.  I will go to Samarra and there Death will not find me.  The merchant lent him his horse, and the servant mounted it, and he dug his spurs in its flanks and as fast as the horse could gallop he went.  Then the merchant went down tothe market-place and he saw me standing in the crowd and he came to me and said, Why did you make a threatening gesture to my servant when you saw him this morning?  That was not a threatening gesture, I said, it was only a start of surprise.  I was astonished to see him in Baghdad, for I had an appointment with him tonight in Samarra.

Our American identity crisis,” a survey of the new PRRI poll from Charisma magazine:

The survey finds Americans struggling with their views of American Muslims. On the one hand, most Americans (54 percent) agree that Muslims are an important part of the U.S. religious community, and most report being generally comfortable with Muslims in a variety of social settings. On the other hand, Americans employ a double standard when evaluating violence committed by self-identified Christians and Muslims. More than 8-in-10 (83 percent) Americans say self-proclaimed Christians who commit acts of violence in the name of Christianity are not really Christians. In contrast, less than half (48 percent) of Americans say that self-proclaimed Muslims who commit acts of violence in the name of Islam are not really Muslims.

“The Divine Twins:  Reconciliation and 9/11” by T. Thorn Coyle at Patheos:

We have had little reconciliation. When the soul—or a culture—consistently upholds the battle between opposing forces in service of the hopeful triumph of one and eradication of the other, there is no chance for understanding. There is no chance for something new to be born within us or of us. We are caught in the same stories over, and over. There is little room for change.

From the Maryknoll Sisters’ prayer for 9/11:

Unexpectedly, You were present in all who ran up the stairs to save others, who helped us scatter to safety, who seized our hand as we stumbled toward shelter, who wiped away tears and ash and who fought to thwart an attack on the U.S. Capitol. No one was a stranger.

From Phyllis Tuchman’s “A Fitting Memorial” in Obit Magazine:

It was never a pleasure to cross the plaza of the World Trade Center on the way to work, to purchase half-price Broadway play tickets, or reach the elevators to the restaurant Windows on the World. Bigger than a football field, the space was boring and banal. There was no shade, no respite. You’d never want to tarry, much less sit down. In the summer, the sun blistered; during the winter, the wind howled. When it rained, there was nowhere to take cover.

From “Can We Forgive” by Tim Townsend at WaPo:

Forgiveness is central to the Christian faith. Christ’s death represents the forgiveness of man’s sin. All men. All sin. And Christians are expected to try to imitate it. “If Jesus could forgive the people who murdered him, there’s something in that model that should apply to all of us,” Fr. Ryan said. “I don’t understand it all, but I’m willing to follow that model based on everything else I know and believe.”

From the AP‘s “Some 9/11 Charities Failed Miserably” (h/t Becky Garrison):

One charity raised more than $700,000 for a giant memorial quilt, but there is no quilt. Another raised more than $4 million to help victims, but didn’t account publicly for how it spent all of the money. A third helps support a 9/11 flag sold by the founder’s for-profit company.

And a Fox News look at 9/11 charities, here.

From Killing the Buddha founders Jeff Sharlet and Peter Manseau, “Seeing Ourselves,” reflections written on 9/11 and reposted in 2006:

Of all the images of last week’s destruction in New York and Washington the photograph above is perhaps closest to the view inside Krishna’s mouth. A whole within a hole: Moments before the building would fall, the soon-to-be-lost stare out from the windows of the burning north tower, pondering a new perspective on reality — as we do now. We look not on a changed world, as has been often said, but with a changed understanding of the world we have known all along.