Lived Religion – Lived History

I’ve been hearing the words “lived religion” a lot for the last couple of years or so and it brings something interesting and valuable to that table. The table of religious studies and religious history. But it’s not a new idea. Today in particular I think of the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the crack in the world that started there and still echoes through our lives, though many of us do not feel it.

I think of author Cornelius Ryan and two of this works in particular, the familiar The Longest Day and the less well known perhaps, A Bridge Too Far.[1] Ryan wrote history as “lived history” perhaps because of his journalist background and his work on the frontlines during the war.

The invasion of Normandy and or the poorly thought-out run to the bridge were told not so much from the planning rooms and general staffs of the Allies, but from the point of view of the privates and sargents and 2nd lieutenants and other men on the ground – those men he could find who would tell that story. Of course, the print culture of the day did not want to hear of prisoner massacres or tales of physical/mental abuse that always happen in war. But we got a picture of ordinary guys and at least a bit of what really happened to them, what motivated them and what the tragedy and triumph of war was, for them.

So here’s to the Heroes and Heroines of those years and here’s to Ryan who gave us some “lived history” for those times. God bless those men and women, living and dead, on this anniversary of battle, valor and death.

[1] Ryan struggled to finish the book as cancer destroyed his body.

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