Neighbor Love through Fearful Days: Finding Purpose and Meaning in a Time of Crisis
Neighbor Love through Fearful Days is a reflection on pandemics--the Covid-19 pandemic, the accompanying economic collapse, a summer of climate chaos, and the pandemic of white supremacy--as well as on the calling to "serve thy neighbor" and work toward the common good, even and especially in times of crisis. Mahn's real-time reflections begin with an entry dated March 17, 2020, after the college where he teaches moved online and his family began sheltering in place; they end with an entry dated August 31, 2020, when the college reopened for an unprecedented fall term. Through the intervening entries, he reflects on perennial questions about purpose, faith, and vocation as they take on a newfound urgency as cities lock down, economies reopen and close again, and our fractured country teeters on the edge of civil war. Each entry grapples with the anxieties and opportunities, the suffering and sense of being summoned, that characterize that same period.
Jason A. Mahn's evocative narrative is a story about living through a time when the world as we know it is being leveled by pandemics--and it is also a deeply philosophical exploration of what it means to live well. In the pages of this book, Mahn invites readers to muse on the difficult balance between self-care and other-care; the role of love in social justice, and how white privilege might be atoned for; and how, amid intense suffering, to practice a faith that is not escapist, but embraces a hope more durable than optimism and a public, strategic love more fierce and enduring than previously imagined. Ultimately, these reflections acknowledge the immense challenge of living a purposeful life in the middle of crisis but invite readers to the shared hope that from the ashen stillness, we may just hear new callings to imagine healing, cultivate hope, and love neighbors in creative ways.