Christianity Today asked me, as an evangelical leader, to reflect on how I’ve changed since 9/11. It was an appropriate question and one worth considering, as we approach the 10-year anniversary of that fateful day in which many lives were lost and many more were changed forever.
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The September 11 attacks jolted Americans into realizing that our nation was no longer, and never again would be, an “island” protected from the senseless brutality of terrorism. The world became smaller that day, and the person who could not find Afghanistan and Pakistan on a map suddenly wanted to learn more about those and other Muslim countries.
From the standpoint of international development, the attacks were a catalyst for renewed interest in and commitment to helping address the underlying problems that prompted 19 men to hijack and crash four jetliners, killing themselves and nearly 3,000 others.
Consider that over the past 10 years, private donations for international causes have more than quadrupled; Bono and Bill and Melinda Gates were Time‘s 2005 “Persons of the Year”; Bangladeshi microfinance expert Muhammad Yunus won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006; the Clinton Global Initiative was established in 2005 to foster collaboration among corporate and humanitarian leaders; and Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, became the “must-read” book of 2009.
On September 10, 2001, many Americans had never pondered our nation’s role in an increasingly complex and interconnected world. By the morning of September 12, few of us had not. And 10 years later, we recognize that it is better to embrace the challenges we face globally rather than retreat, build walls, and pretend that America can exist on its own.
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The full article also includes thoughts from evangelical leaders Philip Yancey, Harry R. Jackson Jr., Wess Stafford, Samuel Rodriguez, Anne Graham Lotz, William Paul Young, Matt Redman, Margaret Feinberg, Douglas Wilson, and Will Willimon. Read it on ChristianityToday.com: “How Evangelical Leaders Have Changed Since 9/11.”
How have you changed since 9/11?