Eliza Griswold has a cold. This might not seem like such a big deal except that she is almost two months into a very important nationwide book tour.
In her book, The Tenth Parallel: Dispatches from the Fault Line Between Christianity & Islam, Griswold explores what she refers to as “the knife-edge where Islam and Christianity meet.” This metaphorical edge has a very literal location in the world: Sudan—officially the Republic of Sudan.
Sudan has been in a more or less constant state of political, social and religious unrest since recorded history. Part, if not all, of this unrest is due to the fact that half of the world’s 1.3 billion Muslims and over 60 percent of its two billion Christians live along the latitude line 700 miles north of the equator: the tenth parallel.
Though it may be easy to blame ideological and religious differences for the socio-cultural unrest in the region, Griswold tells a different story.
According to the author, “the most important clashes of our time happen inside of religion not without.”
When asked to elaborate on what she means by “inside of religion,” Griswold tells SFR an anecdote about her father. Frank Griswold III was the 25th presiding bishop and primate of the Episcopal Church—kind of a big deal if one is an Episcopalian or a fan of bishops. During his tenure, Griswold presided over the consecration of Gene Robinson, the first openly gay Bishop in the Episcopal Church.
Her father wore a bulletproof vest under his vestments in preparation for that ceremony, “with the understanding not that a Muslim terrorist was going to come out of the crowd and put a bullet in him, but that a fellow Christian might,” she says.
This story illustrates the crux of Griswold’s argument. The epidemic of religious and political clashes so prevalent in our world stem from issues endemic to the individual religions themselves. If healing is going to happen, it will have to start from within. In her lecture, the author discusses how to stifle the inner demons of two prominent religions, as well as her myriad experiences traveling to some of the most tumultuous places on earth.
Eliza Griswold Lecture
Tuesday, Nov. 2
Collected Works Bookstore
202 Galisteo St.