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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Eileen shares about her new book

In the year 2000, I was a first year student in an Episcopal-Methodist Formation Program for Spiritual Directors. I knew going into the program that I would never be hanging out a shingle as a SD. I was there for the curriculum; studying the saints and ways of prayer. That is also when I began to write creative spiritual literature.

Before 9/11, I did not give too much thought for another beyond my rural community. I was apolitical, thought the world had already gone mad and there was nothing much anyone could do or say to change it. I lived a simple contended life in the rural South and have always been grateful to be an American.

But after 9/11 I got really restless and began asking a lot of politically incorrect questions. I wanted to understand why a small group of people hated Americans so much, that they would do something as evil as targeting and cold bloodedly murdering innocent people.

I have never been satisfied with easy answers and as a Christian of the Beatitudes, I understand the only way to resist evil is with good, and so I began the search to do both.

In Keep Hope Alive, I entwine the true life story of Khaled Diab, a 1948 Palestinian Muslim refugee from the Upper Galilee who realized the American dream and a career in the Defense Industry during the Cold War with Top Secret Clearance.

Keep Hope Alive begins with a group of friends around Khaled's olive wood kitchen table in Buffallo, New York the morning after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.

The topics of conversation include the origins of the Israeli Palestinian conflict, the treasures of the Nag Hamadi library and the stages of the soul.

Keep Hope Alive explores these topics in detail.

Khaled and his family move to Orlando and friends and loves come and go for "life happens while your are busy making other plans."-John Lennon

Keep Hope Alive is also my journey, thoughts and experiences told through the fictional characters of Riad, Jack Hunt, Dr. Jake and Terese Hunter.

These four characters also represent four ways to intuit God: mystery/mystical, the physical, through nature and through creativity.

Khaled reflects on the events of his life during plane flights and THAT DAY, we call 9/11 compels him to take a positive action.

With help from many friends he founded the non-profit, non-political Olive Trees Foundation for Peace/OTFFP in Orlando, Florida.

Keep Hope Alive documents the history of this organization of American Jews, Christians and Muslims who came together to raise awareness and funds to begin to replant the olive trees the separation wall has destroyed.

Thus far, 30,000 olive trees have been rooted at schools, churches, temples, mosques and by the neediest of land owners in Israel and Palestine.

I saw THAT DAY we call 9/11 as an opportunity for America to lead and unite the International community to fight the evil that targets and murders innocent people . The proceeds from this book is my humble attempt to reclaim the possibility of good THAT DAY presented the USA to lead the world in unity and in the spirit of sister/brotherhood..

It has been said all stories are true and some even happened. Everything the fictional characters say is true and most everything actually happened. Keep Hope Alive is also a direct challenge to the theology of the Left Behind series and to all fundamentalists who hope for Armageddon.

This planting season which begins in November 2006, the OTFFP has united forces with the YWCA in Bethlehem and the YMCA in Jerusalem's KEEP HOPE ALIVE OLIVE TREE CAMPAIGN.

My hope is that everyone who reads Keep Hope Alive will make a donation directly to them.


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