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I carried my Bible around with the confidence of someone who has just mastered the mysteries of life down to the last iota. In a society that had experienced the demonic side of Christian institutions and seen church history littered with hubris, oppression, injustice, greed, and slaughter, my wide-eyed drive to convert people made me a social nuisance. In a family that appreciated the joy of life more than most religious people appreciate their own religion, I was a heretic of the worst kind. But there was not much choice for me.
An abortion? A totaled car? What can be so bad that the Selmanovic family can’t handle! ’’ After I declared that I had become a Christian, his body convulsed as if I had stabbed him in the stomach. If I had said I’d become a disciple of Santa Claus or Satan, it could not have been worse. In that moment, the world my father had carefully built over decades of hard work began to collapse. The news that his son had abandoned the family worldview and turned his back on the Muslim heritage and culture we were a part of was crushing.
We fear the silence of the cemetery because in its spaciousness and quietness, we face our own emptiness. From silence we ask, ‘‘What if this whole faith thing is nothing more than a hunch? ’’ And through these questions, an eternal kind of life begins. A space for boundless Chapter 1 • Living with a Splinter 41 and abundant creation appears, a pregnant void. We become like fertile land where life is ready to sprout. The last time my family went to a cemetery was during our visit to our home country of Croatia.