Miroslav Volf is known for grappling with matters of grace and forgiveness in the face of great pain and transgression. His widely read 1996 book Exclusion & Embrace probed theological implications of reconciliation in a fractured world. A professor of theology at Yale Divinity School, Volf's interest in reconciliation is not simply academic. Born in Croatia, he came of age in communist Yugoslavia, where he witnessed the ethnic tensions between the Croats and Serbs. After the fall of communism in 1991, those tensions escalated into a bloody war.

Last week in New York City, while terrorists destroyed the World Trade Center and thousands of innocent lives, Volf was only a few blocks away, speaking at the Annual International Prayer Breakfast at the United Nations on the importance of reconciling with our enemies. A week later, Christianity Today senior news writer Tony Carnes spoke to him about terrorism and forgiveness.

When did you discover that the World Trade Center had been attacked?

After my talk, as I was leaving the United Nations building. Some of the U.N. personnel informed us that there had been a major terrorist attack. As I walked out to Grand Central Station, I could see a large clowd of dust in the distance.

Were you afraid?

I felt very strange. I had been inside talking about reconciliation with our enemies at the same time that a terrorist attack was taking place and the World Trade Center towers were collapsing. You have to understand: I come from a country that suffered comparatively much greater damage—where one third of the land was captured and whole cities were leveled. Just one town, Vukovar, nearby my own home city was completely destroyed, and 30,000 people were either killed or driven out. We had about ...

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