Last week, I opened my email to continue a conversation about the new Star Wars movie, and I was immediately derailed by “breaking news” about deadly violence. And then another headline appeared, informing me that American leaders were quickly condemning the violence.

My plans to discuss Rogue One suddenly seemed so… trivial. So I scanned the official statement:

“ISIS and other Islamist terrorists continually slaughter Christians in their communities and places of worship as part of their global jihad. These terrorists … must be eradicated from the face of the earth.”

On another occasion, I might have indulged the same impulse and said, “Eradicate our enemies!”

But a haunting gallery of faces appeared in my mind’s eye: Nine soft-spoken monks, gathered around a table in prayer, seeking God’s guidance. Back in 1996, in the Atlas mountains of Algeria, the French Trappist monks of Tibhirine offered a response to violent Islamic extremists. And what they did stays with me, challenging me to search my heart and ask what Christ would require of me if ISIS advanced on my home.

To be more precise, these faces I see are actually just actors from the 2010 feature film Of Gods and Men. It’s a film that has made a lasting impression on me, altering the way I think about Christian responses to terrorism. And it isn’t just any “Christian movie.” It has a 92 percent positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes, and it won a long list of film festival awards, including the Grand Prize and the Ecumenical Prize from the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. I’m confident it will make an impression on you, too.

Of Gods and Men follows the true story of monks who were serving Algerian ...

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