Losing Moses on the Freeway: The 10 Commandments in America from Free Press

Losing Moses on the Freeway: The 10 Commandments in America from Free Press

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In Losing Moses on the Freeway, Chris Hedges, veteran war correspondent and author of the bestselling War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, delivers an impassioned, eloquent call to heed the wisdom of the 10 Commandments. Celebrated for his courageous reporting on the crucial issues of our time, Hedges, who graduated from seminary at Harvard Divinity School, explores the challenge of living according to these moral precepts we have tried to follow, often unsuccessfully, for the past 6,000 years. The commandments, he writes, do not save us from evil. Instead they save us from committing evil.

Inspired by unyielding faith, rigorous moral scrutiny, and a fierce sense of social responsibility, Hedges offers a breathtaking meditation on modern life. Losing Moses on the Freeway illustrates how the commandments usually choose us -- and how we are rarely able to choose them. We cannot protect ourselves from theft, greed, adultery, or envy, nor from the impulses that lead us to commit evil acts. In honoring the commandments, we free ourselves from self-worship and are called back to the healing solidarity of community. It is in the self-sacrifice championed by the commandments that integrity, commitment, and, finally, love are made possible.

Why should all Americans –not just Christians and Jews -- care about the Ten Commandments? Chris Hedges, a former foreign correspondent for the New York Times and Harvard Divinity School graduate, believes that the commandments keep us from committing evil. They hold our communities together. "They lead us to love, the essence of life," he writes.

Adapted from his series of articles for the New York Times comes these thoughtful essays on why we need these ancient laws -- and what happens when we abandon them. A Phish band groupie provides a springboard for a discussion of idolatry. A Long Island whiskey bar becomes a laboratory for understanding "You shall not bear false witness." Honoring the Sabbath, he shows through the observances of one busy family, may be the antidote to popular culture. The story of the havoc wreaked on one child’s life vividly illustrates the reason for the commandment, "You shall not commit adultery." Throughout his essays, he deftly weaves his own experiences into the narrative, as well as references from Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s classic book on good and evil, The Brothers Karamazov.

Hedges believes that the commandments hold out to us the possibility of love -- and love means living for others. The commandments are guideposts that bring us back to the right path, he writes. They call us to sacrifice. Compellingly, he urges us to abandon the culture of self; to live "not by exalting our life but by being willing to lose it." --Cindy Crosby