Maybe someday. But not today.

Saturday I sat in the hospital with a teen who was shot in the stomach.
Yesterday, 1 dead and 7 injured at a school shooting in Colorado.
An hour ago, while we ate dinner, shots were fired outside our home.

We held our breath until we heard the sirens.

I went outside to see if anybody needed help.
There is a mosque on the corner.

I’m beginning to believe that nothing will ever change.
Not until each of us has sat with a body bleeding out.
Not until we’ve held a child’s hand while they cry about how much it hurts.
Not until each one of us has lost somebody to this horrific violence.
Not until every one of us is shot, one way or another.

Today, my family was lucky. The shots didn’t enter our home.

There’s always tomorrow.

Holy and hurting spirit of life and love; continue to weep with our pain.
Holy and broken spirit of life and love; continue to companion us in our mourning.
Holy and powerless spirit of life and love; continue to whisper change to our hearts.
Maybe someday, we will listen. And learn. And understand. The way of life and love.


I will tear down your false god…

For this people’s heart has grown dull, and their ears are hard of hearing, and they have shut their eyes; so that they might not look with their eyes, and listen with their ears, and understand with their heart and turn—and I would heal them. ~Matthew 13:15 (NRSV)

Safe PlaceWe could use some serious healing right now. It’s no longer months between mass shootings, but weeks. And before the blood of children and elders has dried on the church pews come the thoughts and prayers. All truly sorry for this tragedy. All shocked at the senseless violence. All empty; meaningless; worthless.

Because the only god listening is the god of the gun. The rest of the gods are silent because they have said their peace: Thou Shall Not Kill. Love thy enemy. Those who live by the sword will die by the sword. What god would still listen to thoughts and prayers of the same people are unwilling to beat their guns into plowshares? The country has made up its mind and chosen the name of the destroyer. America would rather see its children slaughtered than give up its precious right to bear arms.

I have no more patience for your platitudes and empty arguments. If you have hardened your heart toward the reality that the only thing all these tragedies have in common are “men” and “guns” than the blood of innocents is on your hands too. And you will be judged by god or by history as being complicit in mass murder. I mark you all Cain; the blood in the Earth cries out!

I will not stand idly by as you perpetuate a country of death for my child to live in, lest he be your next human sacrifice. I will tear down your false idol. I will strip you of your weapons of death. I will make it so that children can once again be safe in their schools. Safe for people to gather in song and dance. Safe for people to congregate in prayer and worship.

I am convinced the only way to do this is by making it increasingly hard to own a gun. It will require registration. Background checks. Yearly mental health reviews. Limits on ammunition. Serial numbers. Litigation and liability for sellers of guns and for owners of guns. Buyback programs. Mass destruction of all unregistered and unaccounted weapons. So… much… more.


It will take years. Perhaps decades. It is possible; so many other countries have done this. All of this and more is worth the life of one child. One mother. One father. One friend. One human being. I will not wait for gods or angels or answered prayers; I choose now. Those of you who read these words, you have a choice too. Continue to worship your god of death or open your heart and turn away from your guns. Your time is coming to an end.

There is no room anymore for those who serve two masters.


Responding to Insanity: Thoughts on the Sandy Hook Tragedy

griefI am not a psychologist, a priest, a teacher or a parent. I am not an expert in anything. When I first heard about the recent horror in Newtown, Connecticut, I responded with the only thing I really have experience in: being human.

I sat in traffic dumbfounded.
I prayed for the victims and their families.
I cried.

That’s all I really could do.

whyMy experience of true disaster is limited. By human standards, I’ve lived a sheltered, safe and secure life. Natural or man made disasters have never touched me directly. My only experience of anything even close to what happened on the east coast on Friday, December 14th is either academic or second hand.

Listening to the report on NPR, I found myself at a loss. I wanted to say something about the shooting. I wanted to do something that would help. But I didn’t have the words. I didn’t feel I had the right. I was on the other side of the country sitting in my office watching events unfold.

I posted a message on Facebook.

xl_typingThe world gives us horrific acts of violence and tragedy every day. It is always shocking and senseless to me. My heart, thoughts and prayers are with the community and families of Newtown. Do not give in to revenge, hate, fear or despair! Make every act and moment of life one that brings hope, joy, forgiveness and peace. It is the only way we will ever overcome this kind of evil.”

Having worked for news media in past, I knew what was coming. Pundits, talking heads, policy debates, anti-gun and pro-gun advocates, and a review of the event. Over. And over. And over.

05-30-argumentI expected the social media response. I was not the only one who was driven to say something. My feeds were filled with the thoughts and opinions of friends, family members, and acquaintances. Posts were shared and forwarded; memes of all varieties became patchwork quilts of opinion.

What I didn’t expect was the amount of hate. I suppose there was already blood in the water. It makes sense that cannibalism followed.

People began to make statements about violence, or gun control, or god in school, or mental health, or politics, or revenge. Those that disagreed reacted immediately. There was arguing, ad hominem attacks, and unfriending. The intellectual part of me understood points on all sides, even if I didn’t agree with some of them. The emotional part of me didn’t give a shit.

forgiveness26 people are dead. 20 of them children.

Nothing will bring those lives back. Nothing will ever fill the void left in Newtown, Connecticut. All our vitriol does is make those deaths even more painful.

We have a right to be angry.
We have a need to be scared.
But let’s bury our dead first.

Let’s mourn as a community and nation. Let’s come together to remember lives lost too soon. Let’s hold our brothers and sisters, friends and neighbors, and let them know that we’re here. We understand. We hurt. We’re human. Let’s begin the healing process.

Then maybe we can create some real change that will help move us away from insanity and closer to our shared humanity.