Archive for the ‘Race’ Category

I am so sad and horrified by the shooting in Charleston. May peace and healing be among those who are most directly affected, family members, friends, loved ones. I open my heart toward them.

In these stories, there is the impulse to separate ourselves into various roles: church people, victims, shooter, townspeople, mayor, innocent bystanders, readers of the news. But what if we are all in this together? What if what matters most for all people as we are touched by this story is that this is our shared story? What if we ask questions of connection, rather than separation?

If we are all in this together, then we take action, take steps in the direction of honoring and grieving the lives lost both in this tragedy and in events like it that are close to us. How do we renew our connection to loss and tragedy that happens from the heart of race, class, or religion? How do we let this become more our responsibility. How do we say about such moments: “this is my department, my life?”

Perhaps an even more difficult task is to reframe the story to say that the shooter’s story is also our story. We may want to say “not me” about the horrifying ideation and action that could lead to such brutality. And yet, we might ask how our shared culture creates “inflammations” that can lead to a “cancer” like this, if you will. Consider several questions.

–What are our latent and active attitudes about race that in some way touch all our lives?

–We have a culture that appears to deeply believe that killing people is a solution to various problems of national safety, crime, personal safety. How might that culture enter into this event?

–What about guns, the common coin of killing technology? How do we feel about guns? How do we use them, or keep them in readiness for use?

–What are our commitments to treating mental illness and offering care and resources for those who have mental illness?

–How do we create community in our neighborhoods and towns so that people are daily formed and shaped by abundant relational connections rather than by isolation?

–There is always a strong element of personal responsibility in such horrifying events. How do we all take personal responsibility in our lives for our daily living, relationships, connections, outcomes? What all is exactly “my department?”

I think there is a lot of “we” in all these questions. What do you think? How are we all in this together? I think such sad and horrifying moments as this can be a time when, in our trauma and grief, we can seek to plumb the depths of our shared humanity and seek to find ways to walk forward with each other.

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