we’re all processing the pain of recent events in our own way. yesterday i posted some resources that i found helpful.
when i did so, i avoided commenting on the countless unhelpful responses i’ve watched transpire on my news feeds.
the tragedy is a result of not having state-sanctioned prayer in schools, and these government sponsored prayers could have prevented it.
because retailers say ‘happy holidays’ instead of ‘merry christmas’, God has taken his protective hand off of innocent people.
we’re reaping what we’ve sown.
God’s judgment is falling on us due to our acceptance of gay marriage and abortion.
God could have stopped the carnage, but since he’s a ‘gentleman’ he didn’t – he doesn’t go where he’s unwelcome. like public elementary schools to protect innocent kids.
God actually directed the attack as a warning to all of us.
satan actually directed the attack in the body and soul of the shooter.
the list goes on. and on.
and it makes me furious.
my blood pressure rises, and i have to quite consciously resist the urge to tweet and comment and lay out a slew of expletives distancing myself from this insanity and demanding its marginalization.
i want to.
i want to call out the dangerous and damning theology i find more hurtful than it is helpful.
but how can i do so in a peaceful and productive way?
when we dehumanize any Other evil can flourish. all Others….those we differ from spiritually, morally, philosophically, socio-economically or theologically.
as i wrote earlier this week, the logical and inevitable response of such a trajectory is apathy, ignorance, intolerance and even violence.
i often make the case for solidarity with the Other. for many of my conservative evangelical friends, it is a challenge to see the value and potential in my gay friends, my muslim friends, my friends on welfare, my drug-abusing friends, my mentally ill friends… it is easier instead to dehumanize them as ‘Other’ and treat them as ‘less than.’ i challenge them to view these ‘others’ as bearing the fingerprint of God, with potential to participate in the great divine act of reconciliation for all people.
that’s not as difficult for me as it once was.
but now, i have a different Other. for me, it’s the pat robertsons. the john pipers. the mike huckabees. the james dobsons.
i view them as Other. as dangerous. even wrong.
yet once that line has been crossed – viewing another human as ‘Other’ – it’s much easier to harm them with words or actions. to call them names. to condemn them. to isolate them. to demonize and accuse and eventually destroy them.
and so i argue – even with myself – for solidarity with all Others.
we can debate theology and causes and reasoning and search for answers to the questions that haunt us in the midst of tragedy. we can discuss, and we can disagree.
yet when i begin to become that which i argue against – when i demonize the demonizers; when i oppress the oppressors; when i accuse the accusers; when i condemn and isolate and name-call and bully and abuse…
i cease to follow God in the way of jesus.
when i cling to love and compassion and goodness and gentleness and mercy and kindness and empathy and tenderness…when i offer grace and pursue peace and shalom with all people, i am following in the example of my messiah – and doing my part to be an agent of reconciliation – bringing heaven a little closer to earth.
sometimes i wish that were easier.
what about you? what do you think?