Let’s Talk About Guns

Flickr: prophetofdelphi

Flickr: prophetofdelphi

UPDATE: For all of my friends who will be speaking before their faith communities this weekend — as you adjust your liturgy and your sermons in light of today’s shooting, know that I do not envy the spiritual leadership to which you are being called. May you have the courage to choose words, not out of convenience and avoidance, but conviction and transformation. To that end, here are some educational and liturgical resources from my denomination: GUN VIOLENCE RESOURCES.

I woke this morning to the news that, yet again, gun violence has devastated a community. Yes, there are communities that deal with the threat of gun violence every day of their lives, but tragedies like this, ones that take place in communities where this is not the assumed or perceived environmental norm, can shock the system into realizing something must be done.

For all of us it is time to, again, talk about guns in the United States.

While it might seem to be politically prudent and socially acceptable to avoid talking about difficult issues like guns, if we – families, communities and governments – hope to experience health, wholeness and healing, avoiding that which is emotional, difficult and painful is never a sustainable strategy.

Just as a couple struggling in their relationship to say that they don’t have the time, the money or energy to go to counseling, unless the United States is done being a people who can engage in difficult conversations that strive to achieve a common good, we cannot afford NOT to spend the time, the money and the energy on talking about guns in our society.

I have certainly offered my thoughts on this before and I am under no delusions that this post or my tweet or my isolated voice crying out into the night will do any good. What I do hope is that for anyone – politicians, pastors and you – who may be weary of the arguing that has taken place, fearful of the conflict that might arise or doubtful that anything will come of the attempt, I implore you to think again. While the cost in relationships, energy and status has the potential to be significant, the potential for lives to be saved, healing to be had and hope to be restored is worth any risk that might be taken.

So please, lets talk about guns, gun violence and gun laws.

It is time.

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8 comments

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  • Amy  

    I just feel like we don’t need to be discussing politics at a time like this. The same way that I feel like we don’t need to be discussing this incident with kids. I was in 2nd grade when the Thurston and Columbine shootings happened…I didn’t find out about them until a few years later.(I’m from Oregon, so it may be strange I didn’t know about a shooting in my own state) I think that’s a good thing. It preserved some of my innocence. Ignorance is bliss, especially when you’re a child. I also really feel like pastors shouldn’t be bringing this up in churches on Sundays. Instead why don’t we focus on the hope of these situations? There is hope. We just need to look. I know this was probably WAY off topic. It somehow just all connected in my head and made sense. :)

  • Stushie  

    Where there is no sanctity of life, there is no sanity among the living. All life is precious; until we learn that first, then all life is precarious.

  • Nadine Finigan  

    Bruce, thank you for this post. I would add that even in communities with high levels of community violence, schools are places of safety for children. Let’s pray that this tragedy leads to action finally.

  • Mark Koenig  

    Thank you Bruce. It is time. It is past time.

    • Bruce Reyes-Chow  

      Thanks Mark. Whenever I blog on the topic, I brace myself for the onslaught of blog trolls who inevitably come out to feed . . . so I deeply appreciate your public words.

      • Mark Koenig  

        Here’s what I have been able to come up with so far as my reflections: http://graybeardtrail.wordpress.com/2012/12/14/in-ramah/.

        If we don’t engage in this conversation – if together we don’t find some solutions – and I use the plural intentionally – we will continue to say we have to talk about guns – and we will continue to weep. We need to talk. We need to find alternatives.

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