Once again today so many of us have aching hearts about the recent shootings in various parts of the country. Just this morning I’ve read numerous posts of Facebook friends who have literally been in tears, hurting for the families who’ve had loved ones shot and sensing that our country’s well-being is in jeopardy.
And while I’m not so naive to think that there are any easy answers or one place to suggest guilt I’m confident that there are a quartet of new commitments and initiatives that must be embraced and lived out if true change is to occur.
Let me suggest four:
- We must reject any focus on certain lives mattering more than others. I understand the impetus for comments to the contrary, but they are not true or helpful. It’s time that we regularly respond to the killing of any life, whether we agree with their lifestyle, point of view or ways of responding, as a travesty, crime and important to be addressed for what it is by government, media and cultural leaders. It’s time to become outraged every time a life is violently and indiscriminately taken no matter the reason and have that reaction be normative in our country.
- There must be a coming together of the groups warring against each other with the purpose of discerning the real problems and finding solutions that all can accept and enforce. And some of the onus to accomplish this should be the role government plays. Our leaders must quit taking sides and retreating to their social, intellectual or historical corners and invite their followers and adherents to do the same.
- Our culture must embrace and support a new, more authentic view of tolerance. We must call out people who only seek tolerance if it supports their view rather than respect and treat with dignity those who may disagree. Tolerance does not require the acceptance of other views but instead invites conversation, dialogue and learning by both sides to understand the perspectives of the other no matter the issue.
- We must teach and model a higher view of life. Life has become cheapened and expendable. And of course there are many contributors to this perspective that go beyond the scope of this blog. However, if the majority of our country will help in their own way to celebrate life in homes, schools and doctors’ offices, we would see the easy taking of life at least reduced.
So before we panic or despair, perhaps we can take some initial steps in our personal world to enforce or reinforce one of the above concepts and help our culture return to a caring, loving and productive society. Pray that others will do the same. If not, the results may be worth despairing over.