Adrift in a sea of hatred
· · May 16, 2022 ·

The focus will be on race. It will be on white nationalism. It will be on Tucker Carlson and Donald Trump. It will be on guns. It will be on politics.

The mass shooting that shattered a sunny afternoon in a Buffalo suburb on Saturday has left ten people dead, three others injured, and hundreds of people thoroughly devastated. Mothers have lost their children, children have lost their fathers, and nothing will ever be the same for them. Ever.

Time will numb the raw emotion and age will deaden the rage. But not one of those surviving family members and close friends of the victims will be the same person they were on Saturday morning. What innocence they once had is now gone. What optimism they once embodied is now crippled. What hope they once possessed is now jaded.

And yet with all that pain, all that quiet, unyielding sorrow, the rest of us will obsess over racial activism, cable news hosts, and high capacity magazines.

Count me out.

It's not that I don't have thoughts or opinions about each of those things. It's that I recognize those thoughts and opinions are not important right now. Not in this moment. Maybe not for the next several moments.

Among all the other casualties of our endless political rivalries, we've lost the ability as a people to grieve with and for one another. We can't lament the senseless loss of life and speak words of healing and love because we're too busy making sure everyone knows this event doesn't prove my side is wrong about anything. And yes, that cuts both ways.

We fear letting our guard down to show empathy and compassion because someone might accuse us of being woke.

We fear acknowledging that the evil at play here goes much deeper than politics and ideology because someone might accuse us of being a fundamentalist or Jesus freak.

So instead, the vast majority of our culture will do what it always does – argue around the periphery, ever hearing but never understanding, ever seeing but never perceiving. Never have I wanted to be part of the minority so badly, to engage a different set of questions.

Questions like this:

If our land is not under the judgment of heaven and can still be healed, this much I know – that will start with our humility and submission, not our posturing and pride. It will start when our first impulse after tragedies like this is to pray, not pontificate; when we offer condolences rather than hot takes and prefer making peace to accruing power.

Since that's what I want, my prayers for the suffering souls of Buffalo will be accompanied by prayers that in this ever-widening sea of hatred that surrounds us, God would make me a fearless ambassador of His revolutionary, redeeming love.

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