My goal, when I began trying to regularly write a BLOG article as part of the Hope Church website, was to “enlarge the community of the faithful”. It is not focused on increasing membership, or encouraging our church to grow, but seriously, I want us to think about strengthening the community as a whole. Strengthening and enlarging the ‘community’ of people that consider themselves ‘faithful seekers of a sacred way’.
To me that means people of any faith tradition growing in that faith tradition and moving themselves to a place where the whole community of compassionate, justice seeking people would be enlarged. A grandiose sort of goal, but that is what is on my mind.
I am today deeply troubled by a number of news events and what has been my own personal experience. First it has been my own experience that whenever I write articles about “unity” or “community building” or finding a stronger sense of coming together, that are published in some form of public media, those are the articles that are met with the strongest opposition. Letters to the editor, phone calls, and personal e-mails, all come to me saying something along the line, “Unity is okay if all people believe the author of the letter’s way.” What I am saying is “unity” is the most controversial topic I have written about. It stuns me that people are so against getting along with one another.
That, together with two pieces I heard on the news this morning, are causing me a great deal of consternation today. Both pieces involve an increase in gun violence.
Since the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting there have been seventy-four (74) school shooting incidents across this country. The comments and thoughts are turning from, “It can’t happen here!” To, “When will it happen here?”
The other news incident that greatly concerns me is the dramatic increase in “anti-government police shootings”. There have been several incidents in the last few months, some of which the perpetrators have not been caught. The number of such incidents is rising to an inflammatory level, language which encourages action against police and law enforcement agencies just because they are agents of the government, is increasing.
Respect for life called Abraham to give up human sacrifice and worship in a way that lifted up the sanctity of life.
Respect for and an acknowledgement of the sacredness of life motivated Moses to work to free the Hebrew people from a life of oppression and to subsequently lift up before the people a new law whose focus was life and living in community.
Respect for and appreciation for the sanctity of all life is central to every major religion of the world today. EVERY religious and spiritual practice has in its roots and at its core the importance and central understanding that life is to be held in reverence.
We who allow gun violence to increase, who allow gun laws to become more and more relaxed, and who allow guns to proliferate at an alarming rate; are guilty of condemning our society to extreme disunity.
Life itself is sacred. The community that we are when we come together to build a better life for all people is sacred. It is not only Jesus’ message but is the message of all who seek a road down any religious or spiritual path.
Speak out for unity and community and the sanctity of life.