Hello Peace School Families,
I'm writing this after taking my children to their school. As I sip my coffee I've already glanced at the newspaper headlines and TV screen at my local coffee shop. I fear I am becoming cynical.
Facebook posts, news and all media keep circulating the unfolding story of the mass shooting in Oregon. During my 3 years in Oregon with my wife, we lived 2hrs north of Roseburg, in another fairly small community. Feels like we are all only a few degrees from major tragedies, and left to wonder if we'll ever be the direct victims. This takes me right back to the shock I felt in high school as junior in high school when Columbine occurred. I didn't really believe something like the shooting at Columbine would keep re-occurring, but it seems that it was one of the early symptoms of a sickness deep in the heart and soul of our nation.
I fear I am not becoming numb, as some have penned of our national reaction and individual emotions. I fear I am becoming cynical, a form of numbness that doesn't affect my initial reaction, but affects what I choose to do in the long-term. Do I really believe in change? Do I really believe in trust? Do I really believe in individuals, companies and lawmakers to care for strangers and put community first? Do I really believe in myself - that I can be part of the answer to healing this deep sickness in the heart and soul of our nation? Maybe only time will tell. I'm not sure I have an answer at this moment. But I am very aware in this moment of my children, our FMC children, our children in college, and the children in my neighborhood. I am very aware of my childhood - that moment over 16 years ago when I realized that people my age had just been killed by people my age (let alone, most of them being my race and religion).
Needless to say, you are all in my prayers. As your children watch, hear or learn of these stories, may you walk with them and let them know that they are not alone. Maybe we have simple answers for the youngest, but as our children mature, may we also mature in our mentoring and forming of faith. It's so much easier to give a 10 second answer than it is to hold a life-long conversation. It's so much easier to have a vocal conversation than it is to practice toward answers. May you all be wiser than I feel at this moment. If my two children were a few years older, I'm not sure how I walk with them...
In moments like these, I hope and pray FMC and Peace School are at least one tangible way our community wrestles with: who we are, who God is, is there transformation amidst tragedy, and does love really win in the end. They have been the four questions that weave their way through the Old and New Testaments of our Bible, and they rattle in my soul at the moment. They have been my primary way of engaging the Bible for years now, yet I still stumble at how best to answer each one. As we learn the stories of Cain and Abel, of Pharoah and the Hebrews, and of Joshua and Jericho, do we become cynical? Or do we find redemption and salvation that carry us into the future? It's easy to hear a story and tell a story. It's even good to hear and tell stories. But it is hard work to wrestling with their meaning for the future.
I'm not sure what the future holds for Roseburg and for all the tragedies since Columbine and even before. I'm not sure what the future holds for Ferguson and Baltimore, and the "Summer of Grief" that started decades ago. I'm not sure what the future holds for Palestinians and Israelis, or countless other violent stories around the globe. But I hope and pray we can walk with our youth and our own souls and find hope beyond our numbness and cynicism. I, personally, am not there yet.
Events & Evites:
Tory - Pastor of Children and Youth Faith Formation.