As We Pray for Peace…We Need to Change

How often have we used the terms “smackdown” or “fired up” or “he came in with guns blazing?” We debunk others opinions with terms like “shot em down” or “knocked em dead” or even “blew her away.”

This has got to change. Our culture used violent language at every turn and while I’m sure most mean no harm in using these terms as hyperbole, they aren’t serving us well. Some are even taking these words literally.

I fear that the many random acts of violence, most of which have been perpetrated by young adults, mostly young men in their 20s (Virginia Tech, Oklahoma City and Columbine come to mind) are continuing because of our acceptance of a violent culture–where it’s OK to hit back when someone else strikes even a verbal chord that we don’t like or agree with.

It seems to me that when someone wants to stop another from doing something that they don’t particularly like–all bets are off and vigilante justice seems to take root. Rep. Giffords was shot yesterday not long after her office was vandalized and she had the right words on NBC not long after that first instance:

From Commonweal

Asked if leaders of the Republican Party should speak out more forcefully against violence, she replied that this task fell as well to Democrats and “community leaders.”

“Look, we can’t stand for this.” There were problems with certain ways of “firing people up,” she said, and then offered an example close to home.

“We’re on Sarah Palin’s targeted list,” she said, “but the thing is that the way she has it depicted has the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district. When people do that, they’ve got to realize there’s consequences to that action.”

Many people have taken Sarah Palin to task (amongst other republicans) for putting “shotgun sites” over congressional districts that they needed to “take back.” I’m sure that they never envisioned something like this and like the good folks at Commonweal, I don’t want to suggest that the GOP is responsible for a raging madman’s actions–especially when his ramblings seem disjointed at best.

But what I do want to suggest is that we all need to change our own war like mantras that we put out there when we want to accomplish a goal.

This week we concentrate on our baptism, our initial moment of starting fresh as Christians and our constant reminders of those promises from that day forward. How can we renew these promises with a sense of urgency with regards to peace? How does God wish us to greet one another and deal with our differences? How can we be the refreshing waters of Baptism for others and a healing balm for the world?

This week let’s think about that and pray for those who were in harm’s way this week.

And most of all, let us pray for those who died and for peace.

On a personal note, Dallas Green was the Mets manager when I covered the team for a bit in the 90s. It was his granddaughter who died at the too young age of 9 this weekend in Arizona. For the Green family, let us pray. Amen.