Las Vegas. Another tragedy. This is wrong. This is scary. What is this?
This is a world where people of all races, nationalities, and backgrounds feel alone. We feel disenfranchised from our governments. We feel helpless confronting the daily problems of our lives. We too often don’t know what to do.
We don’t know exactly why Stephen did what he did. I use the name of the man who committed the unspeakable acts because while we hate what he did, he is a soul. It’s hard to write that. It’s hard to think about a person with a soul doing such awful things. He had to be so disconnected from the soulful things in life that what he did became an option.
Shootings, war, genocide: evil happens because we become animals alienated from the part of us that sees love in the world. We can’t see it in ourselves. We can’t see it in others. Stephen became an animal. But his soul was still there, or I hope it was. What can we do to stop this from happening again? How are we to respond to the violence in the world?
First, admit we all have an animal side. We are no different than Stephen. We all judge. We get angry. We get lonely and tired. We have to appreciate the broken part of our human nature so we can empathize in the broken parts of all of us.
Second, we have to value community more than we do. We can live in our houses, have everything delivered including food, and be endlessly entertained through the internet. Our animal self can be completely satisfied. But not our souls. Our souls need friends. Our souls need challenge. Our souls need tangible love and it is best found in relationships. These relationships need time together. Where are you part of communities that truly love you? There are churches on every corner, faith communities of many traditions in every city, and groups of social good in every part of the world. Who is your community? Who are you inviting into your communities so that they are open and loving?
Finally, we have to work on our faith. Faith, no matter the tradition, is the deep knowledge that we are worth loving. We is all of us. We is at all times. It is not how we are living. And, it is a faith statement that day by day can be lived more and more. How are you working on reminding yourself that you are worth loving every day?
In the face of these ongoing tragedies, why do they happen? Alienation from each other. What can we do? Admit we are all vulnerable. Find communities. Work on our faith we are all worth loving. It is the way we can start to address violence in our age.