Ash Wednesday evening and what we now know is that 17 young people have been murdered by a gunman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. Many more are injured and possibly more will succumb. Politicians who robotically spout their “prayers and thoughts” are with victims hide behind prayer and religion while their hands take money from the NRA. Bloody hands! Bloody politics. Stop praying to end gun violence, Congresspersons. We didn’t send you to Washington to pray nor to instruct we who pray in our churches, synagogues, mosques and temples about prayer. We sent you to legislate and protect your citizens. Stop praying to end gun violence and start legislating sensible gun control laws! We who take religion seriously deny you the use of piety to hide your inept and callous disregard of our children and young people, our fellow citizens.
This past October, I preached a sermon entitled, “We Need To Talk About Gun Violence.” If you search inside this site for “guns,” you will see over a dozen entries devoted to this topic. After years and years of massacres the only conclusion we can rationally make is, our culture is depraved. The level of depravity is stupefying and it permeates every level of our culture. In this season of Lent, let us ponder this reality, seek God’s redemption in our own lives and let us work side by side with those who want to end this scourge of gun violence in our country.
First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.
Another mass shooting in America. The time to talk is now. The time for action to remove assault rifles off of our streets is now. Men, women, children in a church–slaughtered by an alienated male (and let us not feign offense, most of these assaults are carried out by males. We need to talk about anger management with boys, starting in elementary school). Enough of the NRA lies and misleading, ideological nonsense. Guns really do kill people and assault weapons make a lone gunman an army of one. Christians, stop giving your money to the NRA and ask your congressperson to stop taking it. It is blood money.
Coming in the Fall of 2018, our new sanctuary
This Sunday morning, October 8th, is the Army Ten Miler race. Click here for a map so you can prepare your travel plans into the District.
This coming week, The Wharf has its formal opening and there will be multiple activities and opportunities to see and experience the new SW. On Sunday October 15th at 4 pm Pastor Bledsoe will participate in a blessing of the Wharf along with other SW clergy. Our own Lauren White will begin the service as she sings Sam Cooke’s A Change Is Gonna’ Come. Join us on the District Pier.
The center of our week is worship. Please join us at 10 am each Sunday at Jefferson Middle School Academy in the school auditorium. Pastor Bledsoe will be addressing our nation’s gun violence with reference to the assasination of President James Garfield.
Las Vegas now has its name listed amongst the other cities of massacres carried out by lone gunmen who, with but one weapon and a lot of ammunition, destroy a multitude of lives. I have written so often in blogs about this that I can see no point in repeating what I have said on those other occasions. Our society is very sick. We should be alarmed. We should be rational and logical about how we limit access to these hideous weapons. But we aren’t and we won’t. And at the center of that hollow problematic is a wicked disposition desperately in need of a remedy and redemption. Let me state that last sentence more clearly: the problem is deeply spiritual. The remedies are simply mechanical and legislative but there must be a will, an intention to do what must be done to safeguard our society.
As you cross the threshold to enter the world, do so with blessing on your lips. When you cross the threshold and re-enter your home, do with thanksgiving and gratitude in your heart. In the various decisions you make in a day—from how you greet someone to how you carry out your work—consider doing no harm and expanding the circle of friendship and kindness. Join a community of the Spirit so your and my life might be hallowed, not rendered hollow.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
We remember the perished and wounded in Las Vegas.
Christe eleison. Kyrie eleison.
Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy
How many times must we turn to one another and ask that the violence stop? Race and violence in America is a problem. That is an understatement. Gun violence continues to strike at the heart of our nation and yet, the idol worshippers of Moloch insist on feeding our children and their future to the Gun god. Lay down your sword. Do not give your allegiance or your hearts to those who divide, hate and insist on violence. There is no way to peace, peace is the way as the Fellowship of Reconciliation chants it. Below is a compilation of statements made over the last few years that speak to these issues.
Open Letter to White Christians
The Mocking of Christ
Guns + Hatred in America
The Scourge of Gun Violence
Defying Injustice, Speaking Truth
Shame on Jerry Falwell
Mourning Brooklyn Police Officers
Mr. Beck & Some Lives Matter
Order the Flags at Half Staff
Refuge in a Profanely Violent World
The State of Race in America
The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be proclaimed and denounced.
~Frederick Douglass, 1852, “July 4th?”
Dallas Police Officers
Our nation is in the grip of madness, a violence stoked by a variety of groups and individuals from right wing radio talk show hosts to hate groups. Our Congress refuses to act while the citizens of this country are armed to the teeth. Legislation is important. Community policing is important. As, or more important, is a change of heart, what the bible calls repentance. As we mourn yet more lives taken from their families and friends, we pray that a spiritual awakening ensues and we turn from violence as a solution to our differences and our problems. Christ have mercy. Lord, have mercy.