On a Thursday night in August 2019 we changed things up slightly.
Instead of a regular message being preached during our midweek service, a panel from our leadership sat and shared their hearts and opinions on the culture of violence in our country. How did we get here? What can I do about it? Am I responsible?
The video of the conversation is available below.
As a summary, here are some practical takeaways about what we believe is helpful and important, and what things are generally best to avoid as a response. What do you think? Be sure to share your thoughts below.
What We Shouldn’t Do
- Accept the lie that you can’t do anything. You can. We get into specifically what you can do in the next section.
- Only post “Thoughts and Prayers” on social media. It’s a well-worn cliche, and there is something deeply hypocritical about praying for a situation that you are unwilling to resolve. Again, you can do something in your own home, community, and in the next election. While we should certainly Think and Pray on the issue, we should do so with the heart of desiring answers from God.
- Unfriend or unfollow people just because you disagree with them. Let each person and situation teach you something, and ensure that you aren't just listening to voices that confirm positions you already hold.
- React by spouting the same tired party lines that everybody already knows.
- Step out of the arena. Using the excuses, “I don’t own a gun", "My kids aren’t in school", "I’m not a racist", or "I can't personally make a difference" as reasons to bow out of the conversation are not helpful or fair to your neighbors who are directly struggling with the realities we might be privileged to be able to ignore.
What we should do
- Lament - Which is to tell the truth against the backdrop of the glory of God. Sometimes that means to speak, sometimes that means knowing when to be silent.
- Learn how to grieve. How to use your voice, and when appropriate, how to non-violently protest.
- Don’t spend so much time thinking about HOW these things happen, and think about WHY they happen.
- Neighbor better. Attend your local Neighborhood Blockwatch Meetings. Host people into your own home. Take the image below and fill it out, where your house represents the home in the middle. Do you know your neighbor's names directly around you? Maybe you get overwhelmed because you've been waving to them for 5 yea'r but can't remember. Be courageous and ask them. If people in cities all over would start by leaning the names of those around us, we'd see our communities radically change. You can't hate a person when you truly know them.
- See something, hear something, say something. In July 2010 a Grandma in Lubbock, Texas, prevented a mass shooting by encouraging her grandson to get help after he had expressed his desire to hurt people.
- Pray for EVERYONE. No one (victims, perpetrators, your neighbor or the President) should be beyond your prayers.
- Be in Life Groups and Volunteer Teams. Don’t isolate yourself, or allow others to become isolated.
- Teach your kids about inclusion and being a welcomer. Educate them on how to embrace and love the loner AND the bully.
- Be intentional to befriend people who don’t look like or sound like you. If you attend a multiethnic church like Cornerstone, don't allow your attendance there to be the only time you are around diversity. Pursue it intentionally.