by Marisa Fraley, Staff Writer
As religious leaders, it is important to be aware of what is going on in our world. Below, I have compiled a mix of other stories that are also relevant to the work that we do.
Our news stations are once again filled with news about a mass shooting, this time at Umpqua Community College in Oregon. Sadly, there seems to be a regular order of things when a mass shooting occurs in our country: there is a call to stand in solidarity, politicians ask for gun laws to be changed, the media covers it for a few days, we hear nothing else about it, another shooting happens.
Is there something we can do as people of faith besides console the families in the aftermath? Something for us to learn? While the motivations in each shooting has been different, there are many times, especially when they occur at schools that the shooter is looking to be remembered, to “be someone” within a society that seems to view them as invisible. Our faith tradition calls for us to reach out and love those who are ostracized and rejected by society. Maybe we can find ways to reach out to those who feel isolated and just want to feel they are important.
Attitudinal Healing Connection is an organization that aims to promote non-violence using art. A new mural was co-designed with middle school students reimaging another future. While working on it, Antonio Ramos- one of the artists- was killed. This reinforces the exact message the organization is trying to combat.
Reading this story after seeing story after story after story about violent acts that have taken place just in the past week, with sadness I wonder why our country and world as a whole seems to have such an aversion to peace? However, at the same time, reading that there are middle school students imaging themselves to be super heroes that can change their community for the better gives me hope. Many of us work with children and youth or know them and we should find our own ways to inspire them to dream about changing this world for the better, even in small local ways.
Pope Francis, who has been dubbed by some as “The People’s Pope” came to America and created some waves. If you happened to miss the news while he was here, the above link leads to the catch all for CNN stories about Pope Francis’ visit.
There are many places that society as a whole deem to be sacred, such as churches and other religious traditions’ meeting places. However, we each have places that are personally sacred. For me nature and baseball fields are sacred and places I connect with God. What are your places? May we all be able to find time to sit and be in those sacred places as we finish out this semester.
Some Jews and Muslims are making an effort to promote peace between the two groups by engaging in interfaith dialogue in Jerusalem. They are providing us with an example of what we Christians should also be doing. In our churches and faith communities, instead of promoting separation and ostracizing other religions that aren’t Christianity we should promote dialogue with other faith traditions and respect for all people as children of God.