Orlando Response

Posted on June 22, 2016 at 12:52 pm by heatherscherer No Comment

I have perhaps waited too long to make a public response to the horror of what happened in Orlando but I spoke to my congregation about it on the day of the shooting and again in my sermon a week later. I wept through prayer for those involved and all the souls that will be damaged that we will never know.  I realized that maybe that isn’t enough because there are those who don’t attend my church who are looking for a Christian response to what happened.

I was sickened to see a video of a preacher in Sacramento who claimed that this shooting spree was an act of God as punishment to the sinful.  It reminded me of crazy preachers who said Hurricane Katrina was an act of God punishing a city for their sinfulness.  But the reality is that if God had time to met out punishments for every act of sin then we would all be in a lot of trouble.  I’m tired of God being blamed for acts of people with mental illness or hate filled hearts.  Stop laying that on God!

We are people of freedom.  We have the freedom to make choices every day that contribute to good or evil in our world.  As people who claim to be of God, we should be choosing love and hope but often we are characterized by hate and judgement.  We often think we are God and it is our job to decide who is good enough or not good enough.  We are people who let our government remove all funding for mental illness and then question why won’t anybody do anything about “those people”.  We are people who demand the right to own a gun but won’t do anything to stop people from owning semi-automatic or automatic weapons.  We are people who watch children get gunned downed in an Elementary school but go back to business as usual. We spend money debating things like bathrooms and do nothing about the thousands of abused and neglected children in our communities.  We should be ashamed to call ourselves “Christ followers”.

Jesus was intentional about reaching out to those who were the fringes of society and claiming their humanity as the children of God.  He took risks to be in relationship with those deemed unworthy by the establishment.  He befriended and broke bread with people that the religious labeled sinful.  He took risks to speak truth to power and ultimately paid the price for his radical counter cultural lifestyle.  Are we really Jesus people?  Or are we sit in a pretty building and pat ourselves on the back for “being good” people? Do we construct bridges of love and hope for those not like us or do we isolate ourselves?  We must stop witnessing horrible injustice and doing nothing.

My church, my community of faith, is a place where all people are welcome and treated with dignity and grace.  My partners in ministry cancel worship to mop out the buildings of flood victims.  We have worship in the park sometimes and give away free food to anyone in the park. We work very hard to be people who live out our faith each and every day in real tangible ways.  We know that worship is a way of life rather than an event to attend.  Our response to Orlando is this- if you are LGBTQ and struggling with what that means for your life then you need to know that God loves you and we love you.  If you are not struggling but have treated with hate by people who call themselves Christian, then we ask your forgiveness for that is not what Jesus was about.   Please give us a chance to be in relationship with you and get to know you.  If you are Muslim, we are sorry that you have been labeled a terrorist and ask your forgiveness for words of hate that have been thrown your way.  Just like we do not want to be known as people like Westboro Baptist, we recognize that you do not want to be known by the hate filled radicals of your faith.  We ask you to join us in professing a world of love and hope where all people can work together for justice and good.Facebooktwitterby feather

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