It is a frightening world we live in. Clergy have had to say over and over again in their sermons and communications so many times this autumn, that our hearts are breaking as we unavoidably learn the details of traumatic events of gun violence and natural disaster. But this one hits us particularly hard. It was very hard to explain what happened to my kids. I’m not sure such violence can even be fathomed by 6 and 8 year-olds. I made sure they knew that such an event happening at our church was extremely unlikely.
Where is hope in all of this? My sources of hope come from knowing we are beginning to connect our country’s legacy of historical violence with today’s angry white men, the ethos of the military, and domestic violence. The sense of entitlement some men have to create incredible violence in public, at home, and in the work place is finally being held up in sharp relief. Such entitlements can be lethal, and I believe this on-going war of men behaving badly will not become a permanent fixture of our society. This level and frequency of horror cannot continue forever. I believe in the power of our citizens and residents to demand new policies, holding our government and military accountable. It will take awhile, but we will see an improvement in my lifetime (I’m 44).
The shut-down of powerful male bosses due to their criminal actions of sexual harassment and assault is one such sign of hope. Let us be vigilant that we don’t sink back into complacency in this regard. Men, we need your help here! Take time to speak to your male colleagues, or if you have such power, establish seminars in your workplace that address sexual harassment, which is a form of violence.
Things cannot shift quickly enough, but in the context of our 240 year history as a nation, voices are becoming stronger in the never-ending quest for feminist principles of human rights and non-violence.
So as we mourn the world as it is now, let us also see the signs of hope, and the signs of growth. Let us find the ways we can each make a difference, no matter how small, in our fervent hope to build a more just and peaceful world.
See you in church!