Someone responded to my post yesterday that said I was waiting for Christians to act in the face of the massacre of innocents in Uvalde by writing, “So what should we do, Bishop?” It’s a fair question. It’s also fair to acknowledge that I don’t pretend to have the answers about how to fix it. But there are some steps that, working together, may begin to change things. And so I share them. If you have ideas, share them. Even better, start doing them.
First, pray. Pray for the families. Pray for Uvalde. Pray for our nation. Pray for everything related to the epidemic of gun violence. Do it by yourself. With others. And in your church. Second, change the conversation. Identify this for what it is – a moral issue of deepest importance. Refuse to let it be turned into a political issue. Refuse to allow people to hide behind the second amendment and say any conversation about sensible gun availability is therefore off-limits. Refuse to allow someone to tell you that it’s not yours to address. Challenge every pastor in this nation to stand up in front of her or his congregation this Sunday and proclaim, “This is a moral outrage in the eyes of God. We will address it as such.” Third, work for common sense laws that address the number and kind of guns that are too easily available to too many. It’s not about taking away guns. It’s not about doing away with the Second Amendment. It’s not about an agenda. It’s about liberals and conservatives, Republicans and Democrats, gun owners and those who don’t own guns reaching a consensus to solve a particular problem. It’s about saving lives and, perhaps, saving our nation’s soul. It’s about the children. Fourth, help people who need help get help. We are in a mental health crisis that is greater than we can begin to imagine. The church knows how to do this. The church can take the lead in this. Starting right now.
I am all too aware even addressing this issue in this way is offensive to some of you. Indeed, I expect to hear that I have no business doing anything more than calling for prayer. But here’s why I am compelled to say what I am saying. It ultimately is a spiritual issue that permeates every crevice of our life, both individual and corporate. And addressing that is always the work of the church. And that means it involves every single person who calls Jesus Savior and Lord.