Tuesday, January 11, 2011


What happened in Tucson was horrific even in a world with seemingly continual traffic in the horrific. The natural tendency is call for heroes and villains and to find a simple, pat answer to "Why?" Then move on. Business as usual. Heroes are pretty easy to spot. Thank God for heroes. One villain is not hard to find but we always search for more (usually based on our prejudices.) "Why?" defies simple answer even though we will accept (or have accepted) one.


Here is another viewpoint. "What 'Aha!' moment bubbles up from the horrific? We are not talking "the cause" or the "simple solution." "Aha's!" are brief glimpses into what very well could be the Truth. A Truth we do not see normally because we are so busy with the things of pressing importance (or so we think.) "Aha's!" make business a usual impossible.


I have had an "Aha!" developing over the past few days. It is this. I will pray to see if it is the Truth. We are just too partisan for our own good and we need to choose another way. I have frequently commented on the vitriolic state of (un)civil discourse, where everyone's loyalty, intelligence, patriotism, and motives are determined by the loudest voice.


Roger Ailes, who heads the Fox News Channel, has told his traditionally outspoken hosts to "shut up, tone it down, make your argument intellectually." He adds, "Both sides are wrong, but they both do it."


Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said, "[Limbaugh] attacks people, angers them against government, angers them against elected officials and that kind of behavior in my opinion is not without consequences." "The kind of rhetoric that flows from people like Rush Limbaugh, in my judgment he is irresponsible, uses partial information, sometimes wrong information."


Rush Limbaugh's opinion was the sheriff was a "fool."


Blame does not matter. Name-calling is for elementary playgrounds. What does matter is the fact that we no longer engage one another civilly and respectfully regardless of what others think or how wrong we think they are.


Listen more than talk. There are no people on the face of this earth who Jesus didn't make, who Jesus didn't forgive by dying for, and who isn't a sinner. Help change the conversation from "Let me tell you in no uncertain terms what's wrong with you and what you think and the simple solution you miss," to "What do we share in common values?" I believe we share some common values (and they may take time to uncover) and they are the basis for respectful dialog and, even, solutions.


Celebrant   Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself?

People       I will, with God's help.


Celebrant   Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?

People       I will, with God's help.


Two promises from the Episcopal Baptismal Vows.

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