Disarming Hate

Once again the country is thrown into the chaos of violence. Once again people of color are the target. A place of worship and prayer is the crime scene.

We have so much work to do in our nation. So much is broken – not in the places where politicians’ promises can fix it or where corporate lobbyists can swoop in and protect our self-interest. The fabric of our society is tattered and the warp and woof of it all is stretched and thin and pulling apart in places far beyond what systemic tweaking can repair.

It’s good to say that our prayers are with the victims of those slain in Charleston. It is appropriate to say our thoughts are with the members of the community as they try to understand yet another unravelling. But more is required.

I am reminded of a time when traveling in Israel we happened upon a grade-school soccer game. The field was surrounded by adults. One would expect the parents to be there if for no other reason than to give the young footballers a ride home. But this felt different to me. It seemed there were more adults than what one would expect at such an event. The thought occurred to me: This is a wall of protection. While they can’t protect the bomb from falling from above, they can establish a perimeter around the children they love!

Perhaps that is what we are going to have to do – establish perimeters of love and protection. Maybe a lot more people are going to have to go to church, synagogue and mosque than ever before – not just to pray, but to stand. Maybe we need to physically join hands around the places of play, prayer, commerce and fellowship with an attitude of radical hospitality and unwavering vigilance.

A friend of mine has often said “There’s no cure for ‘stupid’.” I’m beginning to wonder if the same isn’t true for hate. But if there is no cure for it, we need to do more to disarm it.

Mark Demers

Want to talk about sex, politics, spirituality? So do I. I grew up in a religious home in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Our country was reeling from assassinations and the devastation of the Viet Nam War. Looking for something beautiful, I got a degree in music, married the love of my life and had children. Looking for God, I then went to seminary. Looking for something that might transform the world, I became a local church pastor. Now, I’m always looking for people who want to talk about important things. I cherish conversations with emerging leaders, people who are antsy to try an idea they believe would change the world for the better. I’d would love to hear from you.