January 9, 2011
Some days, I get glimpses of what the Kingdom will look like. I see it whenever the kids in my youth group get excited about a mission trip to help people who don’t share their advantages; I see it when the men’s group of a church goes out in the community and starts restoration work on house that burned because the owner’s insurance coverage sucked and their funds are very limited; I see it when a church opens it’s food pantry to anyone who professes a need; I see it in my friend who gave up a six-figure salary and a career in the financial industry to run a homeless ministry in downtown Raleigh, NC. Not today, though. Today, I saw the abject brokenness of this world and it makes me want to cry.
Unless you live under a rock, you know that today a disturbed young man (possibly with an accomplice) walked up to Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords while she spoke to her constituents and shot her in the face. Then, he turned and began to fire into the crowd, wounding as many as 18 people and killing 5. The dead included a federal judge and a nine-year old girl. In what universe is it acceptable to hurt that many totally innocent people? I don’t understand this; it makes no sense. And, that pisses me off.
I suppose it’s human nature to look for meaning in the meaningless. It’s why conspiracy theories that fly in the face of common sense thrive no matter what. I’m sure there are plenty of people with explanations to offer; they’re already cropping up. One blames it on rhetoric and divisive politics. Pima County Sherriff Clarence Dupnik said the suspect “may have a mental issue,” and that people like that “are especially susceptible to vitriol.” Another pointed to a shot on Sarah Palin’s website, one that was removed shortly after the shootings. Here it is:
Maybe all this contributed to this tragedy, maybe it didn’t. I don’t know and, right now, I don’t care. I don’t care about blame, I don’t give shit about who’s responsible or what this young man’s politics were. None of that matters. What matters is that people are dead and that affects us all. At this particular moment, the earthly Kingdom that Jesus gave His life to bring about has never felt farther away. Right now, I can’t see that we’ve made an inch of progress since He left us. And, that makes me sick at heart.