Standing with Orlando: Choosing Something New

50 people dead, and 53 more injured and I am sitting at these keys being awfully bossy with God about light, and hope, and peace, and evil, and about all of His attributes, begging… No telling Him. You must not let another victim die. The death toll stops here, at 50. No one else dies from their injuries. Reminding God just how strong and powerful He is. How able He is to do so much more than we can even imagine.

All the while fighting back the need to ask, “well why in the first place.”

It feels like holding my breath under water. But I’ll just keep holding it, and just keep reminding God Most High of who He is and what He stands for, and of the 53 injured victims that need Him so badly right now.

Later I might exhale that breath and let the flood come, and begin the cosmic wrestling match, but right now, they need me, and they need Him so I’ll just keep holding it.

God is just fine with all of this. The bossing, and the only dealing with what I can deal with at this moment. He honors it, and He is here with me in His Fullness, though I can only give Him half of me at best.

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To the victims and their families: I am so sorry. There is nothing anyone can say that can erase the trauma. Nothing anyone can say to bring your family member back. So the only thing I will say is I am so, so sorry, and follow it with my silent presence and prayer.

To my LGBTQ brothers and sisters: In the coming days, so much talking and conjecturing and deciding and opinionating will be done. Ignore it, and turn your gaze from the grimy sin-stained world to the beauty all around us. Toward the community you find yourself in. Toward the beauty in creation. Toward whatever makes your soul dance. There will be this powerful temptation to withdrawal your presence from society for the sake of safety. Resist it. Be boldly and beautifully you. Don’t let the hatred that was enacted upon our community quell your unique birthright to exist upon this earth as your whole self.  Be Brave, and Be Together. Fighting for one another, and completely united in common space, and difference.

To the Conservative religious Right: Please. Close your mouths. Don’t say anything. Don’t comment about gay people, and about muslim people. Don’t talk about terrorist attacks, and hate crimes. Don’t mention muslim immigration and the second amendment. Don’t you dare talk about potential presidents, and laws or regulations or people that would have prevented x,y,z.

Though this was not an act perpetrated by a radical Christian, don’t think your hate spewed from every news channel, and every social media outlet isn’t not a driving factor in the death and injury of over a hundred victims that just so happen to be the part of the group you malign the most: the LGBTQ community. You have created a society where minorities, and especially sexual minorities, are hated and feared, and you’re not off the hook.

And before you’re tempted to blow these words off, as inconsequential, because you know you’re on the side of righteousness, no matter who lives or dies, or who perpetrates what crimes against who, let me share the words of Jesus, your champion, so that you can make an informed decision.

“To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Luke 8:9-14

If I were you I would choose humble repentance, but the operative word is choice, and the truth is I can beg and plead for your humble silence on these matters, but you might just not be silent. Just remember, while Jesus was on earth he worked to his dying breath to redeem a lost world. How many of your breaths have been used lately for anything but fear-mongering, hatred, and oppression? Do you think there’s a possibility that you might be doing it wrong?

To the people of the World: We’ve tried hate. We’ve tried vengeance. We’ve tried teaching violent lessons to people unlike us. We’ve tried building walls. It’s not working. And it won’t ever work. 

It’s time to try something new. Like unity in the face of difference. Like courage in the face of fear. Like love. These are choices we must make over and over and over again, not just once. In every place and in every space we find ourselves, it is our humanly duty to choose to see and value the lives around us.

The operative word is choice. It’s time we chose something new.

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