“Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.” Yet tread we must the day after the shooter aimed his rifle through the ballpark’s chain-linked fence at members of the U.S. Congress and their staff.
It’s a temptation to tread heavily, claiming only shock when, in fact, we all heard verbal shots before we heard the the gun shots from Alexandria, VA. Moral righteousness doesn’t help on a day like this because it is moral righteousness that pointed the rifle at the Congressional Representatives the shooter regarded as the unrighteous.
One man decided to defend the American republic with a rifle, a horrendous offense that points the finger back at the rest of us who have tread heavily against the evils we deplore or who have tread less heavily in a seething wordless silence.
There is, of course, a huge difference between a rifle and a sentence. We have spoken out here about that difference. We proudly use words, not guns.
Yet, we must confess that, in the interest of defending the America we love, Views from the Edge has fired its own shots in the appalling era yesterday’s shooter sought to end with his rifle. As a follower of Christ immersed in scripture, we have known but have sometimes failed to heed the wise caution of the Letter of James (“How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire! And “tongue is a fire” [Js. 3:5-6]) or the counsel of the Hebrew proverb (“The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing”[Proverbs 12:18]).
Moral righteousness wears a multiplicity of masks and uses many vocal disguises that hide its ugliness. Today we step back a few paces to ponder the question:
“How do we speak and act responsibly in ways that bear witness to what we believe in this time that puts our better angels to the test?”
We have no answers. Only a question.
Maybe today’s Congressional baseball game will speak louder than rifles or words.
Grace and Peace,
Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, June 15, 2017.