We Have Forgotten How to Lament

As I read the story unfolding before us of the mass shooting in San Bernadino, my heart aches.

First, because of the human loss of life and the human depravity that caused it. Second, because I know this is going to be instantly politicized. Third, because we are going to offer up shallow religious platitudes as a mask for our true, contrived, political feelings.

By now we know the drill. We have become so desensitized to the mass murder of innocent people that we don't even collectively mourn anymore. We don't even breathe together the profound sigh of sorrow and lament. Instead we leap into politicking, defense, and demonization.

We are so polarized that as we watch this event unfold, instead of sheer, knock-me-to-the-ground horror, our minds race to a vindictive hope that the shooters are not going to make our political standpoint look bad. "Please don't be a white guy." "Please don't be a refugee." "Please let's not blame mental illness." "Please be registered [insert those people's respective party]." "Please let that gun be bought on the black market." Our own hearts betray our lack of humanity. We are reduced to nothing in wanting only to be right, and in "being right" we think we have somehow "won" while the clear signs of mutual "losing" are all around.

And I am in no way surprised by the actions of the politicians who, time and again, use these events to further their own interests and the interests of their lobbying corporations. A myriad of talking points will come out of this, mostly to instill fear so we will listen more attentively. And all of our legislators will offer up tweetable condolences and prayers for the victims - as if God will not bring judgment and justice not only to the victims and their families but to those who help perpetuate and promulgate corrupt systems that polarize people collectively and in their own, divided hearts for the sake of vain-glory and power and wealth.

Not me. I will sit quietly this advent evening, the candle of hope lit on my dining room table. I will lament. I will sit in sorrow for a lost and hurting people. I will wrestle with the Lord over the presence of evil in our broken world and God's seeming absence therein. And I will do my dead-level best to refrain from blaming "them" or delighting in any perceived political victory.

No, broken and hurt human beings broke and hurt other human beings. There has to be more depth in this than just proving who is wrong and right in our culturally conceived political worldviews. There has be to be something more profound that strikes to the common, human core of us that cries out for revenge and anger and justice and peace and mercy and hope and, ultimately, love.

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