As a Unitarian Universalist, I've been thinking about and praying for my UU brothers and sisters in Knoxville, Tennessee, where a man opened fire in a UU church Sunday morning, during a children's performance. Two people were killed and six were injured by gunfire, but no children were hurt - physically, at least. The 58-year-old man arrested in the attack said he was prompted to act by my church's liberal teachings. (Story here.)
Plenty of writers have weighed in, trying to make sense of this senseless act. This is an eyewitness account from a member of the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church. And this is a reflection written by one of my fellow Boise UUs, the father of a young child. He notes how, in our local Sunday service this week, we were treated to a trip through the Grand Canyon - and how surreal it seems to realize now what was going on in Knoxville just hours before, in another UU sanctuary. David writes:
I'm juggling this message of hope and beauty against the horrific reality of what took place that same day in Tennessee. It's too much to fathom. I do believe, however, that trying times call for an outpouring of love. Not hate. We as a people must rise above mindless acts by misguided individuals. Harboring hate in your heart only allows it to fester and poison your entire being.
I believe we must come together in community and redouble our efforts to realize a world that focuses on love, not hate. Peace, not violence. Compassion, not division. This may be the impossible dream, but it sure beats the alternative. It beats wasting this gift of life on fear, anger and resentment.
Tom explores the ironies, as well.