We here at the Flee from Christian Fundamentalism blog would like to express our deep sadness and love to our Christian brothers and sisters at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. In particular, we would like to express our love and support for the family members, friends, and associates of those brothers and sisters who were killed in the mass shooting at the church last night. Our nine dead brothers and sisters do not need us now. They are safe at home in the arms of Jesus. As the old saying goes, “funerals are for the living—not the dead.” I am sitting here shedding tears over my keyboard and have a bit of a loss for words. What else can you say when something like this happens? The only thing that comes to mind is, “I hope and pray this sad incident can somehow bring all Americans closer together.”
Although some may be horrified at our saying it, this crime has a 10th victim. It was the young man who allegedly killed our nine beloved brothers and sisters. Twenty-one years ago in his crib, he was a bouncing baby boy with a big smile on his face and the love in his heart that all babies have. Somewhere along the course of his young life, a seed of deep confusion, hurt, and pain arose in his heart and was nurtured by some person(s) or some thing(s). No one knows who or what at this time, but we all know that too many inexperienced young people these days find themselves sucked into and trapped within boxes they feel they can escape from only through suicide or violence. It nearly always registers itself in a close-up photograph published in a newspaper or shown on a cable news report. The person’s eyes have a look about them that says, “A soul was once seated here—it is all gone now—in its place is this blank stare.” It will be both sad and enlightening to see what killed the loving heart and huge smile that beamed from that crib 21 years ago. All of us—you and I—need to find out what is draining the souls of too many American children and do something about it.
As The Lord’s Prayer says, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done. On Earth as it is in Heaven.” Borrowing a thought from Tony Campolo, it is God’s will that his kingdom begins with the stone rolled away and the tomb empty—here on Earth—as well as in Heaven. For us, the kingdom begins here on Earth. The kingdom begins here on Earth in our perpetual 2000 years of “nows.” The kingdom begins with us Christians—you and me. We are appointed by the grace of Jesus and the movement of his Holy Spirit to begin building the kingdom where the lion and lamb really can lie down and sleep in peace together. No more dead brothers and sisters. No more destroyed children. It is up to us to make it happen—you and me—right now. The end of all this madness begins with us, it begins on Earth, and it begins NOW. Please let it be so, and watch the video clip: