Disciples News Service

GMP speaks a word about Florida school shooting

by Rev. Teresa Hord Owens

Put things in order, listen to my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you. –  2 Corinthians 13:11

Once again, our nation is grieving senseless violence, senseless death: the killing of 17 students at a Florida high school, by a former student armed with an assault rifle and multiple magazines. We are once again horrified, angered, saddened and overcome with grief and loss. As a Christian minister, I know that the psalms can be powerful means of lament, of giving voice to our deepest, innermost human pain as we seek to find God’s comfort and peace in these moments. We pray, as we should; we comfort those who mourn, as we should. However, we must act.

We are weary of these scenes, these horrifying, traumatic moments that have now some estimate have affected nearly 150,000 children in school settings since Columbine. Add to that the daily trauma that children in some neighborhoods endure daily as friends and loved ones are shot in front of their eyes; the sobering confession of children whose greatest fear is that they will not live to walk home from school.

At the 2015 General Assembly in Columbus, OH, Disciples passed a resolution to speak to gun violence for the first time in nearly 25 years. Cultural understandings of the role of guns in society and how one interprets the 2nd amendment have generated vigorous and often vitriolic debate. Constitutional rights carry with them great responsibility, and carries with it accountability.  This resolution called on Disciples to model and teach “grace-filled, love-based action and non-violent conflict resolution”, to promote emergency response plans. Above all, the resolution calls for “dialogue, cooperation, advocacy and action that moves toward a reduction of gun violence and promotes anti-racist, pro-reconciling education in our communities and nations…”.

In moments like these, we continue to pray with families who are impacted, but we must arise from our knees ready to engage public officials at all levels of our government to ensure that gun violence and its accompanying trauma no longer have place in our society. One life lost is too many and we must recommit to reasonable regulation to hold ourselves mutually accountable. As Christians, we call for action that affirms the precious value of all human life, and affirms Christ’s command to love our neighbor as ourselves. We are weary; yet we must work together to hold our society to a higher standard of accountability. It’s way past time to come together to eliminate this violence. May the God of love and peace be with us.



9 Responses to “GMP speaks a word about Florida school shooting”

  1. Patricia Row:

    Prayer works, and we need the country’s administration to ACT on gun control too.

  2. Janice Hill:

    RANT ALERT! These comments are mine and mine alone. I speak for no one else! If my FIRST thought after hearing of yet ANOTHER school massacre is “maybe those NRA proponents will be silenced” I’M WRONG! If my FIRST thought after hearing of yet ANOTHER school massacre is “great, another way to erode my 2nd Amendment rights” I’M WRONG! If my FIRST thought after hearing of yet ANOTHER school massacre is ANYTHING but horror and sadness for the innocent lives lost and the heartbreak of the loved ones I’M WRONG! And then (now?) look at what a solution might be. Then WORK, WRITE LETTERS, MAKE PHONE CALLS, PROTEST to make a difference. Now is not the time? PLEASE!!! WHEN IS IT THE TIME?? How many more of these do we have to have before we DO SOMETHING!!! Please, if I see “in our thoughts and prayers” one more time I believe I’ll lose my mind. Rant over but my determination is strong, my resolve will not wane and my prayers will be followed up with action.

  3. Mary Williams:

    Resolutions are just words! What action has been taken? Talk is cheap! We need action!

    • Sarah:

      The resolution empowers Rev. Teresa Hord Owens to speak out on gun violence and encourage CC (DoC) congregations to advocate for change.

  4. Lucas:

    I find it ironic that the “one life lost is too many” arguments disappear when we talk about abortion…

    I’m not surprised that the DOC couldn’t even let the dead be buried before they ramped up the rhetoric…

  5. Chuck Dorsey:

    Attack on the tool is not an address of the problem of the violence. Everyone knows that “gun violence” is a euphemism for “gun control.” Even our GMP states her perceived need for so-called “reasonable regulation” of guns. Everyone is appalled at the devastation and loss of life in Florida. But this violence was committed by a fallen human being intent on evil.

    “We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, …” (1 Timothy 1:8-9). More laws controlling inanimate tools do nothing to stop the violence and evil intents of the hearts of the sinful.

    “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners …” (1 Timothy 1:15). What action should we disciples of Christ be taking? Marching, protesting, writing political letters and articles, community organizing? The action is to take Christ Jesus to our fallen world so that He may redeem the ungodly, the unrighteous, the lawbreaker, the sinful and the irreligious through faith in the Son of God.

    IMHO there are two telling elements of the “gun violence” (i.e., “gun control”) advocates. The first is the lack of any call to action for the hundreds who are shot daily in Chicago, Washington D.C., Detroit, New Orleans. To date, 249 people have been shot in Chicago this year. Last year it was 404 by mid February (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/data/ct-shooting-victims-map-charts-htmlstory.html). Second, when we speak of calling for “action that affirms the precious value of all human life” the words are hollow when we don’t stand against the violence committed against “the least of these” innocent human lives killed through over 54 million abortions since Roe v. Wade.

    Indeed, I wish our GMP would declare, “It’s way past time to come together to eliminate this violence.”

  6. An open letter to my Oklahoma legislature in DC. Published on facebook, an email and snail mail.

    Hello, my name is Evan Taylor and I live in Tulsa, OK where I am the minister at small Christian church. I am shocked and saddened by hearing about yet another school shooting. I am lifting up the families of the victims and those others hurt in my constant prayers.

    I consider myself a Christ-follower and I can’t just sit on my hands and do nothing. I am calling/writing to ask you, my public servant, to stand up the gun lobbies, and not accept donations from them. I am not against gun ownership, but I am against the purchase of automatic weapons. I don’t see the point.

    According to various news reports, over half of the mass shootings in America used automatic weapons. And I recently found out that the number of guns out number our population in America. This makes me so sad, but also makes me mad.

    Please support gun reform measures. Please support a ban on automatic weapons. Please support mental health programs for our schools. Arm our teachers with knowledge, with support staff, with nurses and counselor and God-forbid a living wage. Don’t “arm” them with guns.

    YOU have the chance to make this difference. YOU can make this stop. YOU can leave a legacy of saying, “That’s it, we are not going to take this anymore!” and YOU have the chance to be the real God-fearing man you present yourself to be.

    Thanks for your time. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

    -Rev. Evan Taylor

  7. Kit Berry:

    Time to act has come!! I read the above replies, and I am saddened, GMP needs to and should act, but how is the question.
    Solution: not gun control, not teachers with guns but Christ in schools. How many of our DoC church members go into the schools to be mentors? How many MEN take time to be DADs to children who are not theirs? The Great Commission is to GO and BE. WE are Disciples, that means we are to GO and be CHRIST. WE have sat in our pews long enough GO and BE the church in the schools. Protesting, writing letters and complaining is not the answer GO!