Disciples News Service

One family of God: reflection on Overland Park shootings

In the beginning, God created one human family. We are still one.

The word of shootings at the Jewish Community Center in suburban Kansas City reached me early Sunday evening. An all-too-familiar array of emotions coursed through me – grief for lives cut so randomly short, shock that something could cause a person to arbitrarily take these lives.

I immediately reached out to Jewish colleagues knowing that this would be deeply wounding to them and wanting to stand in solidarity as a friend and partner.

No sooner had I clicked “send” than an email arrived in my inbox from a Disciples colleague. Two of the people killed were her first cousin and his grandson. They were at the Jewish Community center for try-outs for a musical event. Both United Methodists. The slain grandfather was the son of a Disciples pastor I had known in Enid, Oklahoma. So now this act of apparent hatred against Jews has a Disciples connection, too. Now the solidarity I had offered in principle is real at a different level.

The connections and interconnections that we have as one human family are real and thick. The intention to hurt one of us hurts all of us because we are all related. The truth is, we human beings are in this together – not just this time, but every time.

*Apology – In an earlier version of this post on the recent shootings in Kansas City where my intent was to speak about the oneness of the human family, I inadvertently caused just the opposite. In carelessly chosen language I speculated on what may have driven the shooter to take his action – hate, depression, mental illness – and in so doing furthered incorrect assumptions regarding depression and mental illness. Instead of bringing unity, my words brought hurt and division. This was not my intention, but I apologize.

I have reworded the blog.

Here is a link that will help me and maybe others do better in the future.

http://www.ap.org/Content/Press-Release/2013/Entry-on-mental-illness-is-added-to-AP-Stylebook