The one name not mentioned

Published 2:53 pm Tuesday, August 6, 2019

went to bed Saturday night saddened by the news of the El Paso shooting. I grieved, “How many times are we going to have to go through this?” I never imagined that upon awakening Sunday morning there would be another shooting.

As I drove to my two churches for their services, I pondered just forgetting the sermon I had prepared. Why don’t we all just go to the altar and pray for our nation?

These tragedies are mind numbing. We hardly know what to do anymore. We just sit and absorb them one after the other. Believe it or not, there are those who feel that thoughts and prayers get us nowhere. Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio tweeted “Thoughts and prayers are not enough. We need to act.”

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I agree that actions are needed, but I would not dismiss the importance of prayers. I will give Senator Brown the benefit of the doubt and understand he was speaking out of frustration.

It’s probably true that, after events like El Paso, Dayton, Las Vegas, Parkland, and other places too numerous to list, people stop to think “what’s wrong with our nation.” It’s also true that Sunday school classes, Bible Studies, and plenty of sermons are filled with lamentations lifted for the fallen spirit of our nation.

How many of us remember that Tuesday night, September 11, 2001? Many churches, from sea to shining sea, met on that irregular night to pray for our nation as it suffered the most horrific, terrorist attack in history. We were in great pain and knew that praying to God Almighty was the right thing to do. It’s been almost twenty years since that night and we have not suffered another attack like that one.

Our need for prayer, though, has only increased. In just the last ten years, there have been 15 mass shootings in which over 10 people have been killed. The latest was the El Paso shooting last weekend in which 22 died and another 9 died in Dayton the very next day.

The finger-pointing is easily predicted. There are too many guns. The President’s rhetoric encourages hatred and violence. The internet is awash with right-wing and white supremacist groups. The mentally ill are forgotten and ubiquitous, that is everywhere. The seeds sown by violent video games are yielding evil crops. Parents no longer monitor or know what their kids are doing.

I could go on and on with the blame game, but, as we had to acknowledge in our Sunday night discussion about “What’s going on,” we all could give substantive reasons. What we couldn’t do, however, was come to some answer that would be acceptable to our nation.

We had to admit we have heart and soul problem. Our nation is deathly sick and, as the Lefty Frizzell song goes. “We never go around mirrors.” We don’t have the will or courage to “tell it like it is.”

Senator Sherrod Brown says, “Thought and prayers are not enough. We need action,” but what sort of action does he propose? He points to the need for greater gun control. I’ve got news for Senator Brown. Pandora’s Box has been open for too long.

Besides, answer me this. We have had guns for centuries, but this spate of violence is less than 20 years old. Something has happened lately that tells me, as a nation, we have changed. The change does not have a “D” (Democrat) or “R” (Republican) as part of its definition.

Some may call it naiveté, but the one name that is not spoken as a solution is the only name that is the real solution. God!