Oregon PrayersTo be honest, I am not quite sure what to say. Perhaps that is not the best way to start a blog where you are trying to say something. So, this may seem like a post made up of random thoughts. I think that’s okay.

I know many people do have a lot to say when it comes to the subject of guns and gun violence. In full disclosure, I’ve never lived in a house where guns where present. I did not grow up going hunting or even shooting for sport. I’ve never personally lived around either a healthy or unhealthy gun environment. I know gun owners and non gun owners who are wonderful people and have a positive influence on my life. Among my non-clergy friends, I suspect I am in the minority when it comes to gun ownership.

I’ve never even thought about purchasing or tried to purchase a gun. I can’t speak with any sort of personal certainty on whether our current gun laws are effective or not. I do know that we have a problem when it comes to gun violence and we cannot stick our head in the sand any longer.

The pain of gun violence is real. I remember when the shootings at Columbine High School occurred, it felt like an isolated, once in a lifetime type of incident. Now, it happens all too often, to the point where are no longer shocked, but simply resigned. After our resignation sets in, the statistics from both sides of the debate begin to fly (stats we need to pay attention to). In many ways, the debate around the 2nd Amendment has become our great divider.

Do you remember the John Grisham book and movie The Runaway Jury, which came out about twenty years ago. The book centers around deaths caused by tobacco. When the movie came out, they switched the focus to death by guns, as the movie producers believed that tobacco was too controversial. My, how times change.

We have an epidemic of gun violence in our nation. There are other symptoms at work here, including racism, religious fanaticism, the glorification of violence and other things, but that doesn’t mean we should not do anything, including further work on these root causes. We have also stigmatized and cut funding for services for people struggling with mental illness. That’s another conversation we need to have as well.

We are willing to ban books to keep our children safe, but we can’t come together to figure out how to stem the epidemic of gun violence. We can do better. It’s time. I think both gun owners and non-gun owners can work together to rise above the rhetoric to take action that makes sense.We cannot afford more heartbreak over the loss of life due to gun violence. The life God gives us is too precious.

To me, this is not an issue of personal freedom. It’s a big picture kind of question. This is about what type of nation in which we want our children to grow up. This is about life, about proclaiming that human life is more precious than we treat it today. What if being a gun owner or a non gun owner did not divide us on this issue? That’s what it will take; people from both sides proclaiming that life is too precious to continue to lose lives to acts of mass gun violence.

I’ll close by recognizing that I’ve used We a lot in this post. That’s because this is a collective issue, an issue that we as Americans need to take ownership.. It will take people from both sides of the fence working together to stem the tide of violence in our culture. Friends, we can do better,

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