I am dedicating my Lenten practice to learning more about how to make effective changes relating to gun control.
For as long as I’ve been a pastor, I have written dozens of prayers, reflections, and Kyrie Eleisons. But, I confess that I’m not educated enough on the current legislation, the elected officials, or the process to make action real. I have sinned because I have not taken enough action, and I commit to tirelessly working toward meaningful gun violence prevention. This is not an issue of the failed resources for the mentally ill. This is an issue of access to weapons of mass destruction.
My faith tells me we are to make Swords into Plowshares. I am going to spend the next 40 days learning how to create the mechanism to do so.
Tomorrow is the last day to introduce gun legislation in California. I’m working now to see what’s being proposed by Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and Everytown for Gun Safety. Even if you're not a mom, you can join their mailing lists and offer to help with their events. Every voice helps in this fight; we need to be loud. Text ACT to 644-33 to join the list for current updates.
I have written the principals and administrators in my children's schools to let them know that they are bearing a heavy burden of responsibility to prevent such a tragedy from happening. Write to the people leading the schools. Write to your children's teachers. Tell them you see them, you care for them, and you know that being a human shield was never meant to be part of their training.
I want them to know that I support the National Teacher's Strike on May 1. It will be a day that teaches about policy, action, and reform. It will be a day that shows even the youngest child what the power of democracy is. It’s the only thing that will catch the attention of the deepest pockets. I will march with my children. I will support their teachers and administrators. This wouldn't be an absence of learning, but the presence of what democracy in action looks like for those of us who feel disempowered and helpless.
Making political change is slow, but it begins with the people guiding the decisions. Here's a link to SwingLeft.org, which I share not for partisan reasons, but because I care about how to create effective change to the policies that impact the lives and safety of our children. No more waiting. You can research the congresspeople who received money from the NRA, and decide if you want to continue supporting the very people who are lining their pockets with millions of dollars rather than using their power to write the legislation the American people have been demanding for decades.
Yesterday was Ash Wednesday, a day that I was prepared to contend with my mortality and the mortality of those whom I love, as I smudge an ashy cross on the foreheads of friends, family, and strangers: "Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return."
Death is inevitable, but the deaths of the students and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida were preventable.
I ask that you join me in this season; even if you don't observe Lent, dedicate time in the next 6 weeks to doing more. Start with one thing: write your congressman. Attend a workshop or rally. Talk to your neighbor or co-worker. Make an action plan with your local schools. Have a conversation in your church, synagogue, mosque, local pub, or gym.
But, most importantly: Get the statistics right and reconcile your values with your actions.
Remember what it means to be pro-life, and decide if your right to bear arms is greater than someone else’s right to life.
Let’s do this work together, so that there will be a day when we no longer have to fear for our children’s lives when we drop them off at school. All lives are sacred and deserve to be protected.
Let us repent, and sin no more.