From Rev. Roger

What Can We Say that Hasn’t Been Said Already?

A nation that has become numb to the violence we inflict on each other is grieving with families who have lost loved ones in yet another senseless mass shooting.

There are so many mass shootings that we lost count long ago. Once again, there is the special outrage and horror that the victims were young children. My granddaughters are visiting. It is not hard to imagine at least a bit of the enraged, heartbroken grief that parents and grandparents of children in Uvalde are feeling. Yes, I am giving my grandkids an extra hug. Yes, I am holding the families grieving such an unspeakable horror in my heart and prayers. Yes, I am making support of sensible gun policies more and more central to how I cast my votes in local, state, and federal elections. Yes, I am contacting my representatives in Congress. Yes, I am seeking ways to actually work toward making mental health services more affordable and more readily available (and not just saying I’ll do this with no intention of actually doing it). Yes, I am doing all of this. Again.
And, again, it feels like it won’t make any difference. Again, it’s not enough. As has been true for decades and in the wake of thousands of mass shootings (including some 212 just in these less than five months of 2022), more–much more–needs to be done. Our society is awash in hatred, bigotry, horrible treatment of kids that turns too many of them from victims into perpetrators before they’re adults, fewer affordable treatment and support for families struggling with mental illness, ever more graphic depictions of staged and, increasingly, real violence, and guns that are designed with one purpose: to kill a lot of people in as short an amount of time as possible. Many of us keep saying and doing all of this. We keep trying. And it seems to only get worse.
I don’t have any magic answers. I’ll publicly wrestle with this on Sunday in the sermon on pacifism. I’ll wrestle with it again later next month when I do a sermon on “What Can Save Us Now?” I’ll wrestle with it again on July 3 when I do a sermon on American exceptionalism. I expect you will all keep wrestling with all this, too. Neither you nor I will find easy answers. But through this beloved community, we will accompany and help each other in the struggle. We will help each other lament and grieve and search for how we can help our country find a better way. We will be better, more whole (while still with aching hearts), more dedicated people and citizens because of this congregation and our UU faith.
–Rev. Roger Bertschausen, Interim Lead Minister