Monday, June 13, 2016

We stand by you.

I had big plans to finish posting about our trip in Croatia and Bosnia, but it felt weird.  It didn't feel right to post about how much fun we had traveling when there are so many people mourning after yesterday's tragedy in Orlando.  As I thought more and more about what I wanted to say, I realized how difficult it is to put in to words how upsetting this is.    I saw the following on Facebook by Jen Hatmaker and, while it doesn't cover everything, I think it does a good job.


My black friends taught me something important, particularly after the mass shooting in Charleston at Emanuel AME Church, which was a targeted mass murder like this one aimed specifically at a people group:
When people anywhere have been targeted and murdered that share something specific with you - race, sexual orientation, religion - it is not only terrorism against the victims but psychological terrorism against their people group. It shakes down your sense of security and safety, because truly, it could have been you, your brother, your best friend, your dad. It IS you, your brother, your best friend, your dad. What hurts one, hurts all.
What my black friends taught me is that the ancillary offense, where grief is compounded and loneliness sets in, is when their friends and colleagues outside of their tribe say NOTHING. When their churches don't stop and grieve. When their coworkers are silent. When their neighbors look the other way because they aren't sure what to say, so they say nothing.
Our gay friends and kids and church members and neighbors are particularly hurting and scared today. As are their mamas and daddies and sisters and children. This targeted hate and violence is not just shocking the Orlando community (and the rest of us), but specifically the LGBT community and everyone that loves them.
Here is what we can do:
Call your gay friend, neighbor, daughter, college roommate, son, coworker, church member, brother - call them voice to voice, or even better, face to face where you can put loving arms around them and say:
"This was unspeakable. This was horrible. This was unconscionable. I see this evil and I condemn it fully. I will sit right here and grieve with you. We will not gloss this over or forget. You might feel unsafe or insecure or scared today, and I want you to know you are not alone. I love you and I stand by you."
Don't say nothing. The way to battle this kind of evil is to overcome it with love according to Jesus who, by the way, would be smack in the middle of Orlando if he was still walking around down here, attending to wounds and souls and beloved hearts. Put your arms around your gay friends and family members and speak love and solidarity and presence and hope into their lives.
God in heaven, be near.

We love you and we stand by you.  Those words are so simple and, yet, so powerful.  So to the LGBT community, as well as the millions of Muslims in the United States, Turkey and around the world who are honest and genuinely good people, we stand by you.