We try here at LiberalEvangelical.org to avoid knee-jerk reactions. So often our immediate impulse, when faced with shocking events, is simply to lash out in an emotional and habitual manner. We strive to avoid this kind of impulsive action, though I’m sure we sometimes fail. All of us sometimes fail.
When the Arizona shooting occurred, I fought the impulse to run to my keyboard. Many other commentators did not, and I can understand the fact that many of them work on deadlines that do not apply to me so I won’t offer recriminations. Recriminations abound in our society, adding to them seems fruitless.
But I’m glad that I had the opportunity to think and listen for a while before responding.
As both of my loyal readers know, I’m not a terribly partisan fellow. I’ve voted for Republicans, Independents, and Democrats in my voting life. And as this blog has shown over the years, I’m interested in politics primarily as a source of lessons and metaphors regarding the challenges of living with difference. I look to the political realm to help me reflect on the ecclesiological world: How can we worship and work together as a single Body of Christ even as we maintain our doctrinal, social, and stylistic differences? With this in mind, I can’t and won’t respond directly to the tragic deaths and injuries in Arizona. Any second hand analysis that I might offer would be useless. Instead, I’ll merely talk about personal responsibility and re-ask Cane’s questions, perhaps the most profound question ever put to God in the Bible. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”