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BY GUTHRIE GRAVES-FITZSIMMONS

August 6, 2019


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Links among killers: access to guns, access to white supremacist ideology.
"White Extremist Ideology Drives Many Deadly Shootings" - via the New York Times

A number of deadly white extremist shootings in the United States have been linked to similar white extremist attacks overseas. 
The eleven disciples were on their way to Galilee, headed for the mountain Jesus had set for their reunion. The moment they saw him they worshiped him. Some, though, held back, not sure about worship, about risking themselves totally.

Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.” - Matthew 28:16-20
My husband and I went to Norway on our honeymoon earlier this summer. On our tour of Oslo we saw the government building Anders Breivik bombed before going to a summer camp on a nearby island. We saw a memorial to the 77 victims who lost their lives to Breivik's white supremacist violence. Sadly, his violence in Norway in 2011 has rippled across the world. The Christchurch shooter who attacked two mosques last March said he was inspired by the Norway attacker. And both the El Paso and Poway, California gunmen praised the Christchurch shooter in their own manifestos.

We are called as Christians to go out to all places on Earth to proclaim the Way of Life. When we declare Jesus as Lord, we are making both a political and theological statement, because we are joining our voices with the earliest followers of Jesus who chose to declare that Caesar is not Lord. Today, we choose the risky but ultimately rewarding path of declaring that White Supremacy is not Lord. Guns are not Lord. The NRA is not Lord. We declare ourselves to be followers of the Way of Life. 

The global spread of hate and white ideological violence means that our efforts to unite people of faith and conscience together must also be global. As much as we value local organizing - as we should - we need to overcome the powers of evil and division on a global scale. Thankfully, we have fellow Christians who are working for peace and justice all around the world. They are joined by people of many different faiths who advocate for the common good. 

When my husband and I have visited New Zealand and Norway, we saw so many people following the Way of Life - including fellow Christians and people of other faiths. So even though this strain of white supremacist violence passed through these two countries and inspired the awful violence in El Paso, we know that there are so many more people who want peace in our countries and in all countries on Earth. As hate and violent attacks grow, may our commitment to the Way of Life grow even larger.
Amnesty International is one advocacy group for the common good that works in countries all around the world. Learn more about their work and get involved in a local chapter in your area.
A version of the Lord’s Prayer from The New Zealand Prayer Book:

Eternal Spirit,
Earth-maker, Pain-bearer, Life-giver,
Source of all that is and that shall be,
Father and Mother of us all,
Loving God, in whom is heaven:

The hallowing of your name echo through the universe!
The way of your justice be followed by the peoples of the world!
Your heavenly will be done by all created beings!
Your commonwealth of peace and freedom
sustain our hope and come on earth.

With the bread we need for today, feed us.
In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.
In times of temptation and testing, strengthen us.
From trials too great to endure, spare us.
From the grip of all that is evil, free us.

For you reign in the glory of the power that is love,
now and for ever. Amen.
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