17 Thoughts & Prayers

1: Thought

Are roses still discounted the day after Valentine’s Day, if on Valentine’s Day there was a mass shooting? Or are those clipped stems, floating in a vat of water, still full price? After all, it’s a supply-and-demand thing—the way gun sales go up after a mass shooting—and either way, these people stand to make a killing.

2: Prayer

That we can protect those with little power. As one Florida writer noted: “our two deadliest shootings . . . have involved children (parkland) and queer people (orlando).”

3: Thought

The most powerful members of our society—the President, Vice President, representatives in the House and Senate—profess at a rate of more than 90% to be Christian.

4: Prayer

That it will not take a Judgment Day, at the separating of the Sheep and Goats, for us to understand Matthew 25:45: “Whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.”

5: Thought

The shooters, we’re told, quite frequently suffer from mental illness. Which is meant to explain why it wouldn’t help to do anything. Really, as those of us with mental illness can attest—those who take the pills, those who see the therapists—it explains why we could do much more.

6: Prayer

That the President, who reminded us this morning that the blame for this falls on those who suspected the perpetrator was homicidal and did nothing, will reconsider his policies that make it easier for those with mental illness to get guns.

7: Thought

This morning FOX News shared on social media that the White House had lowered its flag to half staff. Which seemed to be the least they could do. And really, it was.

8: Prayer

Maybe it’s wrong to disrespect our leaders like that, in a Christian sense, at least. Because 1 Timothy 2:1-2 says: “. . . I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life. . . .” Similarly, Confucius said to shame the powerful into doing what’s right by living blamelessly, by walking uprightly.

9: Thought

Because something that should be unnecessary is shaming politicians on Twitter who send thoughts and prayers also on Twitter while they take money from the NRA in real life.

10: Prayer

That somebody will do something, that once the vigil is over we will not blow out our candles, that we will remember how James 2:26 says: “. . . As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” Or how Langston Hughes says:

I am so tired of waiting,

Aren’t you,

For the world to become good

And beautiful and kind?

Let us take a knife

And cut the world in two-

And see what worms are eating

At the rind.

Or how the Bible also says to “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s,” and what most of our Caesars need is a permanent vacation.

11: Thought

Because something else that’s unnecessary is politicians who take money from the NRA. And people who wait for them to do the right thing.

12: Prayer

That we can live a peaceful and quiet life once the majority of Americans who support comprehensive gun reform are heard over the exploding barrels of AR-15s. That we can walk uprightly because we don’t have to hide under desks, around corners, in locked classrooms, like we’ve drilled, so many times.

13. Thought

At school, when teaching logical fallacies, it can sometimes be difficult to come up with an example for the “fallacy fallacy, in which one problem with an argument invalidates the entire point. Here’s a handy example: “It wasn’t an actual AR-15,” or: “No, AR-15s are only semiautomatic.”

14: Prayer

That these final lines from Kathy Fish’s story, “Collective Nouns for Humans in the Wild,” will stop haunting us:

Humans in the wild, gathered and feeling good, previously an exhilaration, now: a target.

A target of concert-goers.

A target of movie-goers.

A target of dancers.

A group of schoolchildren is a target.

15: Thought

But, as we’ve heard, it’s disrespectful to talk about the problem so soon: too soon after Parkland, too soon after Vegas, too soon after Sandy Hook, too soon after Virginia Tech, too soon after Columbine.

16: Prayer

That maybe, this time, we can talk about the problem sooner.

17: Thought

It’s probably cheaper to buy two bouquets of a dozen roses than to buy seventeen individually. Just tie together the ones you must, stem to stem to stem to stem to stem to stem to stem to stem to stem to stem to stem to stem to stem to stem to stem to stem to stem, and pile them on the roadside memorial. The others you can throw in the trash. Because what does it matter when they’re already dead?


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