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Pain and Sorrow in Tennessee (updated)
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I go to church on Sunday, so that is usually a grounding point for me, when I have forgotten what day of the week it is (some weeks they all run together into a blur).

Our UU congregation held an impromptu memorial service for the Tennessee congregation and for the shooter, too, after our regularly scheduled service. Quite ironic, actually, since the sermon's topic had been "Death and Dying: Where Belief Systems Hit the Road."

Some of us prayed, some lit candles, some meditated, some cried, some just sat in silence. It came particularly close to home for us, since only a month ago we ourselves had a fire bomb threat. The person is under court injunction to stay away, but I'm not so sure that means much to a person filled with hate and anger. The Tennessee UU usher who stepped in front of the gunman and took the full blast of the shotgun could have been my dear friend C who is often an usher on Sundays. He would have done it, too, knowing him.

I don't understand what can be so threatening about us, a people of open minds, loving hearts and welcoming hands.

Maybe it's our lack of hate that condemns us in some people's eyes. Maybe it's that we respect the inherent worth and dignity of all people, regardless of race, religion, culture or sexual orientation. Maybe it's because we're not judgmental enough, taking a scripture/creed uncritically and condeming all who do not adhere. [update: The man accused of shooting dead two people and wounding seven others at a church apparently selected the congregation because of its liberal social stance, the city's police chief said Monday. ]

I know my anger is a result of an attachment to an expected outcome. I expect people to do unto others as they would have others do unto them; to succor the poor, the weak, the needy; to do good to those who would do harm to us. Attached to these expectations, I am outraged when people I know to be loving and compassionate, seeking justice, are just blown away by a gun wielding killer.

I should accept this as part of the way things are, and have compassion for the killer as well as the victims. But it's hard to do.

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