In spite of a tragedy locally with the violent murder of a 9 year old girl. The madness of a narrative where violence to justify violence through the murder of the perpetrator begins to release through the air waves. I find myself surprised by hope. My hope is found in an ever convincing thought that we live into a story we follow, believe and tell. In relationship with people on a professional level, I spend great amounts of time listening to their fears, problems on concerns. If they don’t have fear, I will usually ask questions that evoke their great fears. What I have found is there are two predominant social narratives taking place in our time, one of fear that leads to isolation, an isolation that leads to a greater sense of hopelessness and ultimately a great separation or what C.S Lewis calls, “The Great Divorce.”
Lately, in the Christian thought community found through online media platforms like twitter and blogs, people have been getting excited about the possibility of heresy. A word used to describe people who do not toe a particular orthodox line of thought or belief in the more evangelical stream of Christianity. There is a lot of fear in the christian community. All though I am a “member” in tradition and heritage, I often find a lot of the stories, being followed believed and told. Unchristian from a kingdom perspective. This perspective is represented well through the teachings of Jesus in the Gospels as well as modern day theologians like N.T Wright and pastors like Greg Boyd. There is a kingdom reality to our life, a space of trans-formative justice where the kingdoms, powers of our world are turned upside down.
There is a place where a table can be physically made in the midst’s of suffering and great loss. where a community is invited more info
to eat, a prepared meal is shared by the host and the hosted. This is the kingdom message/story I hear in my imagination. The one that is called out of many people from different perspectives and world views.
This week after the horrific news of a murder of the girl in my town. I found myself protesting the narratives coming through news outlets and the broader community. People naturally wanting to keep their kids off the street and lock their doors, so that the violence will not happen again. Although, I can sympathise with the response and any emotion felt is a necessary part of a grieving community. However, I would like to suggest an idea that the merely locking of ones door and becoming more vigilant, like a recent facebook post said, “I believe taking the community back means we all become responsible gun carriers,” is the wrong action to take and will not accomplish a shared desire to make the community a safer place to live, play and ultimately belong. I would like to suggest this will actually have the opposite effect in our community.
This belief is not only grounded in a restorative narrative of Christ’s kingdom through the gospels, it is also grounded in leading restorative justice research and practice. My belief based on the stories I follow and share is that we prepare a table for the other, the one we do not know, the one who scares us. We sit down, we break bread and we listen. We listen to the great terror in our minds, hearts and body’s. We then invite the other to wash their hands. As they lean forward to wash we offer a towel. As they begin to dry off their hands we hold out some bread. When they break the bread, we offer them a cup to drink.