My first reaction to news of today's Texas church Shooting was anger. When are we going to say no? Anger solves nothing. But saying no does. If our society, our country, said no to violence, it would not create the conditions that enable it. What enables violence? Well, we would need to say no to several things. Starting with hatred, going through our political gridlock, and addressing the simple fact of gun violence.

All I have to do is write the previous sentence to see how stuck we are as a people. We have an automatic reaction to these shootings after we have gone through the rituals of empathy and mourning.

We accept them as an insoluble problem.

Apple pie normality

The word senseless was used in response to this tweet but is that accurate? I think the shooting makes sense but it is a dismal sense of violence being as normal as apple pie. If anyone was asked to describe America now, the shootings would be among the characteristics. Violence would be seen as a characteristic of life here. This leads me to say that we are dealing with a problem rooted in our very way of perceiving reality.

Beyond binary thinking

Binary thinking is thinking that makes conflict inevitable.

It is thinking that closes alternative ways. My point is not that there is a clear and easy path forward. There isn't. And even getting to a table where we can work things out in civil conversation is now almost impossible. If we cannot even make the first step we will have to say that Sutherland is the new normal. Every crazy under the sun will figure that this is a ticket to some warped vision of fame, notoriety, or resolution.


Jesus exorcised demons and he did so because he knew there was a third force, a third aspect of reality that was not one side versus another side. It was something above, something that was capable of healing, of delivering someone from evil. We should not just pray that no evil comes to us. We should pray to be delivered from the evil of a thought process that makes talk impossible.


We are stuck inside of the binary box and we cannot find our way home -- to mingle some popular lyrics from Dylan and Winwood. This is so obvious that it is almost insulting to have to say it. The way to get unstuck is for the right voices to show that they have been angered by this Sutherland shooting, but instead of having a temper tantrum based on impotence, they begin to act and express in ways that signal that we cannot continue to live this way.

When that hits home a conversation will result. It will not make any difference who is harboring crazy thoughts. Even that person will sense, as will we all, that the climate has changed.