the prayer of compassion for Knoxville

I feel obligated to write something about the tragedy in Knoxville but I’m not sure I can add anything to what’s already been said in the UU blogosphere as well as other bloggers around the net.

I feel obligated to say something because I am a leader in my congregation and I suspect to my handful of readers I am probably one of very few, if any, UUs they know.

Often in the wake of events like this we are compelled to ask “why”. Why do things like this happen? I cannot answer that. I’m not sure that anyone can answer that with any certainty.

For me, it challenges my belief in the goodness of people. Although I hate what Jim David Adkisson did, I have to believe there is some goodness The Divine can see (although I may not see it). I have to… or my faith crumbles and I am like “sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.” It tests my faith in the idea that everyone… everyone is inherently good and as such worthy of respect and to be treated with dignity.

I’m not sure how to tell you dear readers, there is still room for that belief. I am certain there is though. I have to be certain. If I am not certain then my faith is gone and i simply can’t have that happen. It has carried me through a few dark nights.

I’m certain of this too… we should be careful not to demonize Jim Adkisson. I am certain we should find a way to forgive. And I trust Providence will prevail in making things right.

And this is where faith is called in. It is with faith… believing in something you can’t prove… that we should try to find solace.

It is from the events that happened at Tennessee Valley UU Church that we should seek to understand we have much work to do. We as a people of faith have so much work to do to help people understand there is nothing wrong with differing opinions. There is nothing wrong with expressing our opinions that everyone is inherently good and is worthy of respect and dignity. There is so much work to do to be an example and to help people like Jim Adkisson understand…

… you know, just…

… just understand.

I think that one of our most important tasks is to convince others that there’s nothing to fear in difference; that difference, in fact, is one of the healthiest and most invigorating of human characteristics without which life would become meaningless. Here lies the power of the liberal way: not in making the whole world Unitarian [Universalist], but in helping ourselves and others to see some of the possibilities inherent in viewpoints other than one’s own; in encouraging the free interchange of ideas; in welcoming fresh approaches to the problems of life; in urging the fullest, most vigorous use of critical self-examination. ~ Adlai Stevenson

May all living beings have happiness and the causes of happiness;
May all living beings be free from misery and the causes of misery;
May all living beings never be separated from happiness, devoid of misery;
May all living beings abide in equanimity free from prejudicial attachments and aversions.

The Buddha

(a thanks to raisingrrl for introducing me to the Stevenson quote)

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2 responses to “the prayer of compassion for Knoxville

  1. you show more compassion, and willingness to try and forgive and understand than many people believe they can afford to.

    I’m glad there’s a you.

  2. I thought of you when I heard of that terrible act. You’re right, this sort of thing truly challenges our most dearly held beliefs, particularly when we ourselves feel threatened or harmed.

    Harboring hatred and anger towards those who harm us only harms ourselves. So, we try to muster up our compassion – maybe at first towards those who have been harmed, then the greater community, and once our heart has been softened up, we can extend that towards the person who harmed up. It’s a practice, to be sure.

    Take care, my friend. You are a wonderful example of your UU faith and community.

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