Thursday, September 19, 2019

Dean Powery on the Urgency to End Gun Violence

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A message from Chapel Dean Luke A. Powery on Thursday, September 19, 2019:

Over the last couple of months across the nation in Gilroy, California; El Paso, Texas; Dayton, Ohio; and even right here in Durham, North Carolina, gun violence has wreaked havoc on individuals, communities, families, cities, and towns.

Gun violence is the denial of otherness. It objectifies, dehumanizes, and destroys other human beings. I believe we are all children of God, created from the dust of the earth. I believe that as surely as gun violence reveals a hatred of humanity, it also reveals a hatred of God. I say this out of the Christian tradition that claims God came to us as a human in the person of Jesus within a broken world, embodying divine love for all humanity. Acts of gun violence deny the all-inclusive love of God for all people. In fact, acts of gun violence are anti-human, and to be anti-human is to be anti-God.  

At ReCity Durham, this Saturday, September 21, at 8:00 a.m., there will be a gathering of faith leaders discerning how to respond together to the profound pain and suffering caused by gun violence in our city. I ask your prayers for wisdom during that gathering.  

Following up on that event, Duke Chapel invites people of all faiths and no faith to attend a Bridge Panel public discussion, “Every Life Sacred: The Urgency to End Gun Violence,” on October 15, at 7:00 p.m. “Every Life Sacred” will address ways we can respond in peace and constructively work together for an end to gun violence.  

This moral struggle against gun violence is not a solo project. It will take all of us, as individuals and communities, to bring gun violence to an end. My prayer for us is inspired by the biblical prophet who spoke of the day when swords would be made into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks (Isaiah 2:4). I yearn for that day when we’ll study war and violence no more—on the streets of Dayton or Durham or anywhere else. Let’s pray with our words, but most certainly, “pray with our feet.”