imagesWhat’s happened in Orlando has shaken us all. The worst mass shooting in US history. 49 dead, far more injured.  More violence. More death.

These tragedies seem to piling up in the States.  And from America, to here in the UK, and arguably all over the world, the shockwaves are being felt.

It was a human tragedy. We all feel it. Our hearts are all with the people of Orlando right now,. Our prayers, love and support are with the victims, their friends, families & the LGBT community as a whole.

There are barely words at a time like this. And I stand with all those in that place of grieving.

There’s a despair, a frustration, an anger, at this injustice. It wasn’t just wrong , this was evil. And it shouldn’t have happened.

That’s how I feel, and I’m sure it’s how many feel. It can’t go on like this.

And so, it’s time to speak.

So today, I’m posting this blog post, and I’ve released a podcast episode talking about the issue of guns, from a British / outsiders perspective. Because when this kind of tragedy happens, we need to take a stand, we need to resist, in a non-violent way, using all the gifts we have.

These are my contributions.

First, I want to speak to the LGBT community. I’m an ally, and a follower of Jesus, and above all, a fellow human being. I, and many others, stand with you today, in love, grace and peace.

You all belong to the family of Jesus, and you are welcomed and invited, and you are not alone.

What happened in Orlando was more than a tragedy, it was simply wrong in every sense of the word. It takes courage in the face of such fear to take a stand for who you are, I stand with you today. You are in my prayers and will always have my love and support.

Second, to those who want to attribute this to IS or terrorism. We know now that the perpetrator was an abusive husband, who was on the radar of the security services and anti-gay.

This was more than a terrorist attack. Indeed, it was more than an attack on the LGBT community – it was an attack on the values of inclusion and diversity, and the rights of us all to be who we are and live without fear. It was an attack on our basic humanity.

And this needs to be confronted.

The Revolution We Need

Third, this attack reminds us again, that where the myth of redemptive violence prevails, when gun ownership is legal or not highly regulated, that all which follows is death, violence and pain.

The perpetrator, who had been investigated by the FBI, was able to purchase a assault rifle freely, which allowed him to commit this evil act.

More weapons doesn’t equal more peace, it equals more conflict, and more death. And we can no longer ignore that.

How is it in 21st century you can buy an assault rifle in a civilised country?  My hope is Obama responds by pushing through much tougher gun regulations – which would be a start.

I’m talking about the issues of guns on my podcast today.

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Fourth, this again emphasises the need for a revolution in our culture. We live in an either/or, in/out, exclusive culture, built on fear.

And this and other tragedies like it are a consequence of that.

When we’re all against each other, fighting over who is right and who is wrong, preaching who is in and who is out, excluding groups from churches, organisations, and leadership for their gender, race or sexuality, using theology as justification for prejudice, we will continue to divide.

If we keep on dividing, there will continue to be violence and aggression, and continue to be prejudice.

We need a culture of grace. A culture of inclusion. A culture which tells us ‘you belong, and you are enough – as you are’.

The world needs a truly inclusive culture where we can disagree but still love and respect each other, still be friends and root for each other even when we disagree, where we can be in community together whatever our views, a world where we cooperate and work together for the common good, not divide and conquer.

And we need a world where people’s value, worth and security is in who they are, the truth that they are enough already, which can free people to create and innovate, and take risks in all different fields, and create new, better tomorrows for us all.

We need a culture where violence is no longer seen as the solution, but the problem.

Is it possible? Yes. But it has to begin with all of us playing our part. Choosing to live this way. Advocating for this way. Supporting politicians who advocate for this way, and for policies which go alongside it – like banning gun ownership – or maybe even running for office ourselves. Being part of, or creating communities, who choose to live this way.

Communities of love, grace, non-violence, inclusion, diversity and compassion.

The values of Jesus.

Let us choose to stubbornly advocate for a different world. Even now, let us believe nothing is beyond redemption. Let us believe that there is a hope which is bigger than even this.

And let us advocate for a revolution of cultural grace.

Divine grace is simply the only hope we have, especially in times like these.

div>And in that spirit, to close I want to offer a word of support, love and encouragement to the LGBT community, who have been impacted so directly by this tragedy.

You’re not forgotten, and you are not alone. You’re enough, you belong, you are loved, accepted & welcome.

Always.

Just as you are.

*****

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James Prescott

Hi, I’m James. I live near London. I’m a fan of good food, comic-book movies, & books. I love to write, and I coach other writers & creative people. Thank you for being part of my community. read more...