JACKSON, Miss. (RNS) -- In a few weeks (July 1), Les Ferguson Jr. will move on to a new position in Oxford, home to "Ole Miss," the University of Mississippi.
The move and the university community, he said, offer the potential for more personal and spiritual growth. It's also another move toward wholeness for a man whose life was fractured by tragedy nearly seven years ago.
WASHINGTON (RNS) -- When Lydia Catterall, a junior at Norcross High School in Norcross, Ga., was asked why she was participating in the March for Our Lives demonstration to protest gun violence in the nation's capital, she was quick to cite the tragic school shooting that left 17 people dead in Parkland, Fla., in February.
But she was just as quick to reference her faith community: Central Presbyterian Church in downtown Atlanta.
That message came Wednesday (Feb. 14) not from a religious leader, but from CNN counterterrorism analyst Phil Mudd as he broke down while discussing the school shooting that had happened earlier in the day.
(RNS) — As the shots rang out through Marshall County High School, shock waves simultaneously reverberated throughout all of Marshall County as one fact was becoming increasingly clear: Our county would never be the same.
JIBLA, Yemen (BP) -- It's been 15 years since I walked the dry, stony grounds of Jibla Baptist Hospital in Yemen, where a lone gunman murdered three International Mission Board medical missionaries on a December morning in 2002.
Recent deaths of black men at the hands of authorities — Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, La., and Philando Castile in a St. Paul, Minn., suburb — and the murders of Officers Patrick Zamarripa, Brent Thompson, Lorne Ahrens, Michael Smith and Michael Krol by a lone sniper in downtown Dallas have drawn a myriad of reactions.
Some protestors and others anxious to do something have focused primary support on those grieving the deaths of the African Americans at the hands of police, including many who embrace the “Black Lives Matter” movement.
In communities all across the land, churches and other groups are focusing their efforts primarily on expressing care and support for law enforcement in their own communities. In some, restaurants have provided meals to police stations, churches have offered special prayer services for officers grieving the deaths of five of their own and mounting personal encouragement card campaigns to personalize response to local police and other responders.
More deaths of young black men at the hands of officers and the massive sniper assault on Dallas officers have prompted others to grieve every death. More and more people have taken up the mantra that “all lives matter.” Surely more and more agree that this cycle of escalating discord and related violence must be reined in.
In these three separate incidents there must be a concern that justice is served. Increasingly, constructive efforts to address the racial divide in America simply must be addressed. It is encouraging to see video clips showing protestors and police officers crossing the street toward each other and embracing. But the resultant steps must be more than isolated anecdotal actions, as heartwarming as they may be.
Churches have an opportunity to take concrete, personal steps to bridge this disgraceful gap in many ways. The nation is right to grieve over every death, not to make charged determinations about who deserves sympathy and who does not. That would be business as usual.
And business as usual in this national crisis solves nothing.