Look for the Helpers and Love the Children


There is so much to read on the recent tragic events. Here are a few of the pieces I’ve found most helpful:

from Katherine Willis Pershey:


“this is how God comes to us: covered in blood and vernix, born in a barn as an impoverished peasant. And later, covered in blood and tears, killed on a cross as an ordinary criminal.

This is how God comes to save us. It doesn’t make sense. It isn’t even finished; we continue to wait and ask: how long, O Lord, until you come again to judge the living and the dead? But at the heart and soul of the Christian faith is the conviction that God, in the entirely unique person of Jesus Christ, shall make all things new. Every tear shall be wiped away, every sin forgiven. Every loss restored.”

from Ellen Painter Dollar:

“But as a citizen, I am not completely powerless when it comes to making future mass shootings less likely. I can continue to use my platform as a writer to argue that if regulations were in place to make it much, much harder for angry and/or unstable people to obtain weapons of mass murder, if our laws weren’t designed to protect the rights of the “gun enthusiast” over the rights of citizens to be safe from gun violence in public places, we wouldn’t have to endure regular stories of people being mowed down by bullets in movie theaters and workplaces and elementary schools.”

from Garry Wills in the New York Review of Books:

“The gun is not a mere tool, a bit of technology, a political issue, a point of debate. It is an object of reverence. Devotion to it precludes interruption with the sacrifices it entails. Like most gods, it does what it will, and cannot be questioned. Its acolytes think it is capable only of good things. It guarantees life and safety and freedom. It even guarantees law. Law grows from it. Then how can law question it?

Its power to do good is matched by its incapacity to do anything wrong. It cannot kill. Thwarting the god is what kills. If it seems to kill, that is only because the god’s bottomless appetite for death has not been adequately fed. The answer to problems caused by guns is more guns, millions of guns, guns everywhere, carried openly, carried secretly, in bars, in churches, in offices, in government buildings. Only the lack of guns can be a curse, not their beneficent omnipresence.”

from Mother Jones: “A Guide to Mass Shootings in America”

“Since 1982, there have been at least 62 mass murders* carried out with firearms across the country, with the killings unfolding in 30 states from Massachusetts to Hawaii. We’ve mapped them below, including details on the shooters’ identities, the types of weapons they used, and the number of victims they injured and killed. Of the 142 guns possessed by the killers, more than three quarters were obtained legally. The arsenal included dozens of assault weapons and semiautomatic handguns.”

from Nick Kristof: “Do We Have the Courage to Stop This?”

“Look, I grew up on an Oregon farm where guns were a part of life; and my dad gave me a .22 rifle for my 12th birthday. I understand: shooting is fun! But so is driving, and we accept that we must wear seat belts, use headlights at night, and fill out forms to buy a car. Why can’t we be equally adult about regulating guns?”

from Jim Wallis at Sojourners: “What We Parents Must Do”

“Our first response to what happened in Newtown must be toward our own children. To be so thankful for the gift and grace they are to us. To be ever more conscious of them and what they need from us. To just enjoy them and be reminded to slowly and attentively take the time and the space to just be with them. To honor the grief of those mothers and fathers in Connecticut who have so painfully just lost their children, we must love and attend to ours in an even deeper way.” 


“One thing I do know: Washington will not fix these problems. It will have to come from outside of Washington. It will likely come from putting our children first, and not politics. Our children must be our first response to this, and they must inspire a response that lasts. And it likely will have to come from us — as their parents.”

and of course, from Mister Rogers:

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.”

a clip from the viral photo/quote, copied under fair use

a clip from the viral photo/quote, copied under fair use

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About Rachel Stone

I write about food, family, faith, justice, and joy at my blog, on Christianity Today's website, and elsewhere, including at Books & Culture, Sojourners, and Relevant. My book, Eat With Joy: Redeeming God's Gift of Food, is forthcoming from @IVPress in early 2013, and, with my family, will soon be living and working in Zomba, Malawi, as Presbyterian (USA) mission co-workers. Follow me @eatwithjoy on Twitter or "like" us on FB (see sidebar.) All views are my own and should not be taken as official positions from any of the above organizations.

2 Responses »

  1. Pingback: The Slaughter of the Innocents – Advent Reflections on the Massacre in CT « Godspace

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