Faithlink Discussion: The Tragedy in Tucson

by Jacob Juncker

In the wake of last month’s tragedy in Tucson, much has been said.  Jon Stewart (The Daily Show with John Stewart), Steven Colbert (The Colbert Report), Sarah Palin, President Obama, news agencies and church leaders have all tried to make sense out of this situation.  While there have been some common themes tying all these analyses together, for the most part, each has offered a different explanation (as if there is one).  Melissa Lauber’s analysis of the rhetoric is spot on.

The tragedy in Tucson is in many ways like a national Rorschach test. But that does not diminish the importance of the questions the events of that day have raised, which include the issues of mental illness, gun control, and the climate of incivility and vitriol in the political landscape.

from Faithlink: Connecting Life and Faith, vol. 16, no. 41 (Nashville: Cokesbury, 2011), February 6, 2011.

How we understand these terrible events depends largely upon our perspective.  Nevertheless, we shouldn’t turn a blind eye to the questions that each of these viewpoints raises…


At this point, the reader should know that I have spent hours writing this post while stuck at home due to the massive ice/snow-storm that swept through the midwest.  It was quite long and unimpressive.  I’ll save you the burden of reading my thoughts.  I also feel that I should apologize publicly, here, to my wife who was patient on our “snow day,” while I wrote.  I eventually came to the following conclusion.


As I look back over what I’ve written thus far (see the first comment below, if you are interested), I am struck at how little God-talk there is in this post. I’ve not spent much time in this post reflecting upon faith’s response to these issues.  And yet, maybe that’s the problem with all our opinions, even mine, we haven’t considered fully how Christ might be calling us to respond in the face of such tragedy.  We haven’t even considered Christ’s perspective.  Perhaps, we’re afraid of what Christ might ask.  Would Jesus make us welcome and care for all persons regardless of their mental capacity/condition?  Probably so (see John 3:16).  Would Jesus call us to lay down our arms to stop hurting one another?  Probably so (see Matthew 26:52).  Would Christ welcome our demeaning words?  Probably not (see John 13:35).

I often wonder how the world might be different if we, even I, took Jesus’ words seriously.  What if we took the challenge and worked hard to really love God and neighbor with everything that we have and are.  How would the world be different?  How would our faithful witness help form a faithful response to atrocities like the shooting in Tucson?  What would a faithful response even look like?  I wonder…and pray.

My comments are guided by the resource: “Faithlink: Connecting Faith and Life.”  Faithlink is a weekly adult discipleship resource published and Copyrighted by Cokesbury.  If you are a member or constituent of Christ United Methodist Church (Lafayette, IN) and would like to receive this weekly discipleship tool, simply email to express your interest and you will be put on the weekly email list.