Saturday, January 15, 2011

Tuscon, Beliefs, Children & the Tongue

Like everyone, I've been thinking about, reading all around and pondering the violent rampage outside of a Safeway in Tucson this past week.  Action by a mentally ill individual.  Violent expression of fear.  Consequence of political vitriol.  Preventable.  Illogical.  Consequential.  In my thoughts I come back to what I do, who I speak, act, live out my perspective, articulate my worldview, treat my neighbor.

I heard a story of a teacher interacting with a student this week during a spelling exercise using the simple proper name O-B-A-M-A.  A 6/7 year old student, issued from a Christian faith believing family, responded "I want to kill Obama!"  What is that child hearing at home?  Such statement can't merely be planted by FOX or MSNBC.  They have to be heard, reheard, and claimed through family experience.

In the book of James in the New Testament it says: "But no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison." chapter 3, verse 8.  I wonder if we've given up on that truth and given up on trying to tame the power of our tongues, the creative force of our the words we utter, the way in which we articulate our hopes, fears, worldviews and priorities.  When we speak we don't merely express our thoughts, we shape and interact with those of the people around us.

The best thing I heard, read or watched this week reflecting upon the violence of last Saturday was by Jon Stewart on the Daily Show.  I'm not sure what it means that in a culture inundated with words and images analyzing everything in a constant 24 hour cycle, that one of the most thoughtful utterances comes from a mockumentary news show on a comedy channel.

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