In ministry here in Harrisburg, in the past five years our congregation has lost eight sons—all murdered in cold blood. Gun violence is a national nightmare, experienced locally and felt personally by so many of us. It should be a Civil Rights issue of our day.
There isn't a tidy way to write about forgiveness. It's the whole gospel, for sure. But you've got to deal with the sin that preceded it and the damage that won't go away no matter how much reconciliation follows it. You've got to deal with the stop-start nature of relationships, the silence and paralysis of pain and shame, and the fact that we fail at least as much as we succeed.
On a visit to Israel last year a colleague suggested that I visit Kibbutz Metzer, a community founded by Argentinean Jewish émigrés in the 1950s. So along with my Quaker traveling companion and one other American, I hired a taxi and drove north from Jerusalem for nearly two hours to the interior of the country.
In the fourth meeting between Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and religious leaders seeking to keep lines of communication open between Iran and the U.S.—the second such meeting I’ve attended—speakers from Jewish, Muslim, Lutheran and Mennonite communities made brief presentations that were followed by a long response from Ahmadinejad in which he affirmed that “all divine prophets have spoke