Another Mass Shooting and…

In 2023 America, to date, there have been over 200 mass shootings[1] and innumerable calls…cries for “thoughts and prayers” for the victims, their families and communities.

Following this past Saturday’s mass shooting at an Allen, Texas, outlet mall, Keith Self, United States Representative for Texas’ 3rd Congressional District, which encompasses Allen, responded to critics who declared that prayers without legislative action were not enough to stem the tide of rampant gun violence. He said: “Those are people that don’t believe in an almighty God who has, who is absolutely in control of our lives.”

I cannot be certain of Congressman Self’s intent. Although I will and do assume that he meant, through prayer, to offer solace and strength for the aggrieved. I join in that labor of love.

Nevertheless, concerning prayer, in general, and, specifically, in relation to our national lethal inertia concerning gun reform, I embrace the statement of one of my “theological parents”:[2]

“The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays” – Søren Aabye Kierkegaard[3]

Thus, I pray that my heart and the hearts of all who pray will be changed so to join hands to do something for sake of maintaining the rights of the living to live.

© 2023 PRA

Illustration: Søren Aabye Kierkegaard (1813-1855); unfinished sketch (c. 1840) by his cousin Niels Christian Kierkegaard (1806-1888)

[1] A mass shooting, according to the Stanford Mass Shootings in America (MSA) Data Project, is defined as three or more persons shot in one incident, excluding the perpetrator(s), at one location, at roughly the same time. Excluded are shootings associated with organized crime, gangs or drug wars.

[2] “Theological Parents”: Those whose writings and teachings influence my views, in both contemplation and action, concerning who God is, what God does, and, therefore, my relationship with myself, all others, and the whole created order.

[3] Søren Aabye Kierkegaard (1813-1855). Danish theologian, poet, and social critic; widely considered to be the first existentialist philosopher.

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