I’ve been watching an Avenger series, (which I won’t recommend or mention.)  I view myself much more of a Castle fan. Remember writer Rick Castle teams with NYPD Detective Kate Beckett to solve the cases. The only commonality with the main character of the Avenger series is their last names. The series is undeniably extremely violent and yet I tune in. This startled me, particularly when the obvious question (or was it a statement) is made: Why do you watch this show?  I did a quick inventory of my watch list. Then I expanded to my reading list and discovered I need to watch more baseball or curling or Golden Girl reruns.  There is a theme of violence which runs throughout.  I’m most worried (in an empowering way) of being swept away (rather than merely lured away) by the value our culture places on the acceptability of violence. Violence cannot be acceptable. I was disheartened to read forty-five people were shot, five fatally, in shootings across Chicago this past weekend. Another two people were killed in stabbings. Yea, we might be tempted to dismiss it because it’s Chicago but what about a shooting in Sarasota. Just after 6 p.m. Monday on Goodrich Avenue near Ringling College a shooting occurred. Ready for this, the suspect and victim are neighbors and police say the two men got into an altercation over kids playing in the neighborhood. I need to renew a resolution not to defile myself with the edicts of a world that elevates violence. I can turn off the TV, lessening the contamination and conditioning, reducing my complicity. Even though I (we) live in a culture of violence, solutions are political as much as they are spiritual, theological and practical. Violence disrupts God’s intention and blessing for all humankind.  As a person of faith I have better things in mind for myself and for you.  I believe we can do more than we think.

Scripture Reading: 1 Peter 3:9
“Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.”

Reflection Questions:
Why is violence so acceptable in our culture?
What better things in mind do you have for others?
How are you giving a blessing to others?

Prayer: Holy God, when I am tempted to withdraw my attentiveness to the complicated issues of this time and place, remind me who I am and what you desire for your creation. Amen.