The Christian Century has been a primary source of information for Mainline Protestant clergy for well over a century. Like many magazines, it combines news reporting with feature articles, and resources, such as reflections on the scheduled lectionary readings.
The most recent issue included the results of a survey taken at the end of September asking parents how concerned they were that a shooting could occur at their child's school. Thirty-two percent of parents, close to one in three, were extremely or very concerned. Things become interesting when you start to break that data down. Only 24% of fathers were extremely or very concerned, only 22% of white Americans, and only 19% among those identified as upper income.
Now, I don't believe that fathers are particularly callous about children's safety. And as we approach the anniversary of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary, I am mindful that most well-known school shootings, at Columbine, Newtown, and Parkland, all took place in affluent white communities. So what gives?
In the end, I think it comes down to the stories in which we live, stories so powerful that they can resist silly things like facts. If you have been told all your life that you are the top of the heap, vulnerability feels like a virus that must be rejected. If you've been told all your life that you are a victim, you may not even see your own agency.
As Christian Nationalism threatens our democracy and perverts our faith, we will spend the next month in another story, the story of a pregnant unwed teen, of a family without proper shelter (Luke) or fleeing across a border to avoid violence (Matthew), of working class shepherds and Persian astrologers looking for something new in the eyes of an infant, of promises fulfilled and promise still unfolding.
Blessed Christmas, Gary