1 John 4:18
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love.
A Word of Hope
The Bigot and the Boy Scout
A couple of weeks ago, I stumbled upon a Time Magazine article that I had saved for one purpose. I have kept it on hand to remind myself, and those I care about, that following Jesus—Christian discipleship—is not easy. The words “scared” and “SACRED” are spelled with the same letters.
In the spring of 2014, a 73-year-old racist bigot and anti-Semite, whose name I will not glorify by mentioning, went on a shooting rampage at two Jewish organizations in the Kansas City area. He killed 3 people, all of whom were Christian.
The victims included a 14-year-old Boy Scout, Reat Griffin Underwood, and his grandfather, William Corporon M.D., an admired physician. Both were United Methodists who were guests at a Passover event. Also murdered by shotgun was Terri LaManno, an occupational therapist, who was visiting her mother at Village Shalom, a Jewish residential care center. Terri was Roman Catholic.
The violent bigot’s actions pointed to the very fact that eluded him: Human beings are difficult to distinguish, no matter their religion or political viewpoints. As Time Magazine writer, David von Drehle, powerfully observed in the article, called THE BLINDNESS OF BIGOTRY:
“Reat Griffin Underwood, that 14-year-old Boy Scout, understood everything that the shooter could not. Not long before the carnage, the teenager went to the DMV for a learner’s permit, and he marked YES on the Organ Donor Form. He knew that humanity translates across race, genders, faiths, orientation, and nationalities. A big heart like his could beat in nearly any chest. In life and in death, the boy proved the bigot wrong.” (Von Drehle, David. “The Blindness of Bigotry.” Time, 28 Apr. 2014, p18)
Holy One, following Jesus is not easy. Remind me, when I hesitate, to use my innate gifts that come with being both human and divine. May I choose love and compassion over fear and hate. Amen.
Rev. Dr. Gary G. Kindley