When a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at a Newtown elementary school earlier this month, our writers were quick to respond by offering reflections on the Spokane Faith & Values site.
Dean Bill Ellis wrote that the frequency of mass shootings is increasing in the U.S. The reason, he says, is because, “We’re a society that believes violence is the answer.”
“What needs to happen is not that we start praying in school more. What needs to happen is that we admit as a people that we love violence, and that the deaths of school children are the natural and inevitable consequence of that spiritual disorder, and that then, over time, we repent of that particular form of idolatry,” he wrote.
Readers quickly commented on his post, some praising him for his words, others challenging him.
Ellis will be one at least five of our writers at our first “Coffee Talk,” which will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at Chairs Coffee, 113 West Indiana Ave.
Coffee Talk is a new monthly series where you, the readers, can have a roundtable discussion with our writers. The event is free, though donations are always welcome.
Also at the Coffee Talk will be Pastor Eric Blauer, who reminded us that, “The beginning of God's reign on earth was in the midst of bloodshed and evil visited upon the most vulnerable and innocent among us: children.”
Even in times of tragedy, he said, God is here.
The Rev. Joe Niemic Jr. will be another guest at the event. He wrote the the Newtown tragedy should serve as a reminder for us to be thankful for our lives.
Finally, our Agnostic writer Kyle Franklin will also be at the Coffee Talk to discuss his post. He wrote that the best response to the shooting is love.
“I would say that we are currently in a time of chaos and unrest. We are in a time of sorrow and mourning. We are in a time of pain. And while Ecclesiastes refers to “a time to love, and a time to hate,” I do not believe that now is a time to hate,” he wrote.
Some of our other writers may join in on the discussion, too. Please join us for this informal spiritual discussion. We've read your comments, and now look forward to meeting you in person.
Tracy Simmons is an award-winning journalist specializing in religion reporting and digital entrepreneurship. In her approximate 20 years on the religion beat, Simmons has tucked a notepad in her pocket and found some of her favorite stories aboard cargo ships in New Jersey, on a police chase in Albuquerque, in dusty Texas church bell towers, on the streets of New York and in tent cities in Haiti. Simmons has worked as a multimedia journalist for newspapers across New Mexico, Texas, Connecticut and Washington. She is the executive director of SpokaneFāVS.com, a digital journalism start-up covering religion news and commentary in Spokane, Washington. She also writes for The Spokesman-Review and national publications. She is a Scholarly Assistant Professor of Journalism at Washington State University.