Newtown hit me hard. It struck a nerve. It hurt. I prayed. I lamented.
I was angry. I was sad. I was frustrated. I was shocked.
And, then I lost hope. I lost hope because nothing changed. I lost hope because 20 kids were massacred and nothing change.
Orlando hit me hard, too. It struck a nerve. It hurt. I prayed. I lamented.
I was so angry. I was so angry. Angry at death; angry at the shooter; angry at guns; angry at such hate; angry that nothing is changing; angry that things like this keep happening.
Then, I realized how quickly my emotions turned to deep sadness. Sadness that this is commonplace in our country; sadness that many of us aren’t even shocked when things like this happen; sadness that so many lives were lost; sadness that our LGBTQ sisters and brothers were targeted and now so many of them feel afraid; sadness that nothing seems to be changing.
In the last few weeks, I’ve reached out to dozens of my LGBTQ friends. Some I called, some I texted, some we just sat on the phone and cried together, some I’ve been emailing back and forth our reactions.
I want them to know that I am praying for them, grieving with them, lamenting as they are lamenting, and doing my best to stand with them. And, as a Christian pastor, I want them to know that I will do whatever I can to stand with them, care for them, pray for and with them, and make spaces where they feel safe. I also will do whatever I can to end violence. I will do whatever I can to let their voices be heard.
So, I asked many of them to be on my podcast. I wanted to create a type of audio journal in honor of the lives lost in Orlando. I wanted to record this moment in history. Instead of listening to sound bites about the shooting, I want us to hear the voices of the LGBTQ community about this shooting.
So, I asked each of them the following three questions: What was your initial reaction when you heard about the shooting? What are you feeling now? What can we do to be with you during this time of grief?
In episode seven, you’ll hear from about 16 of my LGBTQ friends. You’ll hear their reactions, you’ll hear their pain, you’ll hear their hope, you’ll hear their frustrations, you’ll hear their laments, you’ll hear their anger, you’ll hear their own words.
So, listen well, friends. For this is family.
Special thanks to: Rachel, Amanda, Darren, Geoffrey, Dion, Ben, Jonathan, Nate, Trish, Jami, Michael, Steven, Tyler, Lauren, Chris, and Kevin. I appreciate your words, honesty, and friendship.