Many of us opened our news feeds on Sunday and felt punched in the stomach by the particularly horrific example of mass violence that occurred in Orlando very early on Sunday morning. People wanted to demonstrate solidarity with the victims. Blood banks suddenly found themselves with long lines of donors. People have been attending vigils and donating to GoFundMe pages for the victims’ families. We wanted, and want, to do something.
If you are looking for a way to respond, take one of our classes on ways that Christians can resist violence and help people learn about cultures that make them afraid or angry. These classes offer suggestions for practical, effective responses to hatred and violence as well as discussing their place in our culture.
The most obvious class with which to start is A Christian Response to Gun Violence with Eugene Sutton and Ian Douglas. This class includes informative and moving discussion of the place that guns hold in our culture and suggests responsible ways to resist the violence that they do. The class also includes a list of resources for resisting gun violence that we offer here.. We hope that you find it helpful.
Because Omar Mateen,the murderer in Orlando, targeted homosexuals, you may wish to learn ways to help fellow Christians accept gay people in our culture instead of responding with hatred and/or fear. Increase understanding of same-gender unions in our church by taking Talking About Same Gender Unions with Jeffrey Lee.
Omar Mateen pledged allegiance to the Islamic State shortly before beginning his attack. For this reason, some political leaders have used the attack as an opportunity to energize their constituents against Muslims living in our communities. To learn more about the faith of Islam (which bears little resemblance to the warped versions of Islam promoted by the Islamic State) and again, to shine light instead of darkness on this controversial issue, try taking Introduction to Islam with Mustapha Elturk.
Finally — most importantly — look to the cross. A Christian response to violence like we have seen in Orlando hinges on how we understand the cross. For this reason, consider taking David Lose’s excellent courses, Making Sense of the Cross Parts 1, 2, and
Let us look to the cross and the God who redeems us all to help us as we absorb this atrocity and decide how to translate our beliefs and prayers into effective action. May God be with the people who died in Orlando on Sunday, with their families, with Omar Mateen, and with us all.