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A place of relentless hope

Reflections on the news from Texas

 

Dear Gordon Community,

When I learned late this afternoon that fifteen people, fourteen of them children, had been shot to death in a Texas elementary school, my first instinct was to reach out to you.

I hoped to be able to say something that might ease the pain. I hoped to be able to point to a lesson that we might take from this tragedy, one that might help focus our work together. I hoped to find the words that might nudge us closer to a safer place in our hearts and minds.

But I could not do that. 

Since my arrival at Gordon, some of the tragedies we have faced together can be placed within an arc of history that is bending slowly towards justice. Some are the one step backwards that comes right after two leaps forward. Some are outrages that generate the hot anger that inspires decisive action and change.

The murder of school children in their classrooms is a story that does not offer anything like that. 

This is truly senseless. Irredeemable. Perhaps, someday, a pattern might emerge that helps to explain what was happening in America in the early twenty-first century that brought us to this place. But even if that happens, the lessons will come far too late.

So what can I tell you tonight?

I can invite you to turn off your television and put down your phone for the night. Nothing good can come from drowning in the details of this tragedy. At a certain point, stories like this can sap our strength when we need it the most.

I can encourage you to look at these resources as you look for ways to talk to your children about what they might hear about this shooting.

I can assure you that your children have adults at Gordon, ones they trust, who they can turn to to help process stories like these in age-appropriate ways. Or just be there to provide a space for your children to be children.

I can tell you that, in the ten years since the shooting at Sandy Hook, Gordon has worked to secure this campus. Doors automatically lock, security protocols have been practiced, and Lou and Sarah, the friendly faces your children have come to know over the past two years, are trained security specialists.

And I can remind you that, even in the face of senseless tragedy, Gordon is a place of relentless hope. This is a community that is trying, with all of our wisdom and all of our imagination, to break patterns that have wounded this nation's soul. Our mission is to unleash graduates who know how to create positive change and are committed to doing the work that is necessary to see that change unfold. 

And that work will not stop. The sad truth is that people will always need to fight for justice. My promise is that Gordon will always continue to support the helpers and the fighters: the families like yours who have entrusted us with your precious children, the magnificent faculty and staff who come to campus each day guided by their calling and purpose, and the young people in whose eyes we see the change we need to heal our broken world.

Take good care,
 

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