A flag at half-staff is the national symbol of mourning.

A flag at half-staff is the national symbol of mourning. Photo via Shutterstock

Another shooting massacre, another round of questions, another effort to cope with the unbearable. The Washington Post put it poignantly, powerfully, as it reflected on at the carnage, this time in its own city:

Life does go on, through Columbine in 1999, through Virginia Tech in 2007, through Sandy Hook in 2012. Each atrocity provides a jolt to the nation and then recedes with little effect, until the next unimaginable event occurs, except each time a little more imaginable. Everything was supposed to change after a man with a semiautomatic weapon mowed down 20 elementary school children in their classrooms last December. But for the politicians, nothing changed. Now, another massacre, another roster of funerals. Again, again, again.

What to do? Kenneth Blanchard, an African American minister and self-described “pastor to the gun people,” tells the Post he’s ready for “the blowback” and has an answer. Hint: It’s not gun control:

“What we have is a morality problem,” he said. “I tell my fellow ministers that instead of preaching in favor of more gun control laws they should preach more about obeying the laws we have, like ‘Thou shalt not kill.’”

The veteran identified as the shooter in the Navy Yard killings, Aaron Alexis, lived in the backyard of a Buddhist temple in Forth Worth and meditated regularly there, but that wasn’t enough to overcome mental health problems and whatever demons impelled him.

The National Cathedral held a prayer service, and Time’s Elisabeth Dias has this:

Rick and Kay Warren sat down with Piers Morgan for their first interview – to be broadcast tonight – since their son’s suicide. CNN’s Eric Marrapodi was there and has a preview:

“I never questioned my faith in God; I questioned God’s plan,” Rick Warren said. “God isn’t to blame for my son’s death. My son took his life. It was his choice.”

A Spanish nun has become one of Europe’s most influential left-wing public intellectuals, drawing thousands to her anti-capitalist movement. (At least she’s not a member of the LCWR…) Read the BBC’s piece on Sister Teresa Forcades.

Still, Sister Teresa hasn’t received the Full Jon Stewart Treatment – but Pope Francis has, in an episode from last night’s show on the “super chill” pontiff.



By the way, we first reported on the “cold-call pope,” but apparently the stuff we know about is just the, um, tip of the iceberg:

“Good thing they don’t know about all the ones I have made!” the Pope reportedly told Msgr. Dario Viganò, director of the Vatican Television Center. Msgr. Viganò said he asked the pontiff what was up. Francis said he always did this and was amazed that anyone cared:

“Tell the journalists that my calls are not news.”

With all due respect, we beg to differ, Your Holiness.

Meanwhile, Father James Martin takes the fizz out of what was either a really bad study of holy water or a really bad report on the study.

And the successor to Scottish Cardinal Keith O’Brien, who resigned in a sex scandal just before the March conclave that elected Francis (phew), says that O’Brien is abroad and can stay there, thank you very much.

The Dead Sea is … dying? Slate has the story.

Who is “the black Tim Tebow?” The answer is here, but all I can say is, nothing bodes well for my team. Not that having the real Tim Tebow would help…


Then again, a new book says that Baptists are embracing high church rituals and traditions. What’s next – dancing?

How about this: Remember that provocative Time magazine cover about “the childfree life” some couples choose? At Christianity Today’s “Her-meneutics” blog, Emily Timbol says that can be a choice for believing Christians, too:

Let me reiterate that: We are not kid-haters. Being around friends with a houseful of kids doesn’t cause us misery. It fills us with the same type of awe we get from watching ultra-marathon runners or astrophysicists. It’s a glimpse into a foreign world we enjoy visiting.

Cue the debate.

Speaking of debates, Southern Baptists are still looking for alternatives to the Boy Scouts since the BSA said gay kids can be members.

Muslims are looking to stage a pious alternative to the Miss World competition, and some Americans are apparently upset that an Arab woman has been crowned the new Miss America – even though she’s actually an Indian from upstate New York. Our own Omid Safi tries to deconstruct the nonsensical.

Keep it real, folks.

David Gibson

Categories: Culture

David Gibson

David Gibson

David Gibson is an award-winning religion journalist, author and filmmaker. He is a national reporter for RNS and has written two books on Catholic topics, the latest a biography of Pope Benedict XVI.


  1. Re: a tweet shown in your column. i’ve always attributed the quote “All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well” to Julian of Norwich. It’s thought-provoking no matter who said/wrote it first….

  2. As the hash tag #WhatWillItake implies WHEN will these Christian right wingers realize that just preaching morality is not enough? Not all follow your’s or mine brand of morality and some choose to settle their problems with a gun. Sensible gun laws mean things like background checks not taking anyone’s guns at least not those who are law abiding citizens. When will these trajedies finally affect them enough to at least support background checks? When that trajededy affects them personally? I certainly hope it doesn’t come to that but it will no doubt if we don’t do something to curb this violence sooner than later!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comments with many links may be automatically held for moderation.