“What happens in Vegas…”

One of the growing concerns I have as a pastor, attempting to lead and love in this current era, is what seems to be a nation’s fading capacity to be shocked.

Events and realities that would have left us aghast even one generation ago have tragically become normalized as a part of the daily news cycle.

We have come to expect the drama, the vitriol, the violence,
until gradually, gone unchecked, unexamined, unchallenged, the soul is numbed,
desensitized to how far away from center we have slipped.

Then, occasionally, something happens to stretch the bandwidth of our tolerance.


From 32 floors up, a sea of 22,000 concertgoers is sprayed with relentless gunfire.
Chilling video captures 10-15 minutes of gunfire at a rate of 9 rounds per second.
When the smoke clears, 59 people will have been killed with 527 more injured.

Though taken admittedly (and brutally) out of context, my loss for words compels me to borrow a verse from Jeremiah:

“Be appalled, O heavens, at this,
be shocked, be utterly desolate, says the Lord…”
~Jeremiah 2:12

Is there shock left in our system? Enough soul to be appalled?
I believe there is.

But the question is, what will it matter?
(This fact that we may be appalled.)

Will it result in anything other than the predictable way of things?

  • First, the tragedy-de-jour.
  • Second, the well-meaning memes and hashtags: #VegasStrong, #RememberOrlando #PrayForChattanooga, etc, etc.
  • Third, the public statements from leaders, politicians, and even pastors about how all of our “thoughts and prayers” are with…
  • Fourth, (and perhaps most fundamentally flawed), the deluge of images, media commentary, and pundit interpretation, wedging the world once again to its predictable corners, from which we rehearse the same weary (and circular) arguments about who’s to blame and what can or can’t or will or won’t ever be done about it.

Is there enough shock left among us to be appalled?

Is there enough wisdom and resolve left within us to do anything about it?
I believe there is.

Why? Because there are still peace-makers among us.
And it is they who will be called “children of God.”

But this kind of peace-making will require a change in the rhetoric,
a shift in the conversation.

We all know the script when it comes to the present dialogue on gun violence in America. We know it well. And thus far, all of the entrenched convictions, fueled by emotional fervor have left a nation stalled out, in a state of inaction.

When will we become appalled enough to mobilize our “thoughts and prayers” into just and righteous action?

What new thought, what unspoken word, what unpredictable and non-defensive perspective will be required of us? Of you? Of me?

The prayer of this pastor is that a real and actionable way forward will emerge from among the peace-makers; a way that may actually have a chance at shaping a less appalling world.

Because until that happens; what happened in Vegas is not likely to stay in Vegas.

Have I told you lately how much I love being your pastor?
Well, I do.

Shaun King
Senior Pastor
Johns Creek Baptist Church

5 Comments. Leave new

  • Amen‼️‼️‼️

  • Maureen Kayser
    October 5, 2017 12:08 pm

    Words can not express how I feel about the killing in Los Vegas. We always hear,, God is in charge, but I truly wonder about the free will he gives us. I pray every day about the killing that is going on in this world. It seems evil is winning the war. I ask God to help us every day.

  • Don M Walters
    October 5, 2017 1:29 pm

    Stalemate in the Country on topics like this are usually because everyone is so “convinced and convicted” that their side is 100% correct and that the other side is 100% wrong. There is no tolerance, no maturity, no ability to say let’s talk and find a common ground for the good of the people. We have walked down the road of intolerance to a point where compromise is viewed as a weakness. Doesn’t matter if the compromise is for the betterment of society, it is a loss of ground and we can’t have that! Even in the world of Christianity the followers of Christ have struggles to say “its OK to agree to disagree and still work together”. Wish I had a good solution for the problems of our country. We have walked down that road of separation and segregation of views to a point where I am not sure we can turn it around? And if we could… are there leaders willing to endure the struggles to get us back to that point of being able to compromise with each other for the good of the whole, and not just their side. It is a movement that calls for intersession from God on more than just a few people walking the hard road that God would set before them to help bring this country back to a “civilized” society..

  • Marsha Janofsky
    October 6, 2017 5:04 am

    Loved your thoughts. Very powerful. You hit to nail on the head with your statement below… Perhaps we need conversations on how to do this!

    When will we become appalled enough to mobilize our “thoughts and prayers” into just and righteous action?



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