EPPN reflections to focus on the culture of violence

EPPN reflections to focus on the culture of violence

February 14, 2013
By: 
Wendy Johnson

For so many of us, Lent is a period of time we set aside to reflect on our understanding of the meaning of our lives and our role in joining God’s purposes for each of us.

Each year, Episcopal Public Policy Network (EPPN) establishes a theme and sponsors a series of reflections and discussions on a timely topic.

EPPN’s theme for Lent 2013 is “Transforming our Culture of Violence.”

It is inspired by the emerging conversation in the United States, in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting and the escalation of violent crime in some of our urban centers, about how our culture condones, trivializes, and even glorifies violence.

child kneeling

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori contributed to this conversation earlier this week with testimony presented to the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights, which held a hearing on gun violence.

“It is abundantly clear to me, as I travel to communities across this country and engage in conversation with people from many walks of life,” the Presiding Bishop wrote, “that Americans have begun to find the resolve to grapple with the complexities of violence in our culture.”

Before going on to address several specific areas of policy, including cultural understandings of violence, mental healthcare, and gun laws, the Presiding Bishop urged Senators to be mindful of the many facets of the issues involved and to resist easy answers:

“Just as the root causes of cyclical violence in our culture, and the ways in which that violence is expressed, are varied and complicated, so too are the solutions. We must resist the temptation to use the present moment of national angst as a pretext for pre-formed political agendas or simplistic responses that are better suited for sound bites than for meaningful, long-term change. We all share a responsibility to examine the many facets of cycles of violence in our society, and to discern equally comprehensive responses that will address the causes, means, and effects of violence.”

Through a series of blog posts and reflections, EPPN will consider a variety of aspects of violence over the coming weeks, including:

  • violence against women,
  • violence toward immigrants,
  • the violent trafficking of human beings,
  • and the role of gun policy.

I encourage you to read this week’s reflection by Alexander Baumgarten, Director of Government Relations for the Episcopal Church.

You can subscribe to their email reflections by joining the EPPN network.

I wish you a holy and meaningful Lent.