Several months ago, I was working on a project, and the publisher objected to a single phrase in a fully written manuscript. The exact phrase doesn’t matter as much as the sentiment. He objected to us mentioning terrorist attacks, mass shootings, and gun violence. He said a single mention of trying to find faith and harmony in a world that includes these things would automatically date the book, that this was a uniquely current situation.

I could have made an argument for the decades of ever-expanding terrorism around the world or the increase in mass shootings while at the same time deaths by firearms decrease. I could have made an argument, but what struck me most was his blind belief that things would get better, that anything would change. He firmly believes that we won’t be facing this same kind of world in five, ten, or twenty years, that somehow our world would be a better place. And that is what the project was about: trying to use our own grace to impact the future of the planet.

Perhaps, I am not as strong of a believer, but I don’t think that the world can collectively fight terrorism and gun violence by simply being better people. I can sit in my house, unafraid of the world around me, and accept myself and others for who they are, but how much of that is living in a dream world versus living within the dream of the world?

There truly needs to be a global shift, or at least, a collective shift in America, to counter the fear and hate that has consumed so many. Our leaders, on both sides of the political spectrum, do little but pit “us” against “them”. Most of these leaders have also poured their religion and politics into a blender, creating what they see as the perfect smoothie of justice. More us versus them, ignoring not just America’s proverbial melting pot, but the world’s population as a whole. We are not all alike, and our leaders cannot accept that.

In the end, the phrase was left out, which might pay homage to the blind belief the project hoped to instill, but for me, it only seems that it was written in a vacuum, completely blind to the world.

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