[an open letter to my faith community, whom I love dearly]
I’m not a fearful person by nature. I don’t worry too much; I don’t assume the worst; and I rarely look over my shoulder. And this week’s shooting in the Pittsburgh synagogue won’t change that—it won’t have me worried about something similar happening at our own church on a Sunday morning.
I would be lying if I told you, however, that this scenario hadn’t crossed my mind a few times during the rash of mass shootings over the last few years. I’m not losing any sleep, not afraid of such violence, and I’ll proudly and excitedly head to church each Sunday morning. But the Pittsburgh shooting happening at a place of worship has me mindful of how devastating it would be to lose 11 of you—my dearest friends and faith family. My heart breaks for the beautiful people of Tree of Life Synagogue. I can’t imagine their pain and sincerely pray that God would ease their sorrow and meet them at this time of suffering.
But, as I ponder the hypothetical idea of this sort of tragedy striking First Baptist Bozeman, I’m encouraged by an unshakable knowledge that you all would be unwaveringly faithful in the midst of such adversity. I know, without a doubt, that you’d show up for worship the next Sunday, that you’d show up for each other through love, support, and encouragement, and that you’d show up in the world as a pillar of faith, unshaken by the evil and violence of our world.
That gives me great hope for the future of the church. That gives me great pride in being your pastor. And that gives me great joy at calling you my friends and sojourners on the journey of faith. Thanks for being so incredibly faithful.