An interfaith group in Jacksonville, Florida is promoting unity as an antidote to violence following a weekend of deadly shootings in the city.
The organization, OneJax, made its pitch in a letter a day after Sunday’s mass shooting in which a 24-year-old killed two people before turning the gun on himself during an internet gaming tournament. Seven others were wounded. That incident, which made global headlines, followed a triple shooting Friday night. A 19-year-old man was killed as spectators left a high school football game.
“It’s been a tragic few days in Jacksonville,” OneJax said in the letter co-signed by Kyle Reese, the organization’s chairman. He is the pastor of Hendricks Avenue Baptist Church in Jacksonville and the moderator-elect of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.
“In the face of violence and loss, many are asking, ‘What can we do to help?’”
Conversations about guns and the utilization of law enforcement are certainly valid, the letter said. But OneJax suggested another avenue of action.
“What about the anger that seems to pervade our society and culture? How does unresolved anger lead someone to attempt to take the life of another human being? Is there a way to help individuals find a productive way to work through and resolve their anger in healthy and life-giving ways?”
OneJax said it will continue its mission of exploring how being “different together” can address those questions.
BWA aiding earthquake victims
The Baptist World Alliance said in an e-mail it will provide a $20,000 grant to help individuals and churches impacted by a series of earthquakes that hit the Indonesian island of Lombok earlier this month.
BWA said it is partnering with Asia Pacific Baptist Aid, Transform Aid International and other organizations already working on the island.
More than 460 people were killed by the seismic activity.
In an e-mail quoted by BWA, an official with the Union of Indonesian Baptist Churches said the quake registered as a 7 on the Richter scale.
BWA General Secretary Elijah Brown communicated with Baptists in Indonesia that the world organization’s 239 members in 125 nations were praying for them.
Those who wish to provide financial support to quake relief efforts are encouraged to do so online at bwanet.org.
Researchers study faith-based giving
A Baylor University study has found that religion is a major driver of charitable giving – but also one that can waver in the face of material desires.
University researchers Meredith David and James Roberts learned that the give-and-take between faith and materialism shapes the behavior of donors to charitable causes, according to an online summary of the research.
David is an expert on consumer behavior and well-being. Roberts’ expertise is in consumerism. According the Baylor report, neither was particularly surprised by the data they collected from 180 adults.
“Although materialism was found to reduce the breadth and likelihood of charitable giving in the present study, it could spur charitable giving if it is driven by self-serving motivations,” the pair wrote.
An occasional compilation of events from around the religious world. To suggest items for inclusion, email assistant editor Jeff Brumley at [email protected]