Dear Colleagues:

The early morning news out of Las Vegas again breaks our hearts.  The reality as of this moment, 57 dead, 527 injured.  Another mass shooting.  This is a fresh wound and it opens old wounds for so many who have been close to these tragedies.  Close to Iliff’s home, we know the story.  For us it is high schools and theaters.  So we pray the prayers that are all too familiar for the families of the dead and for the healing of the wounded.  We pray for all exposed to the raw terror of the moment and the trauma that will disrupt their nervous systems.    We pray for the healers and those who put themselves at risk to rescue people from further harm and threat of death.  May their nightmares ease with time.

Do you ever wonder how we could possibly not go numb to the hurt and misplaced anger in this world that comes to us with such a ferocious velocity?  It calls into question who we are going to be in this our time in the midst of it.  Once again I am reminded of the wisdom of Carol Ochs who writes,

Our aim should not be simply to create cheerful people, or optimists who refuse to consider the possibility of structural damage.  Our aim should be to create people who are awake, aware, and alive. (from, An Ascent to Joy:  Transforming Deadness of Spirit)

Every issue we have been confronted with in the recent months has a complexity of issues that can numb us.  There is no one simple lens through which to look at any of these events.  Recently, we have been having conversation about how we as a community address issues of structural injustice that impact the lives of people around us.  In these difficult times, how do we more fully draw from Iliff’s rich resources?  How do we connect our educational mission to a broader array of communities?

We are in the process of developing resources that will serve both our Iliff community as well as those who look to Iliff for support from the outside.  We have created a growing and developing list of resources for times like these.  We are starting with our faculty who have generously contributed their work on current topics: Resources for Times of Crisis around Structural Injustice.  You will notice that we are highlighting a timely piece by emeritus faculty Larry Graham from his work following the Columbine School shooting.

We will be inviting you our community to contribute to dialogue across many issues in the coming weeks.  In this way, we will be more fully living into our mission of creating persons with courageous theological imagination and supporting each other in remaining awake, aware, and alive.


Tom Wolfe