As an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and as a concerned citizen of La Crosse and of the United States of America, in light of the recent shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, I think it is important as civil and public communities learning and existing with one another that we remember that we belong to one another.

Our lives are improved when we remember that we need one another, and the core of our commitments as a community is that we are to work for collective flourishing. To that end, I believe that sensible gun reform is necessary, and that we work to end senseless violence.

I think that part of the lack of morality that results in shootings like the ones we have seen last weekend is that we have effectively alienated ourselves from one another.

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What we are seeing in our contemporary social landscape is the result of generations of ideologies, theologies and systems of power that assert control and dominance over certain individual lives and communities.

As a person of faith, and as a resident of La Crosse, I would invite us to remember that it is a good and necessary thing to know our belonging - that we do not exist in isolation, but that we are better and best when we recognize our sacred worth together.

Rev. Dean M. Safe, La Crosse

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Rev. Dean M. Safe preaches at  Henrytown Lutheran Church and Union Prairie Lutheran Church.