I know this post is going to put me into some very hot water. I’ve been muddling it over in my mind all weekend and now it’s 3:14p on Monday and since it won’t go away….

Maybe you listened to NPR this weekend. Or watched FoxNews. Or hey, even read the CNN ticker line. If you did, you couldn’t escape the number 5.  And if you are super savvy in the social media world, you were captivated by the CIA ‘live tweeting’ the events of 5 years ago.

Why? Well, it’s been 5 years since Osama bin Laden was found and killed (if you missed it go here.) The world’s most hunted and wanted man… gone with the shot of a sniper rifle by the elite special forces.

I think what has bothered me the last few days is the celebration of it all. I know he masterminded acts of evil. I know. I know that countless lives have been taken and altered because of what this man stood for and ordered. I know that, too.

But I’m just itchy about “celebrating” his death, and it seems a bit odd to this Christian pastor chica. I’m sad.

I’m sad we’ve spent gazillions of dollars in war. I’m grieving the numbers of persons who have been maimed physically and mentally because of terror and war. I’m perplexed at how our news cycle wants to sanitize horror into a celebration. It’s all a bit much for me.

Instead I am waiting with the expectant hope for a story about how these last 5 years have meant more women in the world are reading. Or maybe a story of how disparate faith groups come together to pray for peace. Or, hey, I’d even take a short spot or some white space with the simple phrase: LOVE ONE ANOTHER. The stories are out there, true, but you have to know where to look. These stories certainly don’t take the headlines these days.

5 won’t leave me be. 5 is the most important number to our news cycles, and the most frightening to me. Countless studies have been conducted of late at the effects on our mental health by the continual cycles of violence we are exposed to. More and more work is being highlighted on how violence will only increase violence. As a pastor, I’m concerned. No, that’s not true: I’m horrified.

As we continue to see some downward trends of faith-based community gatherings where I believe we reenact joy and hope in the midst of our everyday lives, where will people go? What will they do? Where will they find alternate sources of love and life? One author I rely on Todd Henry encourages us to take in the best of what feeds our creativity, and I would go further to say that we need to surround ourselves with life-giving messages of information to create a new pattern in our world.

I don’t want to be an alarmist… okay, maybe I do. Maybe it’s time that we begin to flood our personal blogs, our Facebook pages, our Twitter feeds, our Instagram handles with joy, hope, mercy and love. I know I am going to try to take the challenge to do so.

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