Thursday, March 1, 2018

Thoughts About the Latest Mass Shooting

Last week, I shared with my church some initial thoughts after the mass shooting in Parkland, TX. Here is what I shared: 

First, we need to define some terms. Second, we can look at the most recent mass shooting.

First, the terms:
·      relating to the ideas or strategies of a particular party or group in politics.
·      interested in or active in politics.

·      relating to the study of theology.

I wanted to define these two terms because I do not mean to venture into politics. However, any discussion relating to the proliferation of mass shootings in the United States becomes political. If one tends toward the Democratic party, then one is more open to gun safety laws. If one tends toward the Republican party, then one leans toward less legislation on guns. Despite what the pundits say, neither position is objectively correct, nor is this a case of moral relativism.

 Second, what can we say about the most recent mass shooting? What does God say?

The man accused of shooting 17 people at Parkland High School in Florida purchased his firearms legally. Restricting access to firearms might have made it more difficult for him to kill so many people. Could he have accomplished the same result with stolen guns? Yes, but he would have had to steal them first. Could he have killed as many people in a different way? Possibly.

God created humanity to be in communion with God. Ephesians 4:4-5, “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.” When considering God and humanity, any human violence is against God. Whether it is a mass shooting or micro-aggression, when we act against another person, we act against God.

Ephesians 4:15 says, “Speaking truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.” To talk about God but politicize violence misses an opportunity to share the love of Christ. God is love and those who abide in love abide in God and God abides in that one. Violence does not reflect God’s love. Preventing violence with violence begets more violence.

God weeps for those who died at Parkland High School. God weeps for the killer. If we can take any lesson from any part of the Bible, we know that God does not go back to life-as-usual after catastrophe. God demands transformation. Speaking the truth is not an end in itself. Speaking the truth is the first step toward repentance, change, and transformation.

Let us disassociate gun violence with political parties. Let us connect gun violence with our theology. Where are we on this journey? Do we need to repent? Change? Be transformed? If we sign a petition or call our Representative in Congress, let us not call as a Democrat or Republican, but as Christians who seek God’s Kingdom.

Let us continue praying for God’s wisdom and guidance. Let us read the Bible for answers. Let us keep this conversation going.

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