The horror of Newtown, CT needs to stay with us. It was a day when even the President couldn’t get through his remarks because of the pain.
This horror needs to stay with us because we need to have this conversation no one is willing to have. We are ready to blame others. For those on the NRA side, there will be the screaming for the Second Amendment rights. For those on the gun control side, there will be the screaming for better laws. We will blame others.
Yet, what we have in this moment is another opportunity to look at all of us. This is the opportunity we have to say to ourselves, “It doesn’t have to be this way.”
Sure, we need to have “national conversations.” (Which probably won’t happen.) We’ll talk for the next 48 hours about gun control, mental health, violent movies, better doors on schools, classroom architecture, etc.
But there is a deeper conversation that could be taken up.
We are a nation of violence. Whether it’s guns, knives, baseball bats… we just solve things wrong. Sure, Second Amendment advocates can scream, “Take away the gun and they would just use a knife!”
But look deeper.
It’s not the weapon in the hand. It’s the pain in the heart.
Of all the “national conversations” that could be taken up (and won’t), there is yet another conversation that will be avoided nationally, but I would say we MUST take up as the Church of Jesus Christ: We don’t need to be this way.
The national conversation we will REALLY avoid is GOD. We won’t take that up because that would mean there is something wrong with us internally. We may have to mention “sin,” and we know that doesn’t exist!
But for the Church… we need this conversation.
As the Church we need to start looking within ourselves and realize WE don’t need to be this way. Yet, I hear as many Christians yelling about gun rights and gun control as the next person.
Here is the question: Do we really believe the message of the king and his kingdom or not?
This king came proclaiming a message that said we could learn to BLESS instead of curse. His kingdom could empower us to LOVE rather than hate. His kingdom could teach us to be content rather than strive for more, more, MORE!
But the fact of the matter is we are not living any differently than this world. It’s like we don’t believe our King!
We can call for more gun control… or not.
But Jesus said you can clean the outside of the cup and still be filthy on the inside.
We, as the Church, need to have this conversation. We, on the whole, are NOT living as people of peace. We fight within the Church like Democrats and Republicans fight on Capitol Hill. We bicker about theology and lifestyle and how to live in the culture and when we do so, we do it in a way that communicates we don’t like the people on the other side of this argument.
The world does that.
What makes US different?
Do we believe the king, or do we not?
His kingdom would proclaim you don’t need to pick up that weapon (of any kind) to solve your problem. The pain in your heart will not be solved by taking it out in violence on someone else. It won’t be solved by taking it out in violence against yourself.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
The king of all kings offers hope, life, abundance. It’s time we lived that way.
The “national conversation” won’t include God in this mix. But we, as the Church, need to start living as if God really did matter. This nation needs it.