The church’s opportunity

We’ve had at least four mass murder shootings this year in the U.S. Chicago is blowing away records with their current murder rate. They have also had over 2700 gun related crimes involving injuries or death.

But this isn’t about guns. As I was pondering the four mass shootings of Charleston, S.C., Umpqua Community College in Oregon, Colorado Springs, and now San Bernardina, CA, I was struck by the lack of commonality in motive. For me, I was struck how certain types of rage were acted out and each of those actions were extremely violent. Guns were used, but what if the rage was still there and guns were illegal? What if they used explosives?

This isn’t a post about guns. It’s a post about the need for the Church RIGHT NOW.

This interview on NPR is well worth listening to for some insight. A counterterrorism expert takes out motive from the equation to look at mass shootings and the commonality of the shooters themselves.

Common traits/tendencies (generally):

–They come from dysfunctional families
–They feel disconnected from the community
–They may have suffered serious life failures
–They may have some criminal history or history of mental health issues
–MOST IMPORTANT: They are in search for some sense of meaning. It could be gravitating toward an ideology or some group. They search for some way to give their life a cause.

As I listened to this interview, I thought, “This is the greatest opportunity for the Church.

If we can get off our political soap boxes we might just find an opportunity to BE THE CHURCH.

People who come from dysfunction and are in search of connection… what greater cause can be offered than the cause of who they are in Christ?

In spite of the nice mocking phrase that yet again belittles Christians (“God Isn’t Fixing This”), I want to lay down the challenge for us as the CHURCH.

Let’s get down and dirty AND FIX THIS THING. Because GOD CAN FIX THIS. We need to get dirty, because we’re going to have to “dig” to look for these “margins.”

We spend a lot of time in the Church lately talking about “the margins” and referring to the poor, the refugee, etc., and that is good. But they aren’t the only ones on the margins. The margins are also internal… and can easily be missed.

The one who feels no one listens, but he doesn’t “act out” all the time. The one who feels his opinion isn’t heard and he can’t get ahead, but most of the time he struggle quietly.

It takes WORK to reach the marginal who are that way internally. Yet, we see them. We brush past them. We ask quick questions to be polite, but then maybe just move on.

But if we, as the Church, will pray, and ask for discernment, and ask the Spirit to use us… just maybe we can touch some lives. We are SUPPOSED to be a place for the dysfunctional to find “function.” We are SUPPOSED to be the place for those who feel left out to find a home. We CAN call people higher, and they are not always people who look like us, or talk like us.

This may be a kairos moment for the Church. (We’re all too good at missing those moments in the American Church… but HEY! At some point we may just hit it out of the park!)

Let us PRAY. Let us ASK GOD… who CAN “fix this thing.”

And let us SEE.

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