As a Pastor, I have to be careful (more careful than I used to be) when I address social issues. It's a source of a lot of inner-conflict for me actually, and I presume it's a major reason many pastors eventually burn-out. The inner turmoil of knowing that I need to respond to an issue but also knowing that my response might be received as "political" or alienating actually keeps me up at night. There are times where I have to risk being "political" in order to be moral... and it would be morally and vocationally wrong for me not to be clear on this:
We cannot, as a society (and especially as a church),continue to tolerate children being murdered at school. We CANNOT! There is one issue—the greatest common denominator in all the mass murders in American history—that our leaders have REFUSED to address in regards to gun violence, and it's guns. We keep blaming other things.... it's NOT about mental health. In fact, people with mental health challenges are far more at risk of being victims of violence than of being perpetrators of it. It's not unlocked doors at schools. It's not that there aren't enough guns in the world. It's that there are too many guns and they are too easy to acquire. It's currently easier to get a gun than it is to get health insurance. It's easier to get a gun than it is to get a driver's license. It's easier to get a gun than it is to find affordable housing. It's easier to get a gun than it is to apply for a credit card.
What kind of world is God creating among us? It's a world where swords are beat to plowshares (Isaiah 2:4). It's certainly a world where children don't have to have active shooter training and where they do not have to see the sight of a gun on a daily basis. It's got to be a world where human life is valued, where children's lives are defended over against the desire to own lethal weapons. God is calling the church to fight like hell for that world!
The church's mission should include ending gun violence. God is calling the church to put down its sword (Matthew 26:52) and to address the gun crisis in America.
God is with the parents with newly vacant bedrooms in their homes. God is with the children who witnessed their friends murdered before their eyes. God is with those whose lives have been cut short. I am truly sorry if you feel like I have alienated you or marginalized your perspective. As a Pastor, it is my desire not to merely pontificate or emote. I want to communicate, and I want to communicate in such a way that you feel heard and seen. But if you are supportive of the NRA; if you don't believe we should be regulating gun ownership, banning assault weapons, and legislating gun control, what I am begging you to do—not only as a Pastor but as a parent—is to change your mind. I am asking you to join the fight for the world God has promised us.
Action is the only moral and acceptable response. We can't keep doing nothing. We need to pray. We need to act.
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