Guns II

Seems like only yesterday I posted my article (read: rant) about gun laws in the US. And here I am, again in a somber tone, reacting to yet another mass shooting. Only this time, my patience with the Christian response has worn thin. Never have I felt such anger towards religion than I did on Wednesday, when the ruthless murder of 17 people generated the typical, increasingly unacceptable response: prayer. “Oh, we’re sorry your kid is dead. But don’t worry. We’re all going to stand in a building for an hour and chit-chat with “God” about it, then have some coffee. That should make you feel better. And it will definitely prevent this from happening to anyone else’s child.”

“We’re going to send prayer chains around the country on Facebook Messenger.” Are you freaking kidding me? Chain letters? The equivalent of a seven-year-old’s financial scheme, or an Amish friendship cake is how we’re responding to a national crisis? I’m insulted. I’m angry. I’m afraid. I’m sick of the word “prayer.”

Donald Trump: “Our entire nation, with one heavy heart, continues to pray for the victims and their families in Parkland, Fl.” When asked whether more gun laws were needed to prevent school shootings, he did not respond. Because, clearly, there’s no problem with our gun laws when someone who has been expelled from school for erratic mental health issues, and who has had the police called on him 30 times for violent and threatening incidences, and who has already tweeted intentions to murder people can go to the corner store and purchase a gun. There is a more thorough investigation conducted when a single mom applies for food stamps, apparently, than when someone goes to buy a gun.

But we’re handling this. We’re praying about it. We’re all going to join hands and chant words to some fabled superhero who probably just didn’t notice this was happening, then go out for Chick-Fil-A. Let’s make a day of it! Let’s all post it as our status. “Praying for the families in Florida.” That should do the trick. Now, back to Candy Crush.

How about instead, we get our heads of our arses and out of the Middle Ages for a minute and do something that’s going to help, at least remotely or minutely, to prevent another tragedy like this? I said it before, and I’ll say it again. Prayer isn’t working. If you needed proof, let Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School be your proof. Now you can save your 15 minutes a day of doing nothing, and maybe get on the phone with your local government.

Imagine a “chain” of people donating an hour a week to acting on information their teenagers are providing about their own, or a friend’s mental illness. How about mentoring, tutoring, fostering, adopting, volunteering on a suicide prevention line, or serving in any arena where under-reached youth are crying out for help?  How about lobbying for stricter laws, or broader healthcare, or greater awareness? Imagine millions of people donating one dollar each towards school resources and equipment that may prevent another tragedy. How about donating time to raise awareness about depression, anxiety, or violent tendencies, or the resources available to report potential threats? How about everyone taking the time to actually respond when there are warning signs on social media, or concerns posted by classmates? If we have time to send chain letters and pray, we have ten minutes to listen and respond.

We could reach out to the family members and offer financial or emotional support. We could support groups that work tirelessly for safer schools. (According to one such group, the Sandyhook Promise, 80 % of school shooters told someone about their violent plan, or exhibited warning signs. )There is so much we can do. But our children go to school fearing for their lives. And who do they have to protect them? An older generation of idiots who are praying to supernatural beings to keep them safe.

“Kids are getting killed in school.  Let’s send chain letters to nobody! Let’s do absolute shit about it, and then pass it on to 1,000 people in a bulk email, so we look like we care.


Now don’t get me wrong. If it’s not a cause you care about, you have every right to do nothing. Doing nothing is your prerogative. Go right ahead. But don’t invite me to do nothing with you, because it insults me. Don’t email me an invitation to sit in your church, behind closed doors, and wipe myself clean of my grown-up responsibility to act. And for the love of everything good, don’t send me a chain letter. Because I’m not seven, and you aren’t either. And it just makes me sick.

A mother lost her son on Wednesday, due to a fully preventable tragedy. A father lost his daughter. The world was robbed of three adults who were brave heroes in the face of a crisis. The youth who lived through this tragedy will be forever changed. The families who lost people will suffer the sorrow of a perpetual void. The time for talking to our imaginary friends about this is OVER.

450 thoughts on “Guns II

  1. Thanks for calling it like you see it. You are right, that the typical Christian response is devastatingly lacking. From memes and pithy statements (“guns don’t kill people!”) to well-wishing and prayers devoid of action (James 2:16 warns against this!), it is disgusting. Keep on seeking and calling out truth, while looking for more productive responses! Challenge people’s hollow answers at every turn!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Dear Jared, The modern response to everything seems to be memes, pithy statements (“keep your laws off my body!”), bashing and silencing those who disagree, and thoughts and blogs devoid of action.

      It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that posting a comment on a blog is actually doing anything, when in reality, we’re all just talking in circles. I’m guilty of it, too.

      The internet has made us opinionated, empty, vapid people.

      If you’re seeking and looking for actual truth, you won’t find it on a blog. You will, however, find whatever you want to hear that makes you feel good about yourself, even if it’s the farthest thing from the truth.


    1. JTOaks, You could not be more wrong, of course. If you’re looking for “actual truth” you can find it everywhere. In science. In nature. In art. In Scripture as well as other literature, in Christian advice as well as nonChristian advice, in blogs as well as out of blogs. There is a single source of truth, yes – but not a single expression for it. Thinking you could never find something true in a blog just seems a bit too naive from my experience. God’s truth is found all over.
      Perhaps a better word that “typical” (though ‘type’ is the exact concept we’re discussing) would be “nominal.” Many people live life with a Christian flavor but it becomes quickly clear from their actions that they do not actually have a Christian commitment or lifestyle – a loyalty to Jesus and his teachings. The common, nominal, typical Christian response these days is not one rooted in Scripture or relationship with Christ – it is, like you say, bashing and silencing those who disagree while their own thoughts are devoid of action.
      A word of encouragement. The internet has not made people empty and vapid. People choose to be empty and vapid. The internet gives people every chance to be empty and vapid OR informed and full and meaningful. It’s just a tool, morally neutral. It doesn’t destine people for one or the other. It’s interesting you use the internet to decry the internet. It’s just a source of opportunity and information – how people discern that information and employ that opportunity is what will determine whether they remain opinionated, vapid and empty or move to something richer, healthier, better. You’ll find words on the internet that tickle your ears, but you’ll also find words that rub you wrong. Sometimes you’ll be right – other times the words will be right.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes, I thought his response was a good one too, Danica. It’s always disheartening to read so many christians with such a negative outlook. It must be that ‘born a sinner’ mentality. 😦


      2. (Blush.) After seven years of seminary, I feel I really “get” my own people – people of faith. And I don’t always like what I see, particularly the judgmental nature and arrogance they often adopt. Truth can only be found in one place? It’s just such a ridiculous concept. All truth is God’s truth and we find truth all over. 🙂 We just have to open our eyes and look for it! And when we find truths all over, we’ll start seeing how much we have in common with our neighbors – no matter what religion or creed or race or nationality.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Jared, can you copy and paste where I typed, “Truth can only be found in one place?”

        I don’t think I ever said that, but if I did, I’d like to be reminded, and the reprimand will be gladly received.

        If I didn’t type that, I’m sorry you felt the need to put words in my mouth.

        All truth is God’s truth, but as the contributors to this thread are quick to point out, people use truth, truths, truisms, and half-truths to twist things to further their own agendas. Christians are not the only human beings who do this.

        It would be wonderful if we could all see how much we have in common. That is a nice concept, Jared. If that could happen, the world could be one huge, happy reciprocation. We would recognize our common truths and willingly allow others to lead us away from our misconceptions to the core truths.

        The problem is that people decide what they want to believe, and then gather information to support it. Like C.S. Lewis said, it’s like looking at the moon “through a dirty telescope.” People have horrible beliefs because they look at God “through a dirty lens.” Most people don’t care about actual truth. They prefer virtual “truth” because it validates the life they have chosen, and when they encounter someone who disagrees with them, they call that person names.

        Truth hurts most of the time, so I find myself hurting a lot. But it’s a good pain. Like pouring rubbing alcohol on a hangnail. It stings like the Dickens, but I know I’m getting rid of the infection.

        So, yes, I should not have decried the internet (sorry, internet. Nothing personal!). It most certainly has made it easier for us all to look like idiots, though. It has been used to very effectively destroy the concept of reasonable debate, and if you want to get into conspiracy theories about who’s controlling what information…wow…that’s a can of worms.

        Anyway, thanks for not calling me a f**wit, Jared!

        Liked by 1 person

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