So let’s talk about this gun situation. The great irony in the national conversation is that a law designed to protect the rights of people to defend themselves against tyranny seems to have become more important than the lives of actual people who – in all practicality – cannot defend themselves against tyranny.
To my mind, this is a lot like losing sight of God for the sake of religion – where the structure you create in order to help you attain what/who you actually need becomes the thing itself.
That kind of religion, in effect, keeps people away from God. And that quality of slavish adherence to principle keeps people from experiencing actual freedom (or life, or liberty, or the pursuit of happiness).
Because how free are the good folk of Sutherland Springs now they have died at the hands of the man such adherence to principle essentially supplied with weapons? And how much are the children of Sandy Hook enjoying the freedom their executioner celebrated when he loaded up his designed-to-kill-human-beings-efficiently assault rifles?
Maybe the “guns don’t kill, people kill” mantra should be amended to, “If you’re in the mood to kill, a nice assault weapon certainly makes it a lot easier.”
I’m passing this over to Rebekah:
Well, as I am potentially on the edge of replacing thoughtful writing with a rant, I’ll defer to Rebekah’s excellent message this past Sunday. She asked hard questions, she didn’t pick sides in the gun debate, she refocused our attention to the essential mission of our faith (which is reconciliation), and she challenged us to live not out of fear but in response to the imperative of love.
“I understand that some preachers now keep a gun in the pulpit,” she said. Then she stepped back, leaned down, and pantomimed looking carefully around her pulpit to check.
Then, and after the laughter died down, “And what do you have in your pocket, George?” she asked one of our official greeters. “Oh, love, and pain,” he answered eloquently and poignantly.
People come to church and they want to hear what our faith tells us when the world all around is falling apart.
And the funny thing is that, for the most part, we already know. We just want to be around one another when it’s confirmed to us; we just want to be in fellowship, and in communion, and in the right frame of mind – frame of spirit – to actually listen when God reminds us, very clearly, “Put your sword away. For all those who embrace violence will die by violence…” (Matthew 26).
I encourage you to take twenty-five minutes to listen to Rebekah’s sermon. Here’s the response of one listener on Facebook: “Powerful message! Considering what concealed weapon I carry, what sword I raise that hinders reconciliation in my life: harsh words, bad attitude, self-absorption…thank you for listening to the Holy Spirit!”
Here’s the link: “What do we do?” Rebekah’s message begins around the 8-minute time stamp.
Peace, blessings, and more – DEREK
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.