Hello, my friends!
It's been well over two weeks since my last post, but I've taken time off to deal with some very important family issues. Please forgive my tardiness.
And, shoot Lordy momma..! Has this world been crazy in the last week or so! Our prayers go out to the victims of the chemical explosion and fire in West, Texas and to the victims of the what appears to be a domestic terror attack at the Boston Marathon.
If these events were not, in and of themselves, insane enough, Americans have also seen the refusal of our Senate leaders to close the "gun show loophole" and demand universal background checks for all firearm purchases in the United States. Can you believe it? With polls showing a substantial number of Americans calling for gun purchase reform to prevent firearms from falling into the wrong hands, the U.S. Senate still refused to do anything.
A few weeks ago I attended a social event and met a military veteran of the Viet Nam era. He told me he had recently had an intense argument over gun control with some pro-gun individuals. In an exasperated moment the veteran asked, "So what kind of gun do you think Jesus would prefer?"
I don't think this has anything to do with politics anymore. I think this is a matter of our national soul.
My theory? We can't deal with the growing sense of powerlessness we feel in this chaotic world, and we want to know that we have some kind of control. Owning a device which gives us the ability to take human life mesmerizes us into a deluded state of having some kind of power. In a world filled with bullies and victims, we prefer to be the bully.
I don't know about you, but in a world full of bullies and victims I don't want to be either. I would like to believe that if I were truly put into such a position, I would be willing to die for the cause of the gospel (although I truly fear that I am nowhere near that brave!). But I cannot fathom how awful it must be to take the life of another human being--even in self defense. I have never discharged a firearm, and I have no desire to do so.
Violence, as we all know, begets more violence. But victimization, as the psychotherapist Thomas Moore suggests in his 1992 bestseller Care of the Soul, can also be a form of passive/aggressive violence. The gun lobby is very adept at playing the victim--attempting to coerce the public and our lawmakers into sharing its point of view by conjuring images of an oppressive government bent on depriving Americans of their God-given liberties.
In a world of bullies and victims, there must be a third option. For my part, I'd rather be a sheep. Jesus says,
"My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand." (John 10:27-28)
We often think of sheep as being docile imbeciles, blindly following the shepherd, going with the crowd. But sheep actually have a relationship with their shepherd. They know that this is the guy who provides for them--making them lie down in green pastures, leading them beside still waters and in the right path.
At this point in my life, I hope I have come to terms with my own powerlessness and weakness. I will get my way or I won't. But I am in God's hands all the same. I don't want to intimidate and I don't want to complain. I want to live my life in this Valley of the Shadow of Death fearing no evil because God is with me. I want to trust. That's all.
And I want to listen for my shepherd's voice and do my best to ease the journey of my fellow sheep
Thanks for reading, my dears. Take time to say "Hello," won't you?