Tag: guns

Extremists

Here is a thought process/challenge for today:

Look at any belief, political view, religion or practice and take it out to the extreme and see where it goes.  You may not like the results.  The scripture that I am using below says to avoid extremes and I agree. But this is a challenge to see what the ultimate line of belief or practice is.

Here are a couple examples to start with:

Islam – I am certainly not an expert on Islam (and correct me if I’m wrong) but I believe the ultimate belief is Sharia Law.

Christianity – Give everything to the Lord and lay down your life.  Love your enemy.  Turn the other cheek.  Total forgiveness.

Love/Hate – Pretty obvious…

Some practical political issues:

Guns – Freedom to bear arms anytime, anywhere with no background checks or regulation.

Abortion – The right to have one up to the time of birth.  A fetus has no rights.

Alcohol/drugs – The ultimate extreme result I guess would be death.

Ok.  You get the idea.  Look at any issue and take it to the extreme.  We often look to the “seed” of thought – where did this begin.  I’m encouraging you to look to the “fruit” of the extreme.  Is it positive or negative.  Does it bear life or death?

Once you get to the extreme, is it something that you want to practice?  What steps need to be taken to bring it back to acceptable society levels?  Can we have restrictions without losing our freedom to choose this thought?

Guns – Do we really want to live in the wild west with everyone carrying guns?  Do we want to bring back holsters and walk around ready to shoot?  Do we want everyone to have a gun?  What regulations are acceptable to balance the issue?

Alcohol/drugs – We have tried numerous adjustments.  Some have worked and some have failed.  It has been a continuing process that gets tweaked often.  Age limits.  Prohibition.  Driving restrictions/penalties.  Legalization.  Why can’t we come to an understanding of this process with some of the other issues today?  Trial and error and adjusting laws instead of total freedom or shut down?

Religion – Where are your extreme beliefs leading you?  Are you going to kill non believers or love them?  Are you going to reach down and help the needy or kick them while they are down?

This is an interesting challenge for many issues.  I hope you take time to look at your own life.

Ecclesiastes 7:18   Whoever fears God will avoid all extremes.
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Guns and Church pt 5

Take a look around you – in church, school, work, at the mall, on the street, in your neighborhood.

Who do you want carrying guns?  Take a look.  Which of the people around you do you trust with a loaded gun on their belt or in their purse?  Do you trust them?  Are they trained?  Do they have the wisdom and experience to be carrying a loaded weapon for their “defense” or “defense of others”?

If an armed man walked into your area, do you or that other person have the training and experience to handle their weapon or will you cause more harm to everyone in most situations?  Will you or they be too quick to pull their gun out when the situation could have been diffused in a better way?

If you think I am being harsh on guns – I’m not.  I am thinking through the issue.  You may think everyone carrying a gun is a clear headed, mature, self disciplined, not to mention, trained individual.  But what about that creepy guy – you know the one who isn’t quite stable?  You know who I mean.  The one who gets violent at times.  The one who can’t keep it together.  What if he is carrying a gun?

You see, if we open the doors for everyone to carry a gun; everyone may really carry a gun.  Even those who really shouldn’t be carrying guns.

Take a look around.  Who is carrying and who is not?  Who do you want carrying and who shouldn’t be?

…..men ready for military service—able-bodied men who could handle shield and sword, who could use a bow, and who were trained for battle.
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Revenge – pt 4 in Guns and Church

Revenge and Vengeance

We are taught not to commit revenge.  Personal vengeance is illegal.  We are required to allow the proper authorities to bring justice.  If we strike out in revenge to kill someone accused of killing a loved one, we will likely be punished for murder ourselves.

But happens when a country is attacked?  If a people group/country kills citizens of another country, retribution is expected.  Quick, harsh and deliberate punishment is expected.  The latest reaction comes from France for the attacks on Paris.

Does retaliation bring peace?  Does it bring justice?  Is a government retaliating violence any different than an individual seeking revenge and vengeance?

What would have happened if the USA hadn’t invaded Afghanistan following the 9/11 attacks?  Would we have experienced more peace or less?  Were our actions simply vengeance or were they righteous actions to protect our country from further attacks?

Are we killing enemies before they kill (as we attempted in Iraq) or are we killing out of revenge and vengeance?  If we are seeking vengeance, who is in authority to judge it?  Is government vengeance righteous or evil?  Is it helpful or hurtful?  Does it lead to peace or more violence?

Are we as Christians more at peace by defending ourselves and protecting others or are we more at peace by allowing God to be our defender?  Are we at peace when we live in fear?  Is fear motivating us to defend ourselves?  Can we stand and worship in God’s peace while preparing to protect ourselves with violence?

Romans 12:19

19 Don’t take revenge, dear friends. Instead, let God’s anger take care of it. After all, Scripture says, “I alone have the right to take revenge. I will pay back, says the Lord.”

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Guns and Church, pt 3 – Poor Peter and his denials

Anyone raised in a Christian church knows this story:

Matthew 26:33-35 (NIV)

33 Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.”

34 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.”

35 But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same.

Poor Peter – this story has been re-told millions of times.  Yes, Peter denied Jesus but look at the situation – his world was turned upside down.  He was confused, scared, in shock and in disbelief!  At that point he didn’t know what was true and what was a lie. He feared for his life and didn’t know where to turn.

Fast forward 2,000 years.  We as Christians have based our testimony on this – don’t ever deny your faith.

Matthew 10:33 But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.

But a mad man comes into your school or church, points a gun to your head and asks you point blank: ‘Are you a Christian’?  Do you stand for your faith knowing that you will be killed or do you wimp out and say “no” knowing that your life will be spared?

We have grown up with the teaching that not denying our faith is a the right answer; a testimony that may lead to the attackers salvation, a testimony to anyone else who is watching, and most important proving a bonded relationship with our Lord and Savior.  We may lose our temporary life on earth but immediately enter into eternal blessing as a martyr.

I still agree with that but we have entered the realm of ‘madmen’ with guns who are often on killing sprees motivated by severe mental illness.  These shooting sprees often end with the killer ending his own life – not turning to salvation by testimony.

My point – Does it show disregard to God to say “I’m not a Christian” to a madman determined to kill Christians?  Does that statement destroy a relationship with God?  Are we less faithful to want to live out our lives here?  We have celebrated the victims who have stood by their faith but is that what Jesus would have really wanted?

If your daughter or son is faced with this horrible choice, do you want them to take a pass on early death (basically lying and for a moment denying their faith) or should they stand strong only to die?  Even though you may be proud of them for standing their faith, doesn’t a part of you want them to lie and live?  Is that wrong?  Is that a cop out on God?

This denial was not the downfall for Peter.  It did not end his relationship with Jesus but it may have made him stronger and more faithful.  In the end, he did die a martyr but it was by his choice to stand with Jesus.

We may all face a day when we need to stand for our faith or deny it.  I am ready to take that stand but is it wrong to deny it in the face of shock and madness?  I hope we never have to decide.

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Guns and Church, part 2

You’re sitting in church and a gunman enters . . .Do you run? Do you fight? Do you stand? Do you defend the defenseless (i.e. children)?   In you faith world what is right?  What is moral?  What is Godly?  What would Jesus do?

Does “Turn the other cheek?” apply to physical violence and possible death or was Jesus referring to verbal insults?

Is it morally correct to stand by and allow a mad man to kill innocent people out of hatred?

Where does love come into the picture of protecting loved ones?

We wouldn’t allow a pediphile to harm our children.  Why would we allow a gunmen the chance to kill them?

Is it better to be armed in church to stop violence or to pray that violence never comes our way?

Is it morally correct to pray and worship in a house of worship while holding a gun for protection?

If a pastor or speaker wears a bullet proof vest for his/her protection shouldn’t he/she offer protection to the congregation?

Is carrying a gun into a church service with hundreds of people more dangerous than not having any protection at all?

Finally – Can a loving, forgiving, merciful, patient, carrying follower of Christ kill another human who is threatening to kill others?

Luke 22:36 He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.  NIV

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Guns and Church

If you’re like me, you are getting tired of hearing about guns!  The gun subject is like abortion – you are likely to be on one side and no amount of arguing is going to change your side.   I’m not going to write about all the issues (you can read them anywhere).   I’m going to limit the discussion to one small question:

How do you feel about people carrying their guns into a church service?  If you find that shocking, think again.  It’s not just in Texas that people are carrying concealed weapons.  Friends of mine have told me that they carry their guns everywhere – including church.

So, you’re in the middle of worship and you notice a gun on the person’s belt in front of you.  Do you feel safer or more in danger?  Does this need disclosed to the congregation?  To leadership?

What kind of message does that give to others?  To our children?

If you really want to dig deep – how about our Anabaptist roots – should we be defending ourselves in the first place?  Should we lay down our lives in testimony of our faith or kill a madman that walks into our house of worship to kill Christians?

If you don’t want to think that hard, go back to the first question: How would you feel about guns in your church service?  Go.

Mark 14:46-48 (NIV)

46 The men seized Jesus and arrested him. 47 Then one of those standing near drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.

48 “Am I leading a rebellion,” said Jesus, “that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me?

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Confusion

Imagine the outcry if a gunman asked gays to stand up and then executed them while he only shot straight people in the legs.  Can you imagine the outcry!  Hate crime!

Imagine if he only shot Muslims, blacks or, really . . . any other people group besides Christians.

Targeting Christians?  Cricket cricket

Horrible tragedy – but on the other hand we stand by Planned Parenthood killing innocent babies everyday – so much so that we won’t stop government funding.  Remember that black lives matter as long as they are not fetuses.

A man drives drunk and kills someone with his car.  Now you want to stop me from drinking in my home AND you want to take away my car.  Before you do that, why don’t you try to stop drunk driving?  Why is this my fault?

On the other hand, the areas with the strictest gun laws seem to be having the most killings.  I’m not against gun control.  I don’t like guns and I don’t own one.  But it seems like the current gun laws are not working.  Why don’t we find better gun laws instead of just saying we need “more gun laws”.

Violent video games.  Violent movies. Oh they don’t cause any of this Hollywood.  Just like sex in movies doesn’t affect anyone.  Do you ever wonder why we stopped ALL cigarette commercials and yet we advertise violence and sex constantly?  But remember, it doesn’t cause violence.

We may not agree on issues but let’s at least agree to approach every subject with the same bias and logic.  And lets find a solution instead of spitting out blame for everything that goes wrong.

Nehemiah 4: All of them plotted to attack Jerusalem to create confusion. But we prayed to our God and set guards to protect us day and night.

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Terror

Another day . . .another mass shooting.

Pictures of people crying, hugging, prayer vigils, holding candles, teddy bears and flowers.

24 hour news cycle giving false information to fill the time slots.

Identify the killer and analyse his family history and psychological background.

Interview his family and friends – he was a loner, he was quiet, he played video games.

Gun control arguments.

Set up a memorial.

Is it about hatred?  Is it about mental illness? Is it about guns? Is it about 15 minutes of fame?

Schools will hire more guards.  More cameras will be installed.  More people will live in fear.

There will be more shouting in Washington.  There will be more comedians joking about gun activists.   More celebrities will denounce guns.  We will lose track of the tragedies.  We will buy more guns for protection.  We will lock more doors.  We will pass more laws.

We will continue to be more hardened to this dark hole that we are in and ask ‘why’.

Jeremiah 30:5 (NIV)

“This is what the Lord says:

“‘Cries of fear are heard  —  terror, not peace.

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