March 2018 Newsletter
March 1, 2018, 9:48 AM

Grace and peace to each of you this day. It is March and we are in the full swing of Lent. Still a few more weeks left before we get to celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus who is the Christ.

Recently, the debate around guns, gun violence, and the second amendment has reared its head because another deadly school shooting has happened. The latest is in Parkland, Florida at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. I pray and hope that by the time you receive and read this newsletter it will still be only the ‘most recent’ deadly school shooting.

I have posted on Facebook, I’ve alluded to it in sermons, and I’ve had direct conversations with many about my views on gun violence. I know that there are a wide range of beliefs in regard to this issue, but as your pastor I wanted to focus in on one thing – and it may upset some of you.

I think we – as a culture – have a problem. But, it isn’t the usual ‘problem’ that most people prop up during these times. It isn’t video games. It isn’t violent movies or books. It isn’t because prayer isn’t ‘allowed’ in schools. It isn’t because God has been ‘removed’ from society.

No, I think our problem is the same one that has afflicted our world from the very beginning of time. We have an idol problem.

I feel that we as a culture have placed guns, and specifically the 2nd Amendment on a pedestal. It has become an issue that has become incredibly divisive in our country, yet no matter how much we shout and fight nothing seems to get done. It has become the ‘golden calf’ of our current time.

For many, it is something that cannot be discussed. It cannot be changed. It cannot be moved. It has become untouchable in almost every way. It has become an idol to us.

Yet, we come to this reignited discussion during the season of Lent. A time of self-reflection and devotion to God. A time where we intentionally see where we have been separated from God and seek out those ways to bring God to the center of our lives again.

I ask that we do this as individual people, as a congregation, as a community of the faithful. To take down our cultural ‘devotion’ of guns so that we might be able to talk. So that we might find a reasonable and appropriate response to this issue. So that we might finally find a way to prevent not just these school shootings, but the numerous deaths caused by guns in our country.

As people of faith, we are called to be in relationship and life with those around us. God calls us to be a part of and wrapped up in the life and service of others. When we begin to live our lives according to that call (and it is not easy, and we will fail in that endeavor time and time again) it places us in situations that we otherwise wouldn’t want to be in. We live our life in devotion of the one who washes feet, who calls us to take up our cross.

In living into the life that Jesus has called us in, we will put others ahead of ourselves. During this season of Lent, what would it look like if we truly, honestly, and earnestly lived that call out in our lives? It won’t be easy, it will put us at odds with those around us. But, it just might help us have the conversation. It just might be a way to help prevent the vast majority of these deaths.

I know there are many who will disagree with me. I now there are some who might think I shouldn’t speak about this sort of stuff. I know that there are some who feel I don’t know what I’m talking about.

But, as a pastor – as your pastor – I’m tired. I’m saddened. I’m angry. Tired, sad, and angry that we still have these circular conversations in our country.

Maybe this time will be different. It seems that it might be. I’m hopeful. I’m in prayer for something to come from these conversations around our community and in the highest places of government in our society.

However, if we cannot understand that we have an idol problem when it comes to guns in our country (and in turn repent from this idol), I fear that those conversations will end up in the same places again and I honestly don’t think anyone wants that to take place…

Remember, I love each of you. And I truly mean it.



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