Another mass shooting. Do you care about the details? Do you? Do I? What about the mass shooting that takes place every day in the United States, one murder and one suicide at a time? Do you care about the details? Do you? Do I?
Firearm violence in the United States is rampant, pervasive and it seems intractable. It starts to seem like it is a force of nature, like a hurricane or a tornado or a flood, a force that exacts its inevitable death toll; a force that cannot be prevented. But we should not be fooled. Shootings in the form of murders and suicides are not a force of nature. But are we even allowed to entertain the idea that we might be able to do something to reduce or stop some of the shootings?
To dare to venture the opinion that we might take some preventative action to struggle against the daily slaughter is met at every turn with shouts and demands about civil liberties; shouts and demands about the only amendment to the constitution that seems to matter. To have a gun, and to be able to wield the deadly force of a gun takes on the character of an absolute right. To have a gun, and to be able to wield the deadly force of a gun takes on the character of a God-given right.
What’s going on here?
What sort of God is it, that would approve of the violent firearm deaths? What sort of God could that possibly be?
I mean, do we mumble utterances about how God is love, and how God loved the world so much that God sent God’s Son to earth to save human beings? Is that the God who approves of the absolute right to own and wield firearms for the killing of the self, or the killing of others?
When we think of God as a violent inflictor of God’s will; when we think of God as the Creator of victims and sufferings– it is in that context that the violent God takes the throne. Love is transformed into a kind of brutality. Love is twisted into a kind of seething violence. And the sanctuary is set for a new liturgy for the worship of the new God, the Gungod.
And that’s just what we have here: the Gungod.
And the Gungod is an angry god who requires blood sacrifice. Lots of blood sacrifice.
And the Gungod is an angry god who requires human sacrifice. Lots of human sacrifice.
Why do people bow down before this Gungod? Are they afraid the Gungod will require their sacrifice if they speak or act against the Gungod? When I look around, I see that the fear is total. The worship is total. The devotion is total. The faith is total.
We need courage instead. Courage can banish the fear. Courage can empower our love, and rescue us from the false God, the idol, the Gungod.
The Gungod howls and demands our faith and worship; howls and demands that we enact the futile sort of strength known as violence. But, the God who is Love beckons and invites (and pleads with) us to abandon that Gungod.
The God who is Love beckons and invites us to live with courage, and to meet our fellow travelers with gratitude for the gifts they bring that enrich us and make us whole.
The God who is Love beckons and invites us to courageously pour out our selves in generosity like God’s, generosity that rains blessing down on the deserving and the undeserving alike.
Those are the loving attitudes that will break the spell of the Gungod, and unshackle us from the false-strength of violence that enslaves us.
A person whose courage is rooted in the Loving God is the person who can be free from the cowardice that trembles and quakes on its knees in every violent act of worship and sacrifice that the Gungod demands.
Do we need firearm regulation? Maybe. But, what we need more is the upbuilding of Courageous Love that will give us the authentic sort of strength. The Loving sort of strength. The Divine sort of strength. The strength to put down the weapon. The strength to put down the Gungod, once and for all.
And that will surely be a lovingly courageous step in our becoming a new creation together.
Photo source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Non_violence_sculpture_by_carl_fredrik_reutersward_malmo_sweden.jpg