More dead people in the US. More bodies on the ground from another shooter intent on mayhem. We’re still waiting to know what version of madness fueled this kind of terrorism. The people haven’t even been dead for 24 hours and the event has already become a political football to pass around and try to score with. Fear the Terrorists. Change gun control laws. Your candidates are stupid. No YOUR candidates are stupid. Anyone who prays is an idiot. Anyone who doesn’t pray loud enough is a pagan. You’re all stupid. I’m the best. Look how great I am.
A regional center for the developmentally disabled.
And all we can do to manage our rage is to fight about our politics.
There’s nothing wrong, of course, with wanting to change things so this sort of thing doesn’t happen again. You’d be a fool to think we shouldn’t try to change something. Of course, we seem to have two radically different solutions that always become the answer: arm everyone or take away the guns. To be fair, either one of those solutions probably would change things very much. I’m not quite sure what each of those scenarios look like, but I know it would be different.
But let’s be honest: Neither of those things is going to happen. They’re not. You’re living in a fantasy world if you think that’s going to happen. So investing yourself in the political process is a lost cause. I pray that our leaders can make wise decisions and govern well. I truly do. I hope laws change to fix stuff like this. I’m rooting for those politicians. But I’m not optimistic.
The continued faith in the political system in this country is the most popular form of religion that we have. Ignore the numbers of those who claim to be Christians (those who go to church and pray and believe the Nicene Creed has always been a much smaller number than those who claim Christianity). It seems that people believe nothing as fervently as they do that the government can fix our world.
Liberals get the rap for the being the ones who believe this. But I’ve seen/heard/watched people completely justify Donald Trump’s rank foolishness simply because “Obama has almost killed this country and we need a change.” It’s not that government is bad. It’s that the other team’s brand of government is bad. So faith in the government is not lost. It’s just split towards a different god in the Temple.
Your new President will not fix this disease in the heart of our country. Your new laws will not fix this. Our country has a fascination with violence and an inability to stop itself. Our country has an inability to work with political opponents to get anything we done. We are fractured and sick at heart. We are deeply in trouble. We are heart-broken.
When the evidence is laid before us like Sandy Hook or San Bernardino, we have an immediate reaction, almost an uncontrollable immune system response to the presence of a powerful antigen. We kick and scream and push and try kick out this terrible invader with everything we have.
Then nothing happens.
And then the bodies hit the ground again. And we have no better idea how to handle it. Nothing happens. The body count goes up again. Nothing happens. The death toll rises. Nothing happens.
Nothing happens. Nothing happens. Nothing happens.
We are a sick people. I don’t mean we’re gross. I mean we’re infected, weak, and sick. If you are a Democrat, you can think the problem is Republicans. Or vice versa. Invest yourself all you’d like in our partisan political system. You will continue to be disappointed.
Americans can shout. But we cannot grieve.
We cannot countenance sitting for even 24 hours and mourning tragedy before we whip out our fingers and point across the aisle. Death is so terrifying, so anti-American, that we can’t stop ourselves from trying to solve it.
Death is disgusting and horrible and for these families, it is terrifyingly close to them.
For a day, a whole day, we might want to contemplate what is making us so ill. Perhaps you think it is guns. Perhaps you think it is lack of guns. But after you have arrived at this conclusion, think for a few more hours. Is it really all that’s wrong? Is the answer so simple? I don’t know. I have my doubts. People kill people. It’s part of the collective human experience. Is the weapon (or lack of weapon) always the problem?
I think it’s good to rage against these constant outbreaks of violence. I think they’re rage-worthy. I don’t think any amount of gun control/citizen arming will fix this, though. For one, it’s never going to happen. Two, I don’t think anything at the center of the problem is being solved.
Ultimately, of course, I think the answer is Jesus. I think we need a King who is not running for reelection. And we need judgment. I mean judgment that makes your heart sing with hope. Judgment against our worst enemies (which is Democrats or Republicans). We need judgment on sin and death and madness that rips people to shreds.
I’m not clear now whether I’m “allowed” to pray right now or if I have to be angry on social media and pretend to “do something.” But I really don’t want to do much more than pray. I want to petition God to do what I don’t trust politicians to do. I want God to move people’s hearts and squash out evil. I don’t want to pray against my enemies. I want my enemies to be my neighbor, my friends, my family.
One day, all our weapons will be melted down into farming implements. One day. I don’t know when. I don’t know how exactly that will work. But I think it’s what God wants to do and what he ultimately will do. Maybe praying for what God wants will help me to see things more clearly. Maybe it will move me to find ways to help that peace to come. Maybe God will do something miraculous.
I don’t trust politicians to figure this out. And I don’t hate the party across the aisle. Or the other party either (since I don’t have one). The rage against those people over there won’t fix anything. I want to know how to be wise and what to do. I want some action steps for fixing things.
But right now…
Fourteen families ripped apart.
“God have mercy. Christ have mercy.”
All I can do is pray.