After decades of Biblical study, I continue to discover there is much deeper meaning than I had ever imagined.
Christ calls me to
-people I'd not expect;
-be politically active for justice;
-love without restriction;
-accept those from whom I would normally recoil;
-be a student of the Bible and also the society in which I live;
-see the economic, social, and spiritual struggles of others;
-be a prophetic voice for justice, mercy, compassion, grace, and love;
What about you?
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Why Do We Rank #1 in Gun Violence?
Why does the US far outpace every other developed nation in rates of gun violence? What makes us so special that our per capita gun violence rate is 3x higher than the next developed nation? Why do we have more mass shootings than Yemen in a time of war?
-Is it a mental health problem? It would seem that women and men of color are not affected like white males. Maybe it's something in our water supply that Canada and Spain don't have.
-Is it a societal ill based on bad parenting and discipline? We are the only developed nation with the symptoms of gun violence, mass shootings, and school shootings. Are we that much worse at child discipline and parenting skills than the Europeans and Aussies?
-Is it a result of Hollywood and video games? The rest of the developed world watches the same shows and plays the same video games. They don't act out the same way. The Japanese traditionally watch much more television than we do.
-Is it a result of the US abandoning God and "taking prayer out of the schools?" The rest of the developed world is in a similar situation with empty cathedrals as relics of a faith long past. They don't have anything near our levels of gun violence.
-Is it simply a sin problem? How is it that the US is at least three times more sinful than the next developed nation?
-If it is not the guns, but evil people, why are there so many white men in our society who are evil? Are we somehow rearing evil white males at extraordinary rates?
If this is a moral problem, the US is the most immoral nation in the developed world. I guess we could just own that and claim it as part of our American Dream.
On the other hand, we could take a shot at serious gun regulations to see if they make a difference. After all, we strictly regulate motorcycles, seat belts, baby strollers, fertilizer, cigarettes, and alcohol.
Maybe we just really don't care how many more white men decide to shoot up our schools, concert halls, baseball fields, theaters, and workplaces. Maybe we really are simply morally inferior to every other developed nation on the planet. If so, we deserve the consequences of our idolatrous relationship with gun violence.
The Bible on Homosexuality
The Bible is not arranged topically to address the issues that arise in our lives or in the consciousness of any culture or society. It is not a book we can easily run to in order to find neat answers to the concerns raised by people living far removed from the circumstances of the Ancient Near East of First Century Palestine. That is just not how it was designed.
Life's issues are generally much more complex than what we might dig from the Bible by quickly looking up a few words in a concordance or web search. Some themes are treated throughout the texts that compose the Bible. Others are hardly present at all. What one text may seem to say another might spin differently, challenging us to take a closer look at the first passage and the second, as well.
When it comes to a topic like homosexuality, we are dealing with a short list of passages that may or may not have anything to do with what we understand as homosexuality. To further complicate matters, …
constantly hear folks talking about how horrible socialism is. In the
USA, we have fashioned a definition of socialism that has little to
do with socialism and much to do with the vague ideological enemy of
the cold war era red scare.
of all, socialism is an economic system, not a political one. It is
on the continuum with capitalism. Communism lies on a different axis
with democracy, theocracy, autocracy, and such. While capitalism
elevates capital as the most important element in an economic system,
socialism elevates the public welfare as the most important and
valued element. This is often looked at as labor versus capital, but
my understanding is that it is more than labor. It is the social
sphere that includes labor as well as those who are unable to provide
labor in the economic system.
to theology, doctrine, and Biblical witness, however, we find those
attitudes cast against the nebulous enemies of the nation from our
Red Scare days greatly impacting our attitudes …
Almighty Gun, we worship you. It is in you we place our trust and hope for our security. Where fifty-eight or more lie dead, We pass legislation for more of your presence. We hope you will protect us from our fears, Our fear of the "Other," the immigrant, the stranger, the colored ones. We fear our lives might be taken by those marketing terror. All the while, we are the ones in terror. We are the ones who instill, promote, and extend our own terror. We live in fear. We pack heat to make us feel stronger, more virulent, more protected. We return to the world of make-believe, in which we are the heroes standing up to the enemies all around us. We pray you will provide the energy and the aim we need. We pray you will protect us from our fears of unknown enemies. Then one of us takes a last stand, firing rounds from automatic weapons. "No, the guns are not to blame!" If only there were more gun worshippers present to stop the hail of lead! If only there were one more gun to halt the a…