Sunday, December 16, 2012

And the World Asks “Why?”– Part 1

Stormy Land -- Saija
Saija Lehtonen’s image, which I’ve titled Stormy Land to go with today’s discussion, highlights the emotional state we’re all in after the shooting at Sandy Hook, CT.  Storm laden clouds darkening what appears to be possibly dangerous flatlands.  For me, this is the toughest post I’ve had to write.  Once again, we experienced another mass shooting, this time at a K-4 elementary school. There are 28 dead, with 20 of those being students at the school, and one more related killing. Our heart and prayers are with the survivors and the families of all involved.  And the world asks, “Why?”.  They don’t have an answer.

The rationale for the public killings seems unfathomable to most people, understandably.  Until we look at US history and how our nation has changed through the decades.

We are a nation founded by Theists and Christians.  Until the past half century, we were proud of that.  In the pledge to our flag, we proudly stated that we’re “one nation, under God”.  One of the songs we sang proudly about our country is “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”, whose first line reads, “Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord:”.  From there, the song continues to exalt our national connection to the triumphant triune God till its very end.

Our nation stayed with that thinking through the 1950s.  And, for the most part, it worked.  There are those who point to how we treated native Americans.  But that’s not recognizing that, for the most part, the offenders were those who weren’t likely to set foot in a church except as a social obligation.  Their god was self or money.  We had a civil war because some couldn’t see that slavery was created by an unGodly mindset.  And by the time we got to the late ‘50s, slavery was gone, but racial equality wasn’t a complete reality. 

Thank God for those like Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Unfortunately, there were others who would try to make that a racial issue for everyone, when it really wasn’t.  And there are some who lean on that thinking, today, to excuse bad behavior.  It’s not a racial issue, it’s a heart issue.  Some were afraid of changing the status quo.  Some were focused on themselves as the center of the universe, if only to get rid of their fear and sense of inadequacy.  “If I don’t understand it, it’s got to be wrong or inferior”.  That’s not racial, it’s heart.  As Jeremiah 17:9 puts it, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”.

Through all of this, we continue to say we’re OK, we’re improving, we’re getting smarter, kinder and wiser.  Yet, Isaiah 64:6 says, “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”.  And we have days like Sandy Hook and Aurora.  There’s more that needs to be said, so we’ll continue, next time.  Again, our condolences go out to the families of those injured or killed at Sandy Hook.  And our hearts and prayers are with them, as well as all those directly involved in the incident and its aftermath.

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