June 23, 2016


On the eve of remembering and recognizing the horrible killings at Mother Emmanuel Church in Charleston, South Carolina, we woke up to the news of 49 new killings in Orlando, Florida. Not in Europe, or the Middle East, or in some far off "killing fields", but basically on the streets, schools, churches, and restaurants and clubs we all call home.

I confess to you a tiredness. A dryness of spirit. A bewilderment. I understand evil happens. I understand it involves mental illness. I understand the randomness of sometimes what happens in this life. What I do not understand is doing nothing or doing something stupid. The idea that if we all go out and buy guns? If we arm ourselves to the teeth, that we will be safer? It just doesn't make common sense; let alone, scientifically unfounded.

What awakens my soul and brings me back into contact with my feelings and the painful reality of the situation are the heartbreaking individual stories of the dead and wounded. What wonderful people these are, like those of Mother Emmanuel. Some praying. Some dancing and having fun. But all children of God, like us all. Too many good and beautiful lives ripped away from family and friends.

Those of us in the church have a special obligation to speak out. We, who do not put the second amendment above God. Our sin is that gun rights advocates speak louder and are more dedicated than we are. It does not endanger the second amendment one bit to: 1) ban mass assault military style weapons; 2) Ban weapon purchases by terror suspects; 3) Close gun show loopholes in the law; 4) Make modest waiting periods universal; 5) Increase spending on community mental health.

And sensible gun regulation is not our only Christian obligation. We have a debt to repay. A wrong to right. A sin to atone for. For too many years we have let prejudice and morality and cultural norms override and obscure the gospel. We are all made in the image of God, including our LGBT brothers and sisters. Let us stop mincing words, as well as, our love and acceptance. Every barrier, every law, every word we speak that implies or denies full citizenship, full inclusion, full respect, and the the joy and happiness of God's grace must be fought with vigor. May the courage and kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ be with us all.


Bob Bell 




Hide Comments (0)       Add a new comment