What I read today;

2 Corinthians 10; Mark 16; Isaiah 42; Psalm 2; Judges 18; Genesis 42

My wife and I have the same birthday.  August 3rd we were celebrating our birthday in a German Restaurant when I happened to look at my phone and see headlines flashing of another mass shooting.  This one in El Paso, TX, at a Walmart.  Imagine my surprise when I woke up on August 4th only to discover the second shooting in 24 hours in Dayton, OH.  Then in the midst of this, we hear that the City of Chicago had multiple mass shootings with at least 9 dead, I’ve read reports of more, but the numbers don’t match, and over 50 injured.

Now comes the inevitable screams for action.  “We must find a way to stop this now,” people are shouting.

But the problem is complicated, and no one really wants to address the root problem.   Our problem is a heart problem, not a legal issue.  It is a problem caused by societal ills that no one wishes to address.

50 years ago our companies decided to make more money by closing down it’s US manufacturing plants and sending jobs overseas.  This forced our people into lower-paying jobs and forced both parents to work.  As time went on, we then saw the advent of video games and cable tv and things that were previously taboo for younger children to watch now became acceptable.  Then as people worked more and more hours, we began to move away from the idea of community.  Where I grew up neighborhood block parties that happened several times each year began to disappear. As people started working longer hours to live the American dream, our church attendance began to deteriorate. As personnel computing became prevalent in the 1990s, the internet became all the rage.  Then shortly after 2000, smartphones and social media came into existence.  Things that everyone believed would bring the world together actually ended up dividing us even further.

The fabric of what held us together was slowly disintegrating right before our eyes, and we didn’t even notice.  As crime began to increase, we did the only thing we knew to do.  We piled on laws designed to stop the violence.  In 1994 the US Government passed Drug laws that incarcerated thousands, along with assault weapons ban.

Then in 1999 came the Columbine shooting.  In spite of all our bills to prevent this from happening 2 young men walked into a school and gunned down their fellow students before being killed by law enforcement.  The story has now been repeated so many times we have become numb to it.

We now look to how we can pass more laws to prevent this even though what we did in the 1990s failed so miserably.

A segment of our society has been marginalized.  The outcasts and loners have been pushed to the fringes and succumbed to hate and violence.  They are angry, and when the circumstances are right, they explode into a rage-filled attack.  They are usually white, middle class and have suffered some sort of parental trama.  They are loners and outcasts.

They have given up hope.

Which is why it is now more critical than ever that the church reach out.  We’ve been hiding in our church buildings wringing our hands over issues that don’t really matter while people around us are hurting, hiding, and suffering.  It is time that the church takes the message of Isaiah 42 outside of the beautiful buildings and begins to reach out to those who so desperately need it.  We have to combat the anger and rage that so permeates our world today with the message of Jesus Christ.  We have to continue to tell our members that each one of us is responsible for a message of love and hope.

God can heal this hurting land of ours.  Are we willing to be the hands and feet that God can use to perpetuate that healing?

 

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