Photo Friday: More Questions than Answers

Empire state building 1

Hello friends,


This morning at roughly 9 AM, a gunman walked into the Empire State building and opened fire. Ten people were shot, and two of those (including the gunman) died. This is the 3rd mass shooting to impact the United States in the last two months. And this doesn't even include the unfathomable amount of gun deaths that happen each and every day in our country that don't get the benefit of being covered on CNN. We are as a nation, as literally as we could possibly make it, killing ourselves. 


As best as possible, I try to avoid politics on the J-Blog. This could easily find its way towards a discussion on gun control, laws regarding carrying concealed weapons, background checks, or limiting sales of ammunition. This are all important topics, and I have strong views on all of them. But in our political climate today, I am certain that a discussion on any of these issues on the J-Blog would only lead to a food fight where nothing would be accomplished. Don't believe me? Turn on CNN right now and see who's talking. I can't even watch the news where I am right now, I'm just guessing. People will argue and argue and argue and get exactly nowhere. So let's leave that behind for a moment. 


Let's instead ask ourselves some questions. What has been the reason behind the most recent uptick in violence in our country? I mean even if you want to discuss the gun control argument, nothing has happened lately to make guns more or less accessible. And yet, it feels like (at least to this blogger) that violence is on the rise around here, with the shootings in Colorado and Wisconsin, and now New York. What gives? 


And then we have to ask the question, what are we to do with this in our ministries? What are our students feeling as a result of these attacks? Fear? Sadness? Anger? How do we best respond to them while we may be feeling the exact same things? What does the Bible have to say about these shootings? For that matter, what would Jesus' response be to all of this? Something along the lines of "Those who live by the sword die by the sword?" Or would his words be more harsh? Or would he share how broken his heart was that people living in our society could become so emotionally unbalanced that they feel the need to inflict such violence as a result? 


What is our role in all of this? There is so much evil that happens in the world as a direct result of my ignorance (sweatshops, less-than-fair-trade practices, etc) that I wonder if I have a hand in these violent outbursts? People seem more than willing to pass the blame around to everyone from politicians to video games, what if we all carry a share of the blame? What if ignoring that in favor of passing the blame to someone else actually contributes to the problem? What if our political climate, with all the arguing, bickering, negativity, and attacking actually leads to these situations? Maybe not directly obviously, as if some super-pac put the gun in someone's hand, but indirectly. 


What if all of this violence, and even the lack of civil discourse in our country, is happening because of a vacuum of hope? What if people are resorting to outlandish arguments and outbursts because they don't see another way forward? What if Christians across the country and political spectrum are called upon in Scripture to bring hope to the world, to bring light into dark places? Would those two ideas mean that we are failing our nation? Would those ideas mean that we are failing our God? How would you begin to inject hope into our situation now? Where would you start? Can we afford to continue living the way things are going? Can we afford any more hopeless situations?