February 19, 2018 v5 p6
I had almost an entire post written last Friday about the mass shooting in Florida, I put it to bed for the night with the intent of writing the couple of paragraphs on Saturday. Then I saw some social media posts and decided against it, here’s why.
If you’ve been following along with me lately you know I’ve been on a faith journey. I don’t hide any of that. I’m pretty open about it. I’m willing to talk to people about it. I’ve probably shared a lot deeper part of my life than most people are willing to. All of this has lead me down a path that has proven to be a major transformation. I mentioned earlier in the year that I wasn’t setting any resolutions, but that I had a pretty big goal for myself, to become a stronger person. That includes in my faith, my family life, my professional life, and my public life. This is something I have to do for all of the people listed in there, and for myself.
Last fall I had lunch with a friend. We’ve only known each other for a couple of years, but sitting down to a meal with this man is kind of like sitting down with someone I’ve known far longer. He presented me with a book that he had acquired an extra copy of, “Kill the Spider” by Carlos Whittaker. This is the story of the author’s journey through some intense therapy. One of the stories early on is about how his father explains that if you have cobwebs to clear out of your mind, you have to kill the spider, or the cobwebs will just comeback. This hit home. I started to reflect on my past and how I had ended up where I was. I could see that I was just doing exactly that. I would move on from one issue and not clear up the cause for that issue. I was running away. I still haven’t identified what that spider is so I can work on killing it, but I’m much more aware of what’s going on in my own mind.
A few years back my wife and I started a Christmas tradition of giving only four gifts from Santa, this was when our youngest was still a believer. In order to keep spending down we gave gifts that were “Something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read.” This year my wife found a book for me that was similar to that last one I mentioned, “Killing Kryptonite,” by John Bevere. This book has really transformed me. It points out how a person can put the things they want in front of what He wants for us. When we do that it weakens us, like kryptonite weakens Superman, and if we continue it will eventually kill us.
Every time you are putting your wants and desires in front of His you are committing a sin. The more you sin, the more you die. It may not be physical death, but you begin to stop being what it was He designed you for. This is just like in Genesis 3:4, But the snake said to the woman: “You certainly will not die!” While not a physical death, Adam and Eve were no longer allowed to stay in the garden, no longer allowed to receive the gift God had given them. It certainly isn’t the easiest thing to do, but I have to try. I have to change my ways so I can be a better disciple, become a saint, help my wife get to heaven, be a better husband and father, and be a better man.
How does this apply to the tragedy in Florida on Ash Wednesday? The more our society takes God out of its view, the more this type of thing will happen. As I’ve written before, there has been a trend away from modesty. There has been a trend toward doing what it is that we want. The more those trends start to become the normal situation, the more we tend to slip. We’re on a very slippery slope, and momentum is starting to take us down.
There have been a lot of “solutions” that I’ve been seeing going around social media of late. Some of them have some merit. It’s pretty obvious that our current system to vet gun ownership is broken. I’m not calling for a total ban of guns, that would be worse than the current state of affairs. However, there must be changes. It can’t be as easy as it is for almost anyone to get their hands on a weapon. Another argument is that it isn’t the fault of the AR-15 rifle that was used in the shooting. While technically correct, you have to ask if a rifle designed to look like a fully automatic military machine gun is something that needs to be made available to the public. These guns are not being bought for hunting. Yes, responsible owners are buying them for personal protection. I have to ask the question though, if it’s this specific rifle being used in the mass shootings, is it necessary?
There is a vast amount of arguments that could be made on either side of this case, but when it boils down to it there is really only one way to go about handling it. As a society we must be better to each other. We cannot attack each other for our differences of opinion. Positing and arguing on social media accomplishes nothing. You aren’t going to change any one’s mind, you’re only going to make others upset and cause yourself a lot of wasted time trying to defend yourself against others. That goes on until something else shiny comes along and grabs your attention. Then all of the outrage starts up again when the next tragedy happens. Unless you’re willing to take action by helping to hold our elected officials accountable to their constituents instead of the PACs, you’re not doing anything. Openly mocking the beliefs of your fellow humans on social media doesn’t make your point any more right or wrong than anyone else. All it does is prove that you’re aren’t as open minded as you claim to be.
In the meantime we can all use a little less kryptonite and a lot more love. From the Gospel reading today in Matthew 25:40 we are reminded “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.”