When death ceases to sting.

5 year olds aren’t tyrannical or home invaders. But I guess the bullets would’ve made someone quite a profit….

We almost expect it. Rape, school shootings, the homeless, corrupt nation leaders and constitutions that screw the people over. As if we can’t change anything. We can’t protect our buildings from planes, our children from crazy madmen, our daughters from men, our taxes from bankruptcy. Then we trust our leaders even less then we did, giving them even more power over our lives.

We create laws to protect each other from evil in and out of ourselves.

Why have prisons if they just cost the tax payer? Why have speeding tickets if everyone drives the speed limit?

So take Americas gun laws just as a current example, these principles are to discuss governance. (I realize I am an Australian citizen who has never owned a gun, who has never really studied american law, but… its a current example)
As far as I can find amongst current dialogues, the second amendment speaks of a right to ‘bear arms’ i.e have weapons, so that the people of the states can protect themselves from tyrannical leadership, invasion and your every day self-defense. This would have been written into the constitution before the 1800’s when the whole nation had less then 6 million people in it. Currently it has just over 300 million. The difference between tyranny over 6 million and 300 million is dramatically different. It also isn’t necessarily something that would be fought, with weapons, by all 300 million. Invasion by an outside force, ever since America and France technically are the only colonial powers left on the planet, becomes more a nation state security responsibility, and not really an individual worry.

The second amendment also speaks of disciplined knowledge of the weaponry they hold. It holds with it an ideal that training and back checks and updated skill sets would need to be apart of the bearing of arms. Weeding out the crazy people, the unskilled, the owners who, would never actually need an automatic weapon. But in reality, if someone was going to go to that extent of training and being disciplined, with self defense being a main reason for weaponry, wouldn’t it me wiser for everyone involved to be well skilled in a martial art. So, if one did get attacked, they wouldn’t need to already have a gun in their hands, they could just kick someone till they were knocked out?

Currently, as far as i last looked into, America held the largest defense force on the planet. An insane fraction of their national budget went into national defense, making one believe that USA as a country would be the most secure nation.

A recent tweet i read: Gun deaths in 1 year: Japan – 2 Finland – 1 Australia – 35 England and Wales – 39 Spain – 60 Germany – 194 Canada – 200 USA – 9,484.

Now, looking into the amount of guns owned by untrained citizens, would it be similar stats?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/interactive/2012/jul/22/gun-ownership-homicides-map

yep. America is 88 guns to every 100 citizens. The next one down is 58.
But at the same time, I wonder how many of those 88 per cents are owned by trained weapons handlers?

My point? Why have guns if you don’t really need them? Did Americans experience 9,484 home invasions that they needed to defend themselves with shooting to death?

No. I don’t think so.

But then wheres the balance, between protecting ones family from crazy evil people, and living in confident peace?

Some people speak of Jesus being a violent mad man. Courageous and manly he would definitely own a gun, and know how to use it, and if anyone came to his house he would blow them away to protect his children. Looking through the gospel books and you come across a moment. Jesus finds capitalists in the yards that the non-jews got to interact with God. They are selling their wares, making a pretty good profit, but they are in the way of people connecting with God. He gets a little pissed. Aggressively so. But he doesn’t lash out. He doesn’t get a gun. He patiently makes a whip. And it doesn’t say he touched any people. But he definitely whipped some animals into a frenzy with his whip. He turns over tables and makes a huge ruckus. He was serious about people meeting his Father.

Jesus said the opposite of defending ourselves. He said take a punch, walk further with your oppressor, give them your jacket even if your cold, bless them, love them.

Does that seem like he asks us to store guns in our gun racks that could rip through the bodies of 18 under ten year olds? Does that seem like Jesus wants our governments to not only allow, but celebrate our ‘right’ to own weapons to rapidly fire little bits of metal (700/min), designed and intended to kill people?

Jesus, the man with the largest capacity to defend himself – with 10,000 angels – died, innocent, alone, naked, in front of a large crowd and then asked us to become like him.

This morning President Obama made a speech in which he said “As a country we have been through this too many times”

Too many times.

It should never happen. Five year old children are cute and funny and filled with overwhelming hope. And today is a dark and sad day because they were destroyed by not only a man, but humanities strange aversion with ourselves, and our ignorance of what evil can actually accomplish when we refuse to acknowledge it exists.

Pray. – For families effected by this awful massacre. For their comfort, for their mourning, for their first Christmas without their children, for their feelings of rightful vengeance and wisdom in that feeling, for their family and friends, for the school, for President Obama and the courage he is going to have to have to make great decisions in leading a nation into new thinking.

Pray – For us to recognize that evil exists, but more so that good exists. That God reigns, and loves us all more then we love our children. For parents and families to get our comfort from God, to get our answers from God, to sit in his loving presence and not to listen to anyone elses voice.

Pray – For life, for love, for hope, for peace.

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6 thoughts on “When death ceases to sting.

  1. First I love you. You write bold things and I like that. It opens up a lot of thoughts for me – some of which are congruent with yours and some of which diverge.

    When I saw that this happened I did not first think about something that is a liberty (the right in this country to bear arms). I thought about a restriction. That restriction involves U.S. schools not being allowed to share God if they so choose. We have entire departments that are dedicated to telling kids that they are great cosmic accidents. It tells them that they are animals. It tells them they are just pointless molecules affected by chemistry. This is not necessarily a problem except that it goes further and does not allow another voice to be heard in it’s walls because somehow that supposedly affects diversity and freedom. Why should we be surprised or outraged when a person who is a product of that system takes what it has been telling them seriously? Why should we be surprised when one set of pointless molecules rearranges other sets of pointless molecules? When we sever the connection to life itself, why should we be surprised when people pursue death?

    I see your points on the issues above but what point is there to restrict guns if murder or deeper purpose is just accidental chemistry of the mind? You touch on this at the end of your blog. This makes it complicated because we aren’t arguing about the source (the shooter & sin) anymore we are arguing about the logistics of his methods. Well, what constitutes murder anyway? Is it simply, now, what the majority think or does the thing being killed have a voice? To many, abortion is a-ok. To others it is murder (I am in this group). If you were to consider abortions homicides in our countries, what would the real murder rate be like? How is this not cherry picking what we want to take stands on? All of your points about people who are not equipped or educated to handle a gun are good but could be applied to a car or alcohol or cigarettes. Automobile accidents, alcohol related deaths, and cigarette related deaths far far outnumber deaths caused by guns, even if you include war. Should we restrict the freedom we have on those because of that? What if we took suicide into view? How about police? Should they shoot someone in the name of defending an earthly empire? Should they have guns? Or, treating death as Scripture teaches it, what if we took into view people who brought sin into others lives? I think these are fair questions.

    I really struggle with the gun being the focus in this story. I can’t remember Jesus having a “let’s limit availability to swords through government” speech (although imagery in Isaiah points people willfully beating their swords into plowshares due to his impact in their lives). Instead, he calmly healed the person injured and said that those that live by such things die by them. He said turn the other cheek. He said love your enemies. The overwhelming arc of the entirety of scripture is freedom – even to do wrong. In fact, the NT points out that all law, even God’s law (the Torah) which was infinitely just, only brings more death and is powerless to do otherwise. Paul later goes on to say our fight isn’t against flesh and blood but against the wisdom of the age – the rules we put in place that aren’t God. Our remedy is not rules but relationship to Christ.

    I personally don’t like guns and wouldn’t own one but I get leery of the politicizing a terrible tragedy and I’m supremely leery of judging people owning guns (there is a LOT of warfare or fighting condoned and participated in by God himself in Scripture – I acknowledge that the debate is now at whether we, in Christ’s reign, participate in it anymore) .

    This is a really deep issue. Just some thoughts.

    You know, America may have one of the highest murder rates (parts of Africa and Asia are higher – and that’s what’s reported, mind you) but it is also by far the most charitable country, increasing it’s charitable giving even during a massive recession. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/19/world-giving-index-us-ran_n_1159562.html . Part of that reason is that there is tremendous freedom in this country. I’m interested in your thoughts.

    1. Hi sir, I love you a whole bunch also. I was just talking to someone the other day about how I have people in my life that honour me with checking my thinking in deep but loving ways. and you are defs at the top of that pile.

      Firstly, know that this blog post did not start out with the gun being a focus at all. it was just another in a string of blog posts focusing on, what God expects government to be and do.

      The focus statement being “We create laws to protect each other from evil in and out of ourselves.” Because I am erring on the side of Gods principle of government being we choose who governs us, and we choose to live with those consequences. This is the principle i find in the Torah (God tells moses that he needs to pick out wise people to help be the justice in the community and the wise counsel) which then was crafted into what we loosely call democracy. So, the whole exploring of, what that means. Do we go with tiny government expecting each other to be good to one another, or do we go with large government expecting everyone to be evil to each other, or do we find a healthy middle ground with checks and balances that understands evil, but also hopes for the best.

      So this post oddly took a detour through current affairs and current examples of what I consider a ‘break down of ignoring evil’. Including the referendum of Egypt which may end up with horrific consequences that may end up with civil apathy because of attempts at democracy being crushed. This includes Australias continued racism, the middle easts awful conflicts and a myriad of other things. So i agree with you that murder is a much larger discussion then what i simplified it to.

      But if governments job is to bring justice and freedom, then shouldn’t they do more in liberating people from all death. All addiction, all destruction, all unhealthy food practices, all bullying, all oppression. For why else does government exist? If government is in practice to just build roads and shake hands with new mothers, cool. But it seems like we vote governments in for more complicated reasons then that. And as followers of Christ, we represent Godly principles that can be injected into current political arenas. I’m just wondering to what extent.

      And the whole church and state argument is a huge one. and i think I understand both sides. I currently still am very unengaged with Australia’s politics because of my former disregard for both main parties. But if God expects us to vote in who we want governing us, because they have a large job to do, then we need to not only vote, but be very vocal in how we as light bearers and world changers feel from God to lead our nations.

      I totally agree with your school sentiments. Schools need prayer around their flag poles, in their gyms, in their canteens and in their classrooms. But governments can’t decide that. Daniel prayed humbly but very overtly in the open. No one can put our relationship with God into the illegal box. I’m all about prayer in schools and chaplains in schools, even if they have to go ninja for a season.

      I also totally agree with relationship with Jesus being the answer, being in a friendship with the creator means we know who and why we are. But what of those who choose not to hear God. Are they meant to be free to massacre who they will? Are they meant to be rule-less. Although I have had affairs with thinking that anarchy would work, it wouldn’t. So secular government based on the life giving principles of God needs to have a place in society. So wheres the balance of flooding our schools and our nations with the love of Christ whilst having in place a safety net of justice to minimise these things happening so often?

      Liberty isn’t the freedom to kill. Liberty is the freedom to find and choose life and life abundant. And the enemy came to steal kill and destroy, and he doesn’t mince words going about his business. Whilst we, as the body of christ are still in conflict with each other about our ability and authority to heal people like Jesus did.

      Side point to the warfare, if we are told by Jesus to turn the other cheek, and not even have hate in our hearts, at what stage do you think he is going to ask us to pick up a gun? Let alone a gun that shoots at 700 bullets a minute? As you quoted, our warfare is with evil and its intentions. Our warfare is to protect the innocent and through humble hearts, letting God fight our battles, just like He has throughout history.

      We definitely should be participating in it, but part of me doesn’t feel like we do. To explore the current event – the shooter was apparently quiet, socially unengaged and acted oddly without much cause. Evil at its best, senseless, taking out the innocent.

      I agree with you that America is a very charitable nation. Its people, as well as its corporate giving histories. But if we are serious about discipling the nations, and sharing Jesus with all, America needs to give less to itself and more to those they can’t make a profit off. (Harsh, possibly, but all the stats I’ve seen of money given to God sees less then .5% given to cross cultural missions, and even less then that get given to unreached people groups.) Especially when compared to defense budgets.

      This is much bigger then I thought it was. The whole concept of government still makes my brain hurt, but when simplified, I believe it is, citizens choosing wise people to lead them in wise principles so we live safely and justly (free and fair). Having automatic weapons, cigarettes, pornographic advertising, Jesus-less schools, celebrating violence – available to all without the other voice that you talk about isn’t fair, or free, because we are then imprisoned by death.

      Hopefully this wasn’t a rant filled with offense. But you give me space to process and have my thinking shaped. and i like that. I have been praying that the current atrocities around our world aren’t seeds for ongoing conflicts. So i hope both sides of any arguments unite in finding love and comfort in Jesus.

      Also, someone posted this and it made me think a whole bunch.

      http://www.nrawinningteam.com/scotttext.html – I’m not sure what it makes me conclude. but he has more authority in it then most.

      Love you.

  2. This would be even more fun if we were sitting across a table from each other. 🙂 I vote you move here or I move there. That seems to be the moral of the story here.

    I see now the bigger scope of what you are discussing here. I’m gonna have to go back and see your process before I can get into that deeper I think. Honestly, I’ve never heard Moses selection of judges as the origins of modern democracy (at least Christ focused government on earth). I could be wrong but didn’t Jethro suggest judges not God? Because God raised up judges personally after that time that had divine appointment and those judges mostly seemed to call people to either side with God or not. Those that did were led into action and good things happened.

    My thoughts have always been focused on creation that for hundreds of years every man “did as he sees fit”. I like what you said about “toying” with anarchy because I think that’s a perfect way to describe how I handle it (or mishandle it) but I guess I would suggest that perhaps it wasn’t anarchy but engaging in theomonarchy (I may have created a word there). For sure, when the Israelite’s asked for a king God tried to talk them out of it, preferring to use prophets. I know off hand in the old school KJV language that Isaiah prophesies that “the government will be on” the messiah. Later on, Paul advocates the converts in the Roman empire to go along with the government who was mistreating them using prayer and sacrifice as a method to change them.

    I say all this because I like the “break down of ignoring evil” quote you have. I need to read more of your stuff but stepping beyond the local government perhaps the church needs to consider seriously that it in itself is the first recourse rather than voting people to do God’s will. The church I’ve been a part rarely seems to use the methods the NT instructs us to use to engage evil. In fact, the church seems monumentally disinterested in engaging evil using the methodology of Jesus. Any thoughts on that? Also – what am I missing theology in the previous two paragraphs that has me skewing away from your thesis “We create laws to protect each other from evil in and out of ourselves”? Is it that it’s seems that the world could not function that way without evil reigning? Also, does being a part of the kingdom of God exclude you from realistically from earthly government?

    (Just a note on the US. I think you will find that America gets a bad rap and has so for a long time with charity. Certainly a ton of Americans don’t understand the countries around them, however, they still give crazy generously – both through the government and through private organizations and citizens. This country statistically spends more money on the world than any other individual nation by far. It is accurate that Americans churches spend very little on missions but it is inaccurate that Americans do not give generously to the world. They literally give the most of anybody. Of course, you can’t win with that because people then say that the US is just giving to nations that profit themselves (which is at least partially untrue). I guarantee that you will physically find an American in just about every literal hell hole in the world trying to help. So people give generously of themselves as well.

    With the war bill, I can understand the disagreement, but a lot of people would say that that money also is used in protection of other countries and of innocent people in places where evil is not engaged. The trick in all this is that America really believes people were born to be free and sometimes involves itself in conflict to help people. You are talking about engaging evil. People here honestly believe in that. But then the rest of the world gets sick of morality being shoved down other peoples throats. So it gets decried. America, like any nation, has corruption and sometimes involves itself in things that are simply evil, like any nation. But that is not the whole of it. In this I’m not defending America as perfect, I’m just saying that there is a lot of unjust thought about it and untrue caricatures perpetuated about it.

    Off to read your other posts!)

    1. Yeh i defs think it was Jethro, but i think he was representing God. but also, the structure of wise people being given positions that people respected seems to be all over Gods plan. Elders/deacons. parents/children judges/ others. not that they are better people, they just have roles that hold certain authorities. humans chose the first kings. and david wasnt crowned until the people crowned him. and during the judges dark times, the reason they were dark was because no one really agree on a leader, or leaders, they just did whatever the heck they wanted to do.

      the governing is defs on us, in all the funnest ways. but if democracy works best when the populace is vocal, why are we surprised with the current dramas when the church became so quiet.

      the church has also forgotten how to pray. how to take the fight to the enemy as opposed to waiting till he attacks and then feeling crappy about our losses. The NT shows so much weaponry at our disposal. we just need to pick it up and swing it a little.

      “it seems that the world could not function that way without evil reigning? Also, does being a part of the kingdom of God exclude you from realistically from earthly government?”

      If wise God fearing men, we in and out of government, and other God fearing men were voting in good government, and God fearing men were praying for and keeping the government accountable then evil would have little room to breathe in that government. But it seems like God fearing men avoid government, arent supported by anyone or the opposite, are destroyed by god fearing men and no one prays for anyone outside of elections and at election time we pray ‘dear lord, help kevin rudd win’ as opposed to ‘God we want you to win, so use one of these schlubbs as your hands and feet’

      If the Kingdom of God is just every where that Gods will is being done, wouldn’t earthly government be one of the best places to attack and capture for the lord?

      I’m all about starting ‘wars’ to liberate the prisoners and set the captives free, but it seems that certain wars go for amounts of times that make the most money. Until its of political interest and then bombs are quickly dropped and citizens are freed faster. # yes, quite a snide remark, but, with such a sizable defense department, with such training and resources, certain things seem to happen that shouldnt and vice versa.

      and if our worldview is one of setting the captives free, why is that not a principle for inside our national borders first. I.E until recently australian indigenous people were still not thought of as real people.

      i love you. and i love america. living with americans is glorious because they ooze confidence and a knowledge of who they are which is a refreshing change to australians who have no idea who they are but will get annoyed at you when you ask. I love all the nations. and i feel like this process of thought isn’t isolated to america or australia or even the west. Thats why God left us the first five books of the bible, to show us how to build great nations. He took the biggest refugee camp in history (2.4 million) and transformed them into arguably the greatest nation on the planet.
      i

  3. A reply from a reblog –

    “Politically I think it’s best if we agree to disagree….. I liked the last two paragraphs of the blog and the first answer to it…. beyond that…. ugh….

    People have been killing people as long as there have been people. The best laws in the world won’t stop crazy…. gun control only effects law abiding citizens, not criminals…. The shooter chose the softest targets of all… our children and those who teach them…. It’s an unfortunate reality and pointing fingers and placing blame won’t bring one of those lost souls back.

    I’m not sure if we will ever know the shooter’s reasons for killing his mother or the others at the school. Regardless of what it was, it wouldn’t be good enough to justify the loss of innocents. It’s unfortunate the shooter didn’t receive the mental health assistance and support he obviously needed prior to the tragedy.

    My prayers go out to the survivors…….”

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