Thursday, May 26, 2022

Overheard at the Counter: Uvalde and the Church

During these past two days, we have heard many voices opining about the horror in Uvalde, TX, when, on Tuesday, 19 children around the ages of 9 and 10 and 2 adults were massacred by an 18 year old psychopath.   We have heard the politicians weigh in, local law enforcement, national law enforcement, the NRA, liberals and conservatives of all stripes, have all commented with their opinions.  News outlets have covered all angles, from details to debunking conspiracy theories to comparing this tragedy to past tragedies, etc etc.

One group that has been strangely silent is the Church.   And by "Church" I do not mean any specific church, I mean the body of believers of Jesus Christ, the lord and savior of humanity.  Apart from one black pastor praying at a vigil, I have heard no other representative of the Church speak to this tragedy.  Not the two pastors at the church I attend, not the leaders of any megachurches in nearby cities (Austin/Dallas/San Antonio/Houston), not the Southern Baptist Convention, nothing from the Episcopalians or Methodists.   Only the Pope, the head of the Catholic Church, has spoken out, saying that America needs to get its act together.

But for the Protestant faiths?  Eerie silence.

The silence is due to the fact that the church in America has been wholly usurped by the Conservative right wing, which values unfettered access to deadly firearms over the life of any innocent child.  The church knows who pays the bills to keep the lights on, and it sure ain't God Almighty.   It's the Republicans, die-hard believers in 'Murica.  

This shames Jesus Christ.

Romans 12:18 ... as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

Romans 12:15b ... mourn with those who mourn.

I could quote other passages, but these are the two important ones here.  Regardless of any person's belief about gun legislation, the Church MUST be clear and direct with its message:  we HAVE to preach a message that we ALL have to leave in PEACE with each other.  PEACE above all else.  We have to teach it day and night.  We have to tell our children and others' children and strangers that the only way for goodness and light in this world is NO VIOLENCE, EVER!

If we do not do that, we turn our backs on God.  And He will repay us for our betrayal.

For the second passages, the Church MUST reach out to the Uvalde survivors, and their families, and flood them with love and understanding, not with speeches or with platitudes, but just with the simplicity of BEING THERE, with them, in this need.

We must mourn with those who mourn. Weep with those who weep.  We must share their pain, we must show them the empathy that our Lord Jesus Christ demonstrated to us by His life and His sacrifice upon the Cross.

If we do not do this, we shame His holy name.  And we are not worthy to be called His followers.

There is no middle ground here.  This is not a time to be silent.  This is a time for the Church, the body of believers, the followers of Christ, to stand up and show strength and faith in Him, that we will resist violence, that we will comfort the afflicted (both victims of violence and those with the potential to commit violence), and that we will defy evil in all its forms and that we will overcome evil with good.

If we are not prepared to do that, then we should shut the doors of our church, hold ourselves silent, and never speak of Him again, because we will not be worthy to utter His glorious name.


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