Or as one friend noted, I am putting on my ranty panties and pulling up my big girl pants over them. I suspect that’s the way all ranting should be done… keep the rants close and clothed in maturity. But golly that’s hard.
Over the past weeks, there have been multiple “conversations” (using the term loosely to include the usual blog-comment-tweetwar-talking-past-one-another form of communication with which we are becoming all too familiar) around violence.
There was the incident in which the comedian was heckled over rape jokes and responded by suggesting it would be funny for the heckler to be raped in the room right then. This was almost simultaneous with the Gospel Coalition post that about submission in marital sex that sounded an awful lot like the writer was condoning marital rape, even if that was not his intention. Then there was the awful shooting in Aurora. So many wounded, too many dead. All at the hands of a single person with access to an awful lot of weapons and ammunition.
It is impossible, as a Christian in the reformed tradition, not to see rape and murder as expressions of the brokenness (depravity) of humanity. It makes me angry, even as I trust that the God who is still in charge of this broken world can and will somehow redeem this tragedy and loss.
But I just can’t see how some of my brothers in Christ can essentially say “guns don’t kill people, sinful people kill people with guns”. As an argument against gun control. No. Really. But to add in the idea that “we don’t ban penises as a way to curtail rape” as part of your argument… well, I don’t even have an adjective. Ok- offensive is a start.
The thing is, we can’t just toss around the idea that the gospel is the answer to all societal ills like children guessing “Jesus” or “God” or “Be Nice” as the answer to every question posed during a children’s sermon.
“Jesus came to show us that laws don’t change the human heart” is not a legitimate argument against reinstating a ban on the sort of guns that allow a human being to stop the beating hearts of others at the rate of 1 per second. Though it is an interesting theological take on the relationship between the Messiah and the Law.
Maybe my problem is that I’ve never been all that great at keeping the theological in the theoretical. Yes, I believe that the gospel is transformative for individuals and that transformed lives can change the trajectory of a family, neighborhood and community. Do that often enough and we could really change the world. Eventually. In theory.
However, we really do live in a world where people really do have access to weapons of mass destruction. Some of these people are mentally unstable, but the majority of them are quite rational in their brokenness and destructive tendencies. And based on recent studies, we can assume a good number have no interest in a church that has mangled, mishandled and misappropriated the gospel too many times.
That’s why our houses have locks. And our nation has laws that seek to protect those who choose to live without weapons. And consequences for those who choose to harm and kill.
Jesus is not a reason to keep it easy for anyone to get purchase their weapon of choice.
Try as I might, I can find no theological reason for supporting gun rights. Especially beyond simple hunting rifles. Guns that are not made for hunting animals are designed to kill people. It’s just a matter of how efficiently they do it. Weapons originally designed for military use- they’re quite effective at killing. Even in the hands of novice soldiers. Or homeowners simply hoping to defend themselves, whether they love Jesus or not.
Try as I might, I can’t imagine how you’d turn around and offer pastoral care to a family in Aurora this week or in the months to come. Maybe I’m not creative enough.
Here endeth the rant. I’m headed to get some pants made for praying. Or laughing. Or both.