Every person who claims to be a Christian in the USA should read every single word of what Michael Gungor wrote after the Newton massacre in 2012, both his original post and his longer response to the unexpected and immediate backlash he got from Christians on the internet.
To sum it up: "good, old-fashioned idolatry."
And, he makes a prophecy which has since come true over and over again:
"Perhaps, we (the public) have a responsibility today as well. Perhaps we ought to look at how we, the public, are contributing to this sort of thing that seems to happen so easily and often. Sure, maybe the pitbull is primarily responsible for the attack, but if we have a broken fence, today is the time to recognize the importance of doing something to fix it. It is the time to both mourn with those who mourn but also to find the passion to fight for a system that doesn’t so easily allow this sort of evil, to fight for those kids who will be shot next year. Because with this system, it’s going to happen.
What better time to face the foolishness of our beliefs and systems than when the consequences of them burn the brightest?"
A few other key points:
--"Is it inappropriate when a child dies to say, “well, has the killer been caught?”
Do you say, “well, today is not the time for police work… Today is the day to grieve.”
No! To grieve properly is to desire justice. To desire justice is to want the evil that caused the tragedy to cease to exist.
...what better time is there to think about the systems of injustice than when the tears are still wet on our cheeks?"
--"Now, of course, there is also the Jesus of the turned tables. There is the Jesus who ferociously deals with the Pharisees for their hypocrisy and oppression. Yet, we have no examples of where Jesus ever turns righteous indignation into actual violence against flesh and blood.
Jesus response to violence is never the sword, it is the cross."
--"Now to be clear, I never made the claim that gun control was the ONLY thing we should do. Certainly there are other important conversations that needed to be had in figuring out ways of safeguarding against this kind of violence. Mental health care, public training or security…etc But nobody is freaking out about those things. Nobody is having a seizure and shooting flames out of their eyeballs when someone says, “hey, maybe we should try to figure out a better way of identifying and treating mental illness.” But, mention the god of the gun!! “NO!!!! MY PRECIOUS!!!!"
--"America has been built on blood. We worship this god of the gun. We sacrificed to it to own this land. We spilled the blood of the Native Americans to satiate it. The British. The French. The Mexicans. Anybody that stood in the way of what we wanted, we killed. Sometimes the violence may have been justified, other times, it certainly was not by any other standard but “well, we wanted this, and you didn’t give it to us, so we killed you.”
America is a young nation, but it is drenched in blood. And oh how we treasure the power that we have received in response to our blood sacrifices."
--"I’m sure there are some that fight for no gun laws that really do hate violence. But I also bet that a lot of us have been infected with the violence that goes so deep into our roots. We have been infected with the idea that the use of guns are a good thing, synonymous with words like “freedom” and “justice.” And as a result, we violently hold onto violence."
--"If having total “freedom” from governmental meddling with our firearms actually does result in at least part of the violence that we keep seeing, are we really willing to offer our own children as blood sacrifice to this god for the sake of that convenience? Are we really willing for more mothers to have to lie in bed, tossing, turning and weeping, playing the imagined scene of their baby being shot over and over so that we can keep stroking the barrel of our shotguns and feeling the pleasure of the demon shudder through our spines knowing how easily we were able to acquire it?"
--"It should be shocking and horrifying to us that some of us are even using our “Christianity” as an excuse for this clutching to violence. We say how the problem is “sin”, and it’s only Jesus that can do something about it.
That’s convenient for us, because it frees us from responsibility. It lets us avoid actually having to be the hands and feet of God. So in other words, we use our Christianity to avoid being Christians."
--"I am not under the delusion that the government can fix the human heart. You cannot regulate away violence. But we can do little things to safeguard that limit the carnage when the violence comes out. Again, I don’t claim to have the answers to what those things are exactly. But I do hope that Christians will stop worrying so much about ensuring that they can acquire firearms without any inconvenience to them and start trying to figure out a way to limit the pain that our weapons allow us to inflict on each other."