Some quick thoughts on the situation in Orlando. This briefly looks at the problem of evil, and how I don’t want to live in a society of fear. Also how can the Christian community pray for the gay community after all the years we have treated them horrifically? Its times like this our political involvement comes back to haunt us.
“The reality is that we don’t forget, move on, and have closure, but rather we honor, we remember, and incorporate our deceased children and siblings into our lives in a new way. In fact, keeping memories of your loved one alive in your mind and heart is an important part of your healing journey.”
“The world is scary no doubt, but I don’t want to live a life of fear. I hate that these things happen . I don’t understand them. “
Scott Van Sweringen text to me yesterday
John 11:35 NIV
Yesterday morning I was working through EFCA West in my Evangelical Free Church project in examining the growth of Neo-Calvinism. As I was typing my Android was making a noise in either letting me know that there was a text or an update. I get a lot of texts from differing people, and I thought to myself the following. “Who is texting me like crazy?” I reached for my phone and noticed it was CNN updates on this shooting in Orlando, Florida. When I saw it I got sick, and felt bothered by what I was seeing. As the day wore on, I was glued to my phone and when I saw the total fatalities to be around 50 I was stunned. Yesterday is one of those days that you just have to sometimes wonder…what kind of loving God allows this kind of evil to play out?
I just don’t get it. I honestly do not.
To have this kind of calamity, and evil is so stunning that it takes your breath away. I am not in a mood to re-hash the problem of evil, however, its days like today that I struggle with the concept of God being good. Plus its days like today that I struggle with the concept of God allowing this to happen. In this way I am disappointed in God, and pissed at him for allowing this to continue. What kind of loving father would let this go on, and happen…over, and over, and over. If someone can explain that to me I would be grateful.
There are so many other concerns I have about all this I have no idea of where to start. I am concerned about the fabric of society. I remember when mass shootings were infrequent. A disgruntled postal employee or two deranged kids in a Littleton high school. By the way I still remember sitting in my old Oldsmobile just out of college and on my lunch break at Washington Mutual bank and hearing the news reports coming in from Colorado. These shootings are becoming far too frequent and I am concerned as to what this will do to our society. I do not want to live in fear. I want to be able to go to a bar, movie theater, mall, and enjoy myself and not live in a state of perpetual fear. Going to the movies is not like it used to be. I’ve had to walk through the metal detectors and had my backpack searched. I’ve noticed when I see a movie that during the show they are now checking the door to make sure that it is secured. This of course, is all the legacy of the Aurora, Colorado shootings. That was a major assault on our way of life.
Now I am not going to rail about gun control, as I don’t think its appropriate to do that. It angers me that people use these events to score brownie points on Capitol Hill, or in the media. I just want to see our country mourn, grieve and find someway to prevent these from happening.
I don’t want to live in a police state where every move, package, backpack is searched. This is about quality of life, and we need to find ways to deal with this issue.
By the way there is another thought that came to my head yesterday as I watched this play out on the internet. I don’t want to hear John Piper say something obscene like “this is God’s sovereignty on display.” There are times to speak, and times to shut up. And I hope John will stay away from Twitter and be respectful of the sensitive situation in Orlando.
Russell Moore How can Christians Pray for a People Group Given how they Treated them?
Yesterday at his blog Russell Moore wrote the following article called “After Orlando Can We Still Weep Together?” which I will quote below:
Let’s call our congregations to pray together. Let’s realize that, in this case, our gay and lesbian neighbors are likely quite scared. Who wouldn’t be? Demonstrate the sacrificial love of Jesus to them. We don’t have to agree on the meaning of marriage and sexuality to love one another and to see the murderous sin of terrorism. Let’s also pray for our leaders who have challenging decisions to make in the midst of crisis. Let’s mobilize our congregations and others to give blood for the victims. Let’s call for governing authorities to do their primary duty of keeping its people safe from evildoers.
Now this happened a year after Russell Moore wrote the following in a piece at The Gospel Coalition called, “Same-Sex Marriage and the Future.”
In some form or another, your church will have to address the marriage revolution. This includes thinking through steps that churches should take to protect themselves and their confessions of faith from legal action. But it also includes being honest about our congregations. It’s simply not the case that homosexuality, same-sex attraction, transgenderism, and so on are issues in “big” churches or “city” churches. In backwood rural churches of Appalachia or the mythological Bible Belt of the American South, congregations have to know how to faithfully and compassionately minister to the sexual revolution’s refugees. Churches that aren’t addressing these issues in their Sunday gatherings are ignoring the Great Commission.
That’s why this isn’t merely an issue of an election cycle or two. There is an urgent need for conscience protections for those who dissent from the High Church of the Sexual Revolution. Look at the way the CEO of Mozilla was hounded out of office simply for supporting a ballot measure defining marriage as between one man and one woman. Look at the way Baronnelle Stutzman was accosted by her own government, not for refusing services to gay customers (she served many gay clients for years) but for refusing to agree with two customers, and the state, about a same-sex wedding.
If the church doesn’t read the signs of the times, we will be right where we evangelicals were after Roe v. Wade—caught flat-footed and unprepared. Thankfully, many Christian leaders, and many outside the evangelical tradition, became bold leaders in the cause of protecting unborn life. We owe much today to their courage.
Now here is the problem that no one is addressing. The evangelical Christian church has kicked, poked, attacked and criticized the gay community in ways they should not have. In that piece above look at how Moore defines the marriage revolution. It becomes clear that Russell Moore doesn’t know the difference between religious marriage and civil/state marriage. Both are two very different issues. The problem is that many evangelicals have married their faith to politics. Now it’s coming back to bite them in the ass. After all the problems, issues and going after people who are not Christian, now Russell Moore asks if we can weep together? How do you think the gay community in Orlando or the rest of the country is going to respond to this? Do you think they will take Russell Moore and other evangelicals seriously? Do you think many gays will say, “Absolutely! Let’s pray!” Nope the problem is that the evangelical church has burned its bridges and not repented for how they have treated gays. Now in this dire situation in Orlando because of prior evangelical actions they have blown an opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus during the time when the gay community needs it.
I have to say it here…I was outright embarrassed when I watched how my camp reacted to the United States Supreme Court decision on gay marriage. I was horrified to look at my Facebook feed and watch what people were posting. Many Christians acted like it was the end of the world. That the future is over, and that life is now finished. Life will not go on. Too many Christians who were overreacting and I was ashamed and disgusted at my camp. How I would like to know would many of these Christians have thrived or preserved in the days of Ancient Rome or Greece? The church survived and it was a hell of a lot healthier than it is now. This is part of the reason why I long for the death of Christian culture in the United States.
The problem I am getting at is that we have burned bridges and many on the other side don’t respect, won’t listen to nor even consider what he have to say. I have to honestly say that I don’t blame them at all. We did this to ourselves. If I were Russell Moore I would apologize for wanting to prevent two gays outside the church from getting married, and developing a siege mentality. For our efforts in waging the culture wars we should own up and admit that we were wrong. Civil marriage is not going to affect religious marriage – not unless you have married the two together.
To the LGBT Community in Orlando
If you read this please know there is a Christian in the Washington, D.C. area who feels sick. I feel sick at what happened, and the fact that such violence entered your life. If it was in my power I would reverse everything. But I can’t, all I can do is cry, grieve and hug you if I could. You shouldn’t have to go through this alone. I know that the gay community is tight and close. You have to be after all the discrimination that has taken place over the course of time. If you are one of the people affected by this situation in Orlando and you need anything, please let me know. I love you guys and think highly of you. I am privileged to have several gay friends, and I am thankful for the ways in which they have challenged me.
That’s it, this is something I wanted to throw up quickly for this tragedy in Orlando. I love you guys! Give someone you know a hug. That is your homework assignment.