It Really is a Heart Problem


Once again, we’ve had another school shooting and, once again, people are coming out of the woodwork to declare, “This is not a gun problem; it’s a heart problem.” Never mind that the 18-year-old Parkland shooter was able to buy a military-style, semi-automatic rifle after being expelled from school, visited by the police multiple times, and even reported to the FBI. No, this is just another example of a kid who was never forced to attend church, who played too many violent video games, and who never learned proper respect for human life. The lesson here is, we don’t need to make it harder for people like Cruz to buy guns. We just need to do better as a society.

I agree: we do have a heart problem in this country. But it’s not that we fail to attend church or play too many video games. It’s that we, as a nation, love our weapons of death more than the lives of our children.

Disagree? Consider this:

– Folks in the pro-life crowd will refuse to sell women birth control on the off chance that it would cause a fertilized egg to drop into the toilet—but when living, breathing children are gunned down at school, they shrug and suggest we pray more.

– We make laws requiring children to use car seats until they’re 12 on the off chance they might be involved in a serious car accident—but when that same 12-year-old is riddled with bullets in a classroom, we balk at taking any preventative measures.

– We demand that the government keep a database of registered sex offenders with their locations plotted on Google Maps so we can keep kids from being molested—but requiring a similar registration for gun owners to keep kids from being shot is an invasion of privacy.

– We’ll put Sudafed and Tide Pods under lock and key at the store so teens can’t make meth or poison themselves—but telling a sociopath he can’t buy an AR-15 is unfair.

– For our children’s safety, we require everyone who drives to be licensed and insured—but asking the same of gun owners is overreaching.

– We violate the rights of transgender people by dictating which public bathroom they can use so they won’t make our children feel uncomfortable—but asking people to keep guns out of schools so our children feel safe enough to learn is offensive.

– We stand outside of abortion clinics wailing about the sanctity of life, turn entire elections on this one issue, and do everything in our power to eradicate abortion from society—but when teenagers leave schools in body bags, we offer thoughts and prayers.

And we wonder why today’s children lack empathy.

Dr. Ben Carson, a surgeon who ran for president in 2016, famously said, “I never saw a body with bullet holes that was more devastating than taking the right to arm ourselves away.”

A surgeon said this. A surgeon. He worked on dozens of gunshot victims ripped open and bleeding to death on his operating table, their families wailing with grief in the next room, and he concluded, “This is awful, but not nearly as awful as telling some guy that he can’t own the tool that caused these wounds.”

Such a statement is just as sociopathic as anything that happened in Parkland on February 14.

Our children beg of us to do something; they cry at the thought of returning to school in the aftermath of yet another massacre. But instead of passing sensible gun laws, we spend millions of dollars putting them through active shooter drills during math class. We tell our terrified children to run out the back door, hide in closets, play dead, or wear backpacks as body armor and rush the shooter. We ask their grossly underpaid teachers to shield them from the bullets. We teach our kids to throw books and chairs to buy their friends extra seconds for escape; we tell them in the media that they will be remembered as heroes for their acts of bravery.

That’s what the YouTube generation wants, right? Fame? See, we’re giving it to them.

But God forbid we take the gun out of their murderer’s hands. That might require us to fill out a background check application, or go on a registry, or use a trigger lock, or give up our dreams of stockpiling semi-automatic weapons for the coming apocalypse and that’s…too much to ask.

We drag our kids off to the firing range on a Saturday, because we tell ourselves it’s really a lack of gun knowledge that’s causing these shootings—that if kids knew how to properly load, aim, shoot, clear and reload these weapons, they wouldn’t spray bullets into crowds of people. Then we take them to the latest Bruce Willis or Dwayne Johnson film and laugh while these famous actors do exactly that, and then we converse over dinner about the loaded gun we keep in the closet to scare away thieves and trespassers.

At the end of the day, handguns and semi-automatic weapons are made expressly to intimidate and kill people, and we’re not about to limit that right in any way—even if it forces our children to live in terror. We buy them their own guns as birthday presents, encouraging them to continue the proud and rabid tradition of gun ownership, because it’s our first love as a nation.

Video games are fantasy. The way we value gun ownership over innocent lives is real. Our children see it daily and despair. We tell our children to value human lives over inanimate objects, then we and our leaders do the opposite.

We keep asking where the sociopaths are coming from. Perhaps we should look in the mirror.


When Healing the Sick becomes a Political Act

“Why do you have to get all political on us?”

“I don’t like the way your social media has become so political lately.”

“Why don’t you leave politics alone and just preach the gospel?”

Statements like these have been leveled at several of my fellow Christian female bloggers lately. (Not so much at me. I’ve always been political. 😉 ) But it’s something that has caught my attention. In a way, it’s true: writers like Rachel Held Evans and Jory Micha appear to be making more political statements. I’ll be the first to admit I’m guilty, too. I’ve tweeted a lot about my opposition to Trump’s presidency. A LOT. Continue reading

The Real Crisis of Authority

So you may have noticed the parody that I published yesterday of this article in Christianity Today. Parody and satire are great for blowing off steam, but they don’t quite explain how the steam came to rise in the first place. So I want to talk more about this article by Tish Warren and address where I think the problem is.

To sum up the article, Warren points out that, just like the printing press, the advent of online blogging has created a “crisis of authority.” Namely, if someone is using the Internet to publish their personal take on the Bible, who holds them accountable? Where did they get their knowledge? Who ensures they aren’t damaging the church or leading people astray? Which, granted, are fair questions to ask. (And there are biblical answers. More on that in a minute.)

The first problem I had was the focus on women bloggers in particular. Warren admits that, historically, the institutional church has marginalized women, forcing them to step into the cyber sphere in order to have a voice. She also suggests that the church has done a poor job of giving women theological training with real teeth–choosing instead to entertain us with “funny stories, relatable prose, or charming turns of phrase.” All stuff I heartily agree with. But… Continue reading

Who’s in Charge of Monks Nailing Theses to Church Doors?

* A parody of this article in Christianity Today, inspired by a tweet from Thomas Horrocks (@thomaslhorrocks).

Luther95thesesThe rise of church doors in the early 1500s has yielded the genre of the “church reformer.” From the comfort of their studies, these heretical monks can pen lengthy criticisms of Catholicism and affix them to church doors for any passing peasant to see. This advent of literacy, printing and architecture has created a crisis of authority that we haven’t hitherto seen before.

One of the most prominent examples of this crisis involves the popular Martin Luther, who last year announced his opposition to selling indulgences for the absolution of sin. He was cheered by some and denounced by others. The Pope has called for his writings to be burned. Aside from the debate about faith vs. works, broader questions have emerged: Where do scholars like Luther derive their authority to speak and teach? And who holds them accountable for their teaching? How can the average peasant know whom to trust?

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The Scars that Throb

buds2I was getting ready for work the other morning when I was struck by a sudden pang to see my father. Because of some terrible things he did, I cut him out of my life a couple of years ago. He hasn’t called in several months, and I was worried that something might be wrong. What if he’s dying? I thought.

And then I thought, if he were dying, would it change anything for me? I still have little capacity to tolerate any sort of drama. Talking to him wouldn’t close the rift that he created in my heart, wouldn’t bring back the years I lost feeling unsafe with him. And then I felt it: that old, all-too-familiar ache of having been robbed of a nourishing father/daughter relationship. Memories and milestones I should have had, but didn’t. And I had to pause and breathe and just let the wave of grief wash over me.

Overall, I’m happier and healthier these days, but I still have these moments when the scars throb, when I have to face the fact that I was hurt in significant, life-altering ways. I recently shared some of my story with a colleague, and he said, “I hope you continue to heal and are stronger for it.” I responded: “I will certainly be wiser and more compassionate, but never stronger.” I’m learning to walk with an emotional limp.

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