Orlando Shooting

A few weeks ago, I reviewed the book How Would Jesus Vote?: Do Your Political Views Really Align With The Bible?

One of the chapters he covers in the book relates to gun control. I think this is an important issue that many Christians don’t adequately consider. Many people hold the second amendment (well, parts of it) sacrosanct, almost to level (or often above) that of the Bible itself. We really need to consider how far we want to take this. Even now after over 100 people were shot, barely six months after 14 people were shot, and of course not too long since 20 first graders were shot, among other shootings, we can still barely even debate the value of semi-automatic weapons.

I’ve seen numerous politicians and talk-radio personalities say that just because someone is on a terrorist watch list, is being investigated by the FBI, or is on a no-fly list, does not mean that person should have their right to high-powered, high-capacity firearms curtailed, even a little bit. This is terrifying to me. In about 10 minutes one man over the weekend was able to kill 50 people and shoot another 50 or so more. How can we be alright with this? About three and a half years ago 20 first graders were killed plus six adults. Let me repeat that, 20 first graders. Children in first grade. Gun laws have only gotten looser since then.

Obviously, the Bible say nothing about guns. Ask yourself, though, if you reading of the Bible, if your understanding of Jesus and his teachings, really mean you are will to live with the tragedies. We will accept this as a way of life? As a nation we are will to sit through the news every six months or so and watch another story about another mass shooting? Are we really willing to continue to live with 20 dead first graders, or 100 shot, 50 dead in one night, just so people like this guy have the right to do whatever it was he had originally planned to do here?:

On Daughters

An odd thing happens when you tell people you are having a girl. When I would tell people that my wife is pregnant, naturally one of the first questions is, ‘boy or girl?’ I don’t remember exactly, but somewhere between 1/3 and as much as half of the responses after my answer (a girl) were something along the lines of, ‘how are you doing?’ or ‘are you okay with that?’ Sometimes it was worded more subtly, and I didn’t quit understand what they were referring  to. Was I happy with a kid? Absolutely, we’d been married for six years and had been trying for months to get pregnant.

Being asked this over and over, and often much more bluntly, I finally realized what the major issue was that people were so concerned with: how disappointment was I, a man, with have a daughter. More often than not, it was women who asked me, especially older ones, who would make a sad and concerned face while asking. It makes me sad to think of how they must have felt growing up.

To be fair, if I could have had my perfect situation, I’d have a son first then a daughter. Partly because I don’t understand babies/children or women, but I do understand boys, so I felt the transition would help prepare me as a parent. But then there is also some idealistic about have the other son helping to protect and look out for their little sister.

Either way, one of each was generally the ‘plan’ as much as random occurrences can be planned. It just seems so anachronistic to be disappointed with a daughter.  I won’t be burdened with her until I can marry her off. I am not part of the titled gentry, where I risk losing my land rights for future heirs if I don’t have a Sir Monday Morning Theologian the Second the carry on my name.

It is also just sad thinking how common this feeling must be (or hopefully, must have been) that so many people felt the need to express sympathy for me. I can’t imagine how some little girls must have felt and how that impacted them later on in life.

A good friend of mine and his wife were also pregnant in some overlapping time. He was having a boy. I was at talking with people after service one Sunday, and the group included the wife and an older couple, who, upon finding out that they were expecting a son said, “He must be excited.” She noted that many people ask her some form of that question. When I asked him about it, he confirmed that he quite often received a congratulatory type response from people, as if he had no interest in a daughter. It truly is a sad state for this to be such a common thing in our society today.

It sounds cliche, but when it happens, it is actually true: you really do not care what comes up on the ultrasound, as long as it is healthy. Even if you have some lingering sadness/disappointment/whatever else there is, it should dissipate quickly after holder her and looking at her little potato face. It certainly should be gone by the time she can smile at you.  Look, you really need to talk to Jesus and spend some time reflecting, if, when you go pick her up from day care, and she comes running to you, smiling, with her hands out, and you still care what’s under her diaper.

Remember those in Prison

I was watching the replay of John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight about prisons and I started getting angry. Obviously, the stories he shows would make anyone angry and, well, sad, embarrassed, etc., but it made me angry thing about the general response from Christians. First of all, I never remember hearing about visitation of prisoners growing up. But worst of all, in the same was we don’t like the camel through the needle, we like to down play our commands to visit those in prison. I have heard it argued that these verses refer to something different. In the Ancient Near East, it was mostly debtors in prison and the only way they could get food would be if family or friends delivered it to them. Now, that could quite possibly be true (though there are many people in jail because they cannot otherwise pay their fines) but does it really matter? Aren’t we using that as an excuse to ignore? As Oliver rightly points out, it is easy to not care because these people are quite literally criminals. If you were a Christian Dictator, is this how you would have prisons?

Christians and Mental Health

Mental.Physical Illness

 

I just listened to a great podcast from the Whitehorse Inn at the gym and it reminded of this comic. This is from a secular perspective, but unfortunately, I think Christians are even worse. Go listen to the podcast, there is not much more I can say that she doesn’t, but I’ll hit a few points. She mentions most Christian think of mental illness as schizophrenia or other more dramatic illness that are actually quite rare (about 6%). She says that 26.2% of Christian have a mental illness, mostly anxiety based (general anxiety, OCD, etc.). Autism spectrum and ADHD are also discussed. Interestingly, when discussing anxiety, she left out my affliction, social anxiety.

They go on to discuss the failure of the church to properly address this issues as well as what churches and Christian communities can do to help and support people who are suffering from issues. I want to talk a little about the former as it is something I have experienced myself. Actually, just listen to podcast, there really isn’t much I can add to it. They get in how the church views it as a lack of faith or that as Christians we just shouldn’t be depressed. They refer to this as prosperity gospel light, have faith and think positive and you’ll be alright. I prefer the Smileyface Christianity, where we are all just a bunch of happy people walking around smiling like idiots and if we truly believe, we should feel no sadness. She makes a great point and lack of knowledge in the theology of suffering.  It really is a good listen, go now, there are even other resources and documents on that page.