Gods, Guns and Gathering-Reflections on Social Medias View on Sandy Hook


Since Friday It has been very clear what has been on the mind of many people in the Social Media World.

 

In a sense, it shouldn’t surprise us. Something like this is so hard to grasp or comprehend what has happened. It seems inconceivable really. I’m still shaken by the pictures, the images, and the children that have been lost. We are a community. We process things differently.

 

This processing has certainly caused some different perspectives. It has caused some different emotions for many people. We have also discussed some different themes. I thought I would take the time to discuss three key themes that have come out during the discussion.

 

God- There has been many different perspectives on this. It really started when Mike Huckabee stated that he wasn’t surprised because we took God out of the class. And Bryan Fischer said that God didn’t protect the children because He was “kicked out”. 

 

It has then continued with some readings of inspirational, comfort and  wisdom to the families. I also have read  how the Christian should respond. And how the Christian looks at death,

 

First, I want to be careful how I say this.  But God never left. He nerve has left and according to the Bible, He never will. He is not diminished  by a formal prayer or commandments on a wall. Ironically, Jesus talked about having the commandments in our heart. It is also ironic that Jesus also talked about praying in secret and not be like those “babbling pagans”. You would think that Huckabee and Fischer would know better.

 

Saying this does not diminish the great loss and the great and deep questions of where Gods involvement is in this. It’s a fair question that we should encourage that search and let God answer in His time to them.

 

I also understand the sincere attempts of comfort that people are trying to give as well. In the heart of hearts, of course you want those to have a hope. However, this might not be the time for that. This would seem to be a time for sadness. A time to slowly walk through and allow the families to grieve through this time.

 

In regards to the Christians stories and Christian perspectives of death. I think we are human first, and Christian second. Anybody’s response is a naturals human response. Wailing. Crying. Weeping. Sorrow. It’s human to feel it. To Christianize this experience is very close to dehumanizing it. Perhaps is not about a religion telling how to respond, but being honest about your response. And God working in it.

 

I have also read some posts about praying for forgiveness. And encouraging forgiveness. Anyone who has been through a deep and traumatic hurt will know that the concept of forgiveness is a process. It may take years to get there. It may take years to process. I know this. If this was me and it was my child, my first response would nit be forgiveness. It would not be my second.

 

Guns- I have read so much about the studies of guns and mass shootings. Some of the “gun lobbyists” are making statements about where these happened and the legality of guns. The other side is pointing out trends in guns as well.

 

I find it somewhat interesting that the same people that are pointing to a lack of prayer on schools, are also encouraging more gun accessibility. It just very interesting that some Christians are taking this stand. Particularly when Jesus healed a soldier that His disciple attacked.

 

I do know people that own guns. I know that they are very respectful and responsible with them. I’m not one of them. I’d like to see some control on this. At the very least, we need to educate people on them. 

 

Two weeks ago, an NFL Player walked into his girlfriends house and killed her. He then went to his team facility and in front of his coach,general manager and a few others, killed himself. They found out that this player had owned 8 guns. Shortly after this, there were several NFL players that decided to turn in their guns. 

 

Perhaps the question isn’t about changing the lawn guns. Perhaps the question we should ask is why someone is motivated to own a gun. 

 

Mental Illness-Much has been made about this. There was a powerful letter about from Liza Long about her child Michael. What is admirable is her openness of what happened. What she discussed has opened a discussion about the issues surrounding mental illness. It is much needed. 

 

I was reading today that Nancy Lanza, Adam Lanza’s mother, went to parties and never talked about her struggles with her son. Perhaps out of fear of judgement. Or exclusion

 

I got to thinking how many times I was afraid to share something because of those reasons. And the amount of times that actually happened.

 

I then got to thinking the amount of times my friend posted how they were doing on Facebook or Twitter. And the amount of times I scrolled to the next status. Instead of messaging them or like the good old days, phoning them.

 

We go to parties and places to connect and not feel alone. But at times, we resist so much sharing that we end up being alone anyway.

 

 

We are not met to be alone. We are met to be  in community.  We are on these sites to connect in some way.

 

Perhaps these conversations about God, guns and mental illness can lead to that.

There are those moments that make you Stop.


There are those moments that make you Stop.

I’d like to tell you how my day started.

It was busy. This being the last day of class, it was a combination of tension, relief, joy and a little stress.

Some might say it was a Full Moon out. The energy felt different. it was one of those days where everything seemed a little topsy turvy. And, although it is very rare I feel that, this was one of those days.

But suddenly, perspective hit.

A town called Newtown Connecticut is 3, 927 km or 2, 440 miles from where I live in Calgary Alberta. It is a town that until today, I have never heard of.

But today, something horrific and unspeakable happened. A young man walked into an elementary school with 2 9mm handguns, and apparently from reports his brother’s identification. He opened fire leaving 18 children dead instantly, 2 children dying in hospital and 7 adults dead.

It just makes you Stop.

When I heard of this news, I searched my Social Media sites to wonder what was going on. About 5 hours ago, it seemed like a huge bunch of anger, shock, outrage. Admittedly I was a part of this, but politicing as well. From both sides and perspectives.

Generally, I eat lunch and go for a walk. I was taken back to my stressful day. I was then reminded that our day was ending early so we can celebrate Christmas. And then, many of us get to go home and hug their children and their loved ones tonight. Then this weekend, we will shop for Christmas gifts. We will want to get the best deal on the best Christmas gifts for our loved ones. We might fight someone for a parking spot. Or race ahead of someone in line. I’m not sure if it about us being selfish, or it just being a natural instinct of a stressful time.

Watching the news when I got home, it struck me how the news reporter on CNN was describing how fast this moment happened. It reminded how quick the moment seems to be that Christmas comes. And the time we take to prepare for that one moment in time to show how much we love someone.

Christmas isn’t the only moment we do this. There’s Valentine’s Day. Birthday’s. Anniversaries. Weddings. All of those days that come that we take that we intentionally show our love. But somehow in our rush to impress, maybe we miss the rest of those days to show it throughout the year. The moments we wished we said how we felt about someone. But we never do. And then the moment is gone.

in Social Media, on the news, there has been debate about God, guns, mental illness and whatever else we will continue to unpack going forward. These are important debates, but I’m not sure it’s the true solution.

In the midst of the rush, just Stop. Put your arm around someone. Remind those people that are close to you that you love them. Honour those who are the heroes in your life.

The time we have today is precious As you pray for those thousands of miles away, remember those who are close to you now.

Agree or Disagree- You have been hurt by a religious institution.


 

 I realize in some ways, I’m opening a can of worms by making this statement.

 

However, it seems that I have been engaged in some conversation with people that have been deeply hurt by the church. Some of that comes with expectations of what people think should happen at church. Or how people behave. 

 

Depending on the person some have completely left the church. But, some have stayed. I, myself went through a major hurt with the church. I have stayed within the church community. It was not an easy decision to do that. But, I realized that in my opinion, in spite of the flaws at the time with church, I still actually love the idea of church.

 

 I bring this topic up for two reasons. One, as part of the Christmas and the Advent season, church is important. Christmas Eve and Good Friday have generally been the highest attendance times of church. This would tell me that there is something significant about going to church. It also tells me that aspects of spirituality is important.

 

Two, there was a couple of blogs I read last month on this exact topic. These two people did not know each other.  I hope both of these are some encouragement or gives you some thought. The first one is from Connie Jakab who has posted here before.. http://culturerebel.com/blog/too-rebellious-for-the-church-my-story-of-struggle-with-the-institution/ 

 

The other one is from Alise Mccoy Wright who writes at Alise Write. This is her post.

http://alise-write.com/staying-in-church/

 

You will note that on both cases, these two stayed. I’m not saying that this s right for you. I’m also not trying to be the commercial for church. However, I think that there is a conversation that can be had between those who have been heavily involved with church and those who have distanced themselves. I do think that many churches are trying to make an effort to reach out more. However, there is still seems to be an area of mistrust there too.

 

The bottom line too me is this. It is still about community. We are not met to walk alone. One of the intention of churches is that very task.

 

Perhaps discussing these issues will help that.

Agree or Disagree: There is a War on Christmas


There are about 13 days before you and your family will gather around and celebrate Christmas. Presents will be unwrapped, smiles will be had at all the new gifts you have. You will likely eat a delicious meal with your favourite foods.

Currently, for many of us, we are off to malls and shops purchasing gifts for friends and family. You are listening to Christmas music. You have decorated your house. You have sent your kids to take pictures with Santa. You may have planned to visit family somewhere else. Or they are coming too you. You have been doing this for a long time.

Yet, for many there seems to be a war on this holiday.

Whether it be the saying Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas, or the fact that some use Xmas instead of Christmas there are some that are concerned. Some places have eliminated nativity scenes.

Everywhere I go, it seems to me that the idea of Christmas and the meaning of it sticks. Yes it’s personal. Some take it for family. Others reflect on the birth of Jesus by going to a service or a midnight mass. Others Christmas Carol or go to a light display. Or go to a traditional Christmas show, like Scrooge or Handel’s Messiah.

It seems to me from where I sit, that the Christmas Spirit is alive and well. I think the reason is because people are looking beyond what the media is telling them and making this a personal and family experience. In general, it is going beyond a “Christian” holiday and meaningful for everyone.

Unless I’m missing something, I think the rumours of the demise of Christmas are greatly exaggerated.

Agree or Disagree: You are pleased with your city Public Transit System.


In my fine city of Calgary Alberta, we have been in a long process of attempting to improve our Public Transit System. Our system compared to some others out there has been considered by many commuters as one of the worst.

This week Calgary Transit opened  the West leg of the Transit System. Unlike some cities, our C-Trian/LRT hasn’t covered the entire city. We have also had delays in service not only in winter where it is expected, but in the summer as well. Summer time, things should be generally running smoothly. But in the fine city if the #yyc, not always..

As much as we complain about our system, I’m sure if you live in a different city, you think some thoughts about your system. What works and how annoying it is when you miss or the bus is running late. You might remember the incident in Saskatoon with the Bus Driver swearing at a customer as an example.

So for added consideration, I thought I would add the top Transit Systems in Canada as well as around the USA. What is interesting is that a recent study in 2011 shows 12% of commuters in Canada actually use the Transit System in their city.

Here’s the USA http://www.shareable.net/blog/the-13-best-us-cities-for-public-transit.

From the feedback I read online, the general consensus in Canada was Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto.

What are your thoughts? Do you like yours?

Agree or Disagree: Science trumps Scripture.


One day last week, I was winding down my day with a good old stare at the TV and flip the remote control aimlessly.  The first thing I noticed was that there is lots of channels I actually don’t watch. One of them happens to be Channel 51 which according to my Tv is CTS. This happens to be a Christian Television Station.

 

But the topic they were discussing caught my attention. It’s a Talk Show Called It’ Your Call. The host presented a topic that asks Does Science trump Scripture?

 

The essence of the question seems to be this. If Scripture is what Christians are using as the Word of God, should not what the Bible says give a staring place to Gods handiwork?

 Here’s the article. http://www2.crossroads.ca/itsyourcall/discussions?id=603

In the discussion, the host pointed out scientists like Dr. Frances Collins is using Science to interpret the Scriptures. He also noted that the Bible has contributed to some scientific breakthroughs. Things like the earth being round not flat and the existence of dinosaurs.

 I love the Bible, but I have never read it for a pure scientific view. Furthermore, other the Luke who was a Doctor, there wasn’t a writer that had a scientific background. And Luke is writing a story about Jesus and the beginnings of the Christian Church. So although the Bible certainly has some things to say about the foundations of the Earth, I think we can agree there have been some advances since it was written. Furthermore, the Bible wasn’t written in a pure scientific form. For example Genesis. It discusses Creation, but it does not go into a detail, blow by blow. Things like Genesis 1: 7 which states God “made the and separated the water”. How that exactly happened is not discussed. 

 

Now, some might disagree. The simplicity of the Creation story is God created the earth, and all of the living beings in it. That is that. Bringing this into question, then brings to question the actual authority of the Bible for some. 

 

What are your thoughts? Does the Bible give credibility to Science? Or does Science make claims opposite to Scripture?  Or are the two different things?

Agree or Disagree: We understand the issues surrounding Domestic Violence


Tomorrow, December 6, is the National Day or Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

I  had a “conversation” with an individual over Twitter regarding an incident this weekend with an National Football League player murdering his girlfriend and then himself at the players facility.  The guy was mocking the incident. He actually went as far as to say he was glad the player died. When I challenged him on his view, he did have some defenders.

The biggest tragedy amongst the many in this situation is there is a three month old girl that has lost her mother and her father.

A while back, a comment was made that I need to open up the door to discuss prevention in some issues. I did take that comment to heart, as it was from someone I respect.

This article http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/85-224-x/2010000/aftertoc-aprestdm2-eng.htm is from Statistics Canada.  It sights percentages of reported cases of domestic violence. You will note some interesting things. This was one of them from the report.

Younger Canadians were more likely to report being a victim of spousal violence than were older Canadians. Those aged 25 to 34 years old were three times more likely than those aged 45 and older to state that they had been physically or sexually assaulted by their spouse.

 Also,

n 2009, victims of spousal violence were less likely to report the incident to police than in 2004. Just under one-quarter (22%) of spousal violence victims stated that the incident came to the attention of the police, down slightly from 2004 (28%).

So it seems over time, there becomes a sense of silence for those that are victims of violence. Be it age, or in years.

So although not a comfortable topic, how or are we able to have a discussion surrounding these issues? Also, do you think that domestic violence is preventable?