Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Guns kill people

We have all heard the meaningless slogan chanted “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” But maybe guns can be partly to blame for the horrific violence that is done in our modern world. The most recent national case of gun violence is the unfortunate death of Trayvon Martin by captain of the neighborhood watch Mr. Zimmerman.

You have seen the hoodie marches and the loud outcry of injustice that a 17 year old boy was killed by a man who still walks free. The media has portrayed Mr. Zimmerman with a photo in prison clothes, and Trayvon as a young sweet smiling boy. However, recently people have been posting pictures of Mr. Zimmerman in professional clothes with a big grin, and Trayvon in baggy pants with no shirt, throwing up what seems to be gang sings. Mr. Zimmerman’s criminal past has been well documented, and now people are advertising Trayvon’s drug use, and suspension of school. Essentially, what we are attempting to do is establish blame.

What is most telling is that blame seems to correspond to ones’ race. Whether we want to admit it or not, this is a race issue. However, we will probably never truly know exactly what happened. God alone can testify and we can only hypothesize.

But perhaps we are overlooking the real problem. Perhaps the reason this all happened is due to our lax ideas concerning guns. Yes, I know our Second Amendment grants us rights to Bear Arms, but that does not mean it’s good for our society.

If we take the same situation and eliminate the gun I can come as close to as a guarantee as possible that Trayvon would still be alive today. If Mr. Zimmerman approached Trayvon without a gun, there may have been harsh words, there may have been pushing or shoving, there may even be fists thrown, but Trayvon would still be alive.

Why are we so insistent on allowing violent weapons to be present in intense situations? We think we need guns to protect ourselves, yet we see too many children killed by these very things that are designed to “protect” ourselves.

Jesus says those who live by the sword will die by the sword. You can believe that if guns were around when Jesus was, the same would apply. Jesus had every right to defend himself, he had every right to pull out an armed weapon according to his 2nd Amendment right, he had every right to pull the trigger on his enemies, but he didn’t. Jesus instead laid down his life, picked up his cross and died, and then Jesus tells us to do the same thing. We worry about our rights far too much, when the Son of God thought nothing of his. When we use violence to stop violence, violence wins. Peace cannot come through violence, only through self-denying love.

So my conclusion is that people kill people, but a lot less people would be killed if guns did not exist and Jesus did in our hearts.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Christianity should be illegal.

Christianity should be illegal. Now I first must clear the air. I consider myself a Christian. I believe that Jesus was the Christ, the messiah, the son of God, who died on a cross, was buried; three days later rose from the dead for the forgiveness of sins, and ascended into heaven. The more I think about what I believe and what this countries values and goals are, the more I am convinced that my faith should be illegal.

First, our country believes that to live in the United States and enjoy the equality and benefits you must gain legal citizenship. Christians believes foreigners have inherited rights:

The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt. I am the LORD your God. - Leviticus 19:34

Americans believe acquiring wealth through hard work is an admirable trait provided by a capitalistic market. We seek out big lands and big homes and use those as measurements of accomplishment. Christians believe acquiring mass amounts of wealth, land, and possessions are not only troublesome, but a great act of injustice.

Woe to you who add house to house and join field to field till no space is left and you live alone in the land. – Isaiah 5:8

The ideals of the United States state that those who work hard deserve more than those who don’t. Christians believe life is all a gift of grace and equal sharing is the desired result.

Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you. – Matthew 20:14

Americans believe you have the right to carry a gun and use it when you feel threatened. Christians believe that we should turn the other cheek and lay down our own life, not others.

But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. – Matthew 5:39

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. – 1 John 3:16

American citizens inherently believe in “eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth.” Christians are called not only to forgive, but to love their enemies, and to hold nothing against each other.

But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you – Matthew 5:44

Americans believe in the sacred act of owning land and possessions, Christians believe that everything belongs to God. We believe every 50 years possession should be restored to original owners (Leviticus 25 Year of Jubilee). We believe possessions are to be shared not possessed (Acts 4:32-37).

All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. – Acts 4:32

But store up; for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieve do not break in and steal. - Matthew 6:20.

Americans believe peace comes through battles fought and wars waged and Christians believe it comes through a cross.

and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. – Colossians 1:20

Finally we uphold the value life and self preservation, but Christians believe in the value, beauty, and love in laying down their lives.

If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and takes up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lost it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? – Mark 8:34-36

The grace and truth of Jesus Christ, many times stands in direct opposition to the values and beliefs of our country. I find it odd when politicians try to emerge the teaching and resurrection of Jesus to the law of the land. If the United States wishes to pursue their values of capitalism, violent defense (which is usually offense) exploitation, and unequal monetary distribution than the best thing this country can do is outlaw Christianity. It is Christ who has supreme authority (Colossians 1) therefore the United States should feel threatened.

I am bold enough (or perhaps naive enough) to say with Peter that I will follow Christ to jail, to persecution, and even to death.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

freedom comes from a cross, not a flag

Freedom is a desirable state of being free or at liberty as opposed to confinement or restraint. Freedom is the mantra of the United States. We pride ourselves in our revolutionary beginnings where we threw off the yoke of state religion, and taxation without representation. We boast of our constitutional liberties that guarantee our freedom to worship, our freedom to speak our mind, and our freedom to choose our leaders. While many conversations and debates are had about our present state of freedom and rights, few Americans would argue that they do not have the luxury of enjoying the unalienable right of freedom.

Freedom, however, does come with cost. We must sacrifice our sons and daughters to be sent to strange lands to kill and be killed for the protection of our freedom. We are taxed with representation, but our representatives are wealthy individuals who have gained their wealth by following the minimal safety and environmental guidelines and paying employees minimal wages. We are allowed to worship, as long as it is a private non-public place. Our televisions have the freedom to indoctrinate our children with sex, violence, drugs, and hate in the name of entertainment, but “God is love” is an offensive term striped from public discussion. We are free to make money, but companies do so by monopolizing markets, employing children overseas, filling politicians’ pockets, and undercutting any competition with whatever means possible. We have the freedom to be safe at the cost of making guns accessible even to children who shoot each other in schools. We have the freedom to eat what we want, at the risk of animal abuse and extinction; we have the freedom to wear what we want at the cost of sexualizing our daughters. We also have the freedom to education if you were born in a place that had good schools funded by rich land owners through property taxes. Our freedom is wrapped up in the “almighty buck.” We can do what we want, when we want, as long as someone is getting money for it. We cannot even die without having to pay a tax for the coffin, for the dirt, and for the inheritance left to our family. We celebrate freedom, but at what cost?

Is our freedom worth the lives of our families? Is our freedom worth the lives of those who die in our wars? Is our freedom worth being the largest arms dealer in the world, equipping our enemies, and children with deadly weapons? Are we even truly free?

We cannot buy our freedom through taxes, we cannot gain freedom through the promises of the most noble of politicians, and we cannot violently gain freedom through the bloody battlefields. To gain any freedom we must surrender, either to taxes, to leaders, or to ammunitions. This freedom is a lie, and we have all bought in to it.

Jesus came to directly oppose this kind of freedom that lets one gets rich off another who goes hungry. Jesus claims that true freedom does not come from submitting to taxes, military, or leaders, but freedom comes from submitting to our maker. The Bible is full of themes of freedom. We are not free by following the rules made by humanity. Every leader, every country, every institution that has promised freedom does so at the cost of enslaving us to something else. Jesus promises to set us free not to give us a heavy burden, but a light burden. Jesus sets us free not to make money or fame from us, but to make us his brothers and sisters. Jesus does not give us freedom without cost, but he lays down his life in the face of all the powers and principalities and defined the most permanent obstacle to freedom ever, death! He rose from the grave and defeated the greatest form of slavery and paved the way for eternal life.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery – Paul (a follower of Jesus).

The world looks to enslave us today. They want us to be enslaved to their values, their goals, and their dreams. Jesus releases us from this destructive way of life, transforms us to a new way of thinking, one that does not enslave, but one that liberates.