Wilderness is a barren wasteland where there isn’t much shelter. It’s easy to get lost in the wilderness. It’s easy to wander for miles and miles.
And in so many ways, this seems like a good description of what our political landscape is right now – a wilderness. We are wandering, lost. We are lost and have no clue what to do regarding mass shootings. We offer phrases and sayings of what should be done – “pass another law” or “arm more people.” Yet, those phrases have to be turned into something practical. And when that happens, it gets really complicated because of everything these ideas impact.
We are wandering as a nation. Not sure what we stand for or what we want.
And we refuse to look at the non-material aspects that have an impact on these type of situations – that our culture finds violence, death, and destruction acceptable, and even something glorious. Yet how do we match that up with a desire to stop mass shootings? Dare I say that these shootings are just another symptom of a large mental illness – the mental illness of our culture that values violence, death, and destruction. Yes, a mental illness that we willingly participate in.
I see memes about other countries that have banned this weapon or that weapon and how their violent crime rates dropped significantly. I’m glad for them. And usually in these memes we hear just a sentence or two about how the culture no longer accepted violence as a reasonable option. The sentence usually just gets dropped in as something insignificant.
Except, that is the most important part of any of the solutions presented. If the culture no longer accepts violence as a way to deal with situations, then that will drive decisions.
But American culture hasn’t adopted this mode of thinking. It used to. But it now accepts violence as a way to handle problems. We are bombarded with this message in many ways every day. The culture proclaims a gospel of violence to us – demanding that we worship at the feet of the god of violence, that we make offerings, and that we offer sacrifices to this god.
We see it in our entertainment, in our food, politics, work, pornography, drugs, human trafficking, and more.
This gospel is proclaimed to us. But it is a false gospel. It is a gospel that ends in death.
Thankfully, it is not the only gospel. There is another Gospel that proclaims Good News in spite of this false gospel narrative. A Gospel that identifies death and violence for what they are and says that death and violence do not have the final say. A Gospel that proclaims boldly that a different way of living and being is unfolding – a transformed way. A Gospel that says that after death there is resurrected life.
This is the Gospel that I proclaim and hold dearly. It gives life. It gives hope. It drives us out from our places of comfort into a world of fear and anger and offers something the false gospels can’t. It offers a future. And a present that are much better than anything this culture or world could ever offer.