Sunday, September 19, 2010
Jesus and Gun Control
Most of the board members were angry, No, that isn’t correct. They were livid. Apoplectic. Spewing forth fire and brimstone. One of those members usually carried a small Bible in one pocket and the U.S. Constitution in the other, and he did that day. He whipped out his Constitution and read the Second Amendment to all of us. And then stared the congressman down. He was the most overt, but most of the board was right there with him.
Except for two members. One, a lawyer, said he often went to sleep at night hearing gunfire in the neighborhood to the north of his, and something needed to be done.
Then I said I was actually glad the congressman had voted the way he did, because my then 11-year-old son had been in downtown area of our little St. Louis suburb, and directly across the street from a murder of an antique store owner. He had been riding his bike with friends, and he missed the murder by all of two minutes. (And then the killers had fled the scene and ran two blocks to our large city park, which is exactly where my son and his friends had gone on their bikes.)
If looks could have killed, I would have been a dead person. The woman sitting on my left deliberately moved her chair several inches away, as if to avoid contamination. The lawyer who had spoken before me, sitting on my right, smiled and said, “Good thing no one’s packing today or we’d be dead men.”
“Don’t be so sure,” commented one of the people sitting with us. That was a joke. I hope.
That was the day I learned that Jesus supported the Second Amendment and probably packed an AK-47.
The board I was on was not so much a Christian board as it was an extremely conservative board. But politics and faith were conflated.
Michael Spencer, in Mere Churchianity: Finding Your Way Back to Jesus-Shaped Spirituality, has a drum roll of all the ways we “culturize” Jesus – to fit our politics (right or left), our lifestyles, our buying habits, our stand on education, and even our religious views , what we believe about worship and church success, and theologies. We bend him to our will, almost as if we start with what we want anyway and make Jesus conform to it.
So what do we do? Where do we look to find the real Jesus?
Here’s what Spencer says in Chapter 6, “Jesus or Vinegar:”
“To understand Jesus and the god who comes to us in Jesus, we have to come to terms with the truth that Jesus is absolutely singular and unique. No matter how much research we might do, we can’t define him. He is remarkably exclusive compared to the phony versions of Jesus running loose in our culture.”
(Nancy Rosback at Bend the Page has been leading us in a discussion of Mere Churchianity. Check her place for the various links.)