How Can We Move Beyond Hatred?

How Can We Move Beyond Hatred?

I like to think of things in terms of: “What kind of world will Noah inherit one day?” As a parent, that seems to be an important way of thinking about our world and my contributions to it. One day, as hard as it may be to realize, I won’t be there to protect Noah, care for him, and make sure that he is growing into the person God has called him to be.

Noah is 6. I’m anxious for the world that he will not only inherit, but that he is living in today.

Since arriving in the world in 2013, Noah has witnessed more mass shootings than I care to admit. The other day, I took a look at how many mass shootings have occurred since his birth. I took advantage of research that was readily available that look at. Essentially, did a shooting event have multiple victims and receive media coverage? Since Noah was born, there have been 88 mass shootings, which killed 564 people and injured 1,1,45 people. Taken all together, the death toll is as if everyone in the town of Matewan was shot and killed since 2013.

That is too much.

It is hard to get a clear definition of what counts as a mass shooting. Different organizations use various standards to determine what mass shootings are or are not. A 2015 report from the Congressional Research Service suggests defining mass murders on whether four people were killed during the attack. Others, such as the organization Gun Violence Archives, defines a mass shooting as any event in which four people were shot, not including the alleged shooter. By the Gun Violence Archives count, there have been 255 mass shootings in 2019.

No matter how you define a mass shooting, it is clear we have a problem, and it is only getting worse. Continue reading “How Can We Move Beyond Hatred?”

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The Story of Exodus: Love God … Love Others

Ten words. Ten statements. Ten Commandments.

No study of the Book of Exodus would be complete without taking a look at these hallmark statements, given to the people of Israel by God at Mount Sinai. These words are familiar to us. We have hung illustrations of these words on our walls. We have established much of our understanding of law and justice around these words. We have watched Charlton Heston receive these words in “The Ten Commandments.”

As familiar as we are with these words, we often wonder what they mean for us today. The commands set up questions about their application for our lives and how we should interact with them. Are they words that we are to follow? Are they marks that define our lives? Or are they words that have no bearing on life today? What are we to do with these Ten Commandments? Continue reading “The Story of Exodus: Love God … Love Others”

Enough: Cultural War is Tearing the Church Apart

One of my favorite songs we often sing at church is “They’ll Know We are Christians By Our Love.” It was written by Peter Scholtes and describes the church’s mission to share the love of Jesus Christ.

This verse of the song is quite powerful.

We will walk with each other, We will walk hand in hand,

We will walk with each other, We will walk hand in hand,

And together we’ll spread the news that God is in the land.

And they’ll know we are Christians by our love,

Yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love.

What saddens is me is how often we do not live out these words. Often what we share with the world is the message that we will only walk with each other as long as we share beliefs, practices, and understandings of faith, and that we will not walk with those who disagree with us. Continue reading “Enough: Cultural War is Tearing the Church Apart”