We have an issue in this country. Every time there is a mass shooting it comes up again and again. The same arguments happen everywhere on Social Media to news reports. There are a ton of people on both sides of the gun issue. People demand more gun regulations and then others saying gun control really wouldn’t work.
I am not a gun owner. I am not a member of the NRA. I do not have any plans to own a gun or ever carry a gun. I don’t see the reason and never feel the need. As I listen and read about tragedy at Umpqua Community College I have started to get angry. I echo President Obama’s tone has he addressed the country…again…to offer prayers and support to the people affected by this tragedy.
I have pondered, wrote, deleted and prayed some more. No matter how I talk about guns in America people are going to get upset because it is something so close to so many’s heart. This is when I realized what guns are to our society. They are idols.
In Jesus’ sermon on the Mount he gets to the heart of issues quickly. In Matthew’s 5th chapter Jesus takes the law and goes to the heart of it. Murder = anger in people’s hearts. Adultery = lust in people’s heart. Revenge = turn the other cheek. Matthew 5 is one of the hardest pieces of scripture because demonstrates how deep sin goes into our hearts. I am doomed to hell if looking at another women with lust is equal to adultery or anger is the same as murder. I feel that way because Jesus knows the human condition and then offers a way out…himself.
If we peel back all the arguments against gun control in the chew center is a golden idol. Idolatry is the worship of something or someone as a god. Guns are an idol in America. When we hold them we feel powerful. They are a way of persuading anyone to do anything. They are the way we feel safe and secure. People will act different, treat others different, and be different. A gun turns someone into a god and is worshiped because of that. They turn us away from putting our full trust in God…they are an idol.
We have many idols in the US. The NFL, wealth, land, our bootstraps, and without a doubt guns. If we were honest with ourselves and realized that as Christians guns are an idol in our lives…would we approach it differently? Do we even admit they are idols in our lives? Are guns so golden we can’t even see how much we worship them?
My prayer is something changes because something needs to change not later but right now. I am tired of lifting up colleges, churches, schools, movie theaters, and communities in prayer on Sunday morning because people thought the best way to deal with life’s problems was to bow down the idol of guns instead of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Rev. Jim Parsons is pastor of Indian Trail United Methodist Church in Indian Trail, NC. He blogs at Adventures in Revland.