…a violent question…

In the context of responding to the tragic shooting in Connecticut in December,  Ravi Zacharias dealt briefly with the culture of violence that we live in. He specifically directed his thought toward young males in our culture. I offer this short excerpt tonight as a quick glimpse into an issue that I’ve been wrestling with for quite some time now. The issue of violence, and particularly the celebration of it and sense of inevitability that comes when speaking of violence doesn’t settle in my soul with any kind of peace. But to what extent do I denounce it? Where is the line between good sense and pacifism? What would Christ Himself say about the culture of guns and war that we live in here in America?

I don’t claim answers at this point, but I am searching and praying and pondering much. I feel like this issue is bigger than this moment for me, and for the church. I fear that where we “come down” on this, and related issues, will give the world a glimpse of who we are more apt to follow – Jesus or comfort and temporal security. That being said, I can not simply step over the line to a full position of opposition toward both national and self defense.

To keep me from any more circular thoughts I offer this short piece from Zacharias:

There is one more thing. It is so obvious but is seldom ever addressed. All these recent mass murders have been done by men. Many of them young men, yes, even mere boys.  Jonesboro, Columbine, Virginia Tech, now Newtown. Is there something within our culture that doesn’t know how to raise strength with dignity and respect? Is this how boys are meant to be? From bloodletting in hockey games while thousands cheer to savagery in school shootings while thousands weep, we must ask ourselves what has gone wrong with us men? Where are the role models in the home? Is knocking somebody down the only test left for strength? Is there no demonstration now of kindness, gentleness, courtesy, and respect for our fellow human beings? One young man on death row in Angola Prison told me that he started his carnage as a teenager. Now in his thirties with the end of the road in sight, he reached his hand out to me and asked me to pray with him. Life was lost at the altar of power and strength.

– Ravi Zacharias

If you have an opinion I’m open to hearing it, if not, I understand. The journey continues for many of us, and the journey is just as much a part of this as the end.

Blessings my friends.

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2 comments

  1. Often, they find that these boys that are involved in these violent crimes have heavily been in to violent video games. The hours and hours spent diving in to an alternate reality is hard for some, who already are mentally unstable, to snap out of when it comes to real life. I’ve not researched it, and you can only believe so much of what the media gives you, but a common denominator seems to be mental illness and isolation by way of gaming. And you can’t blame parents all the time. We grew up with working parents (mom and dad) and our parents grew up with overworked dads and stay at home moms and we all turned out fine. I blame psychologists and the “its ok, just let it all out, its not ok for that to happen to you in life” motto they always shove down kids throat instead of the “suck it up, its life, grow from it and you’ll be stronger next time” motto that we all had. 🙂 The fact is, life is a gift and life is what you make it. I personally will always defend my life and my families life, with gun in hand (if necessary), because God gave me this life and my kids and it’s my responsibility to take care of it!

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    • I’ve heard, and agree, about the video game connection. I think that there has to be a very intentional approach to anything as consuming as video games (as had to be done in all phases of history with the current media delivery systems – stories, books, television, movies, etc…)

      I guess what struck me about Zacharias’ comments were specifically his reference to sports in our culture that are, by nature, violent. I understand the appeal, I like and watch sports that some would consider violent, but it made me pause and think about how they affect the future that my kids will be living in. I watched football and boxing growing up, but it was once a week at best, and to be honest I wasn’t saturated with the sheer tonnage of aggression that we all are surrounded by now.

      I had an entire week to realize that games were games and life isn’t just a glorified game. But now kids, and adults, have one commercial break between UFC Knockouts and CSI: Vegas, Miami, NY, Angola, Beijing, Piedmont etc… to process what we’ve seen. At some point, I think, the torrent of messages antithetical to “real life” are too strong for many (most) and “real life” becomes what we’ve been flooded with. This redefinition of life is why a “violent” show in the 1980’s (The A-Team, Magnum P.I.) today comes across like a segment from Barney.

      I agree that families need to be defended, but the message being presented in our culture is not one of defense but offense. Plus, my real issue with all of this is the approach of Jesus. I have tried my best and I still cannot imagine Him keep a .50 caliber rifle in His closet in Bethlehem. His entire approach to usurping the forces of evil was loving sacrifice. I have to wonder if we are defending our families (which some are legitimately) or our pride. Does amassing a personal arsenal in our homes indicate that we are concerned more with protection or domination?

      It’s a curse of mine but I promise I’m not trying to come across argumentative 🙂 . I just have a lot of questions about a lot of things that seem to have been blindly accepted. And not just accepted by our culture, but by the church…the “Jesus people”.

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