Newtown, Connecticut. Aurora, Colorado. Prostitution. Slavery. Poverty. Hunger. Murder. Jesus came to lay the foundation for a kingdom of heaven on earth that would change the world. It was built on love for your neighbor as well as your enemy. It was focused not on your own wants and desires, but those of others. With 2000 years of history now behind it, billions of dollars, and millions of followers the Good News of Jesus Christ doesn’t seem to have changed a whole lot of things in the world. So has Christianity failed?
This past week as the dust settled from the tragedy at Sandy Hook, politicians began their normal posturing over the issue. They will inevitably work to pass some sort of legislation banning gun sales and implementing searches of children’s backpacks. In 2011 a similar committee called Darrell Scott, the father of Rachel Scott who was killed in the Columbine High School shootings in 1999, and asked his opinion. The man has wrestled with how to respond, who to blame, and how to move on with someone taking weapons to school and ending the life of his teenage daughter. Who better to speak to gun control and responsibility. His response?
“I am here today to declare that Columbine was not just a tragedy — it was a spiritual event that should be forcing us to look at where the real blame lies. Much of the blame lies in this room… We have refused to honor God, and in so doing, we open the doors to hatred and violence… We do not need more restrictive laws. Eric and Dylan would not have been stopped by metal detectors. No amount of gun laws can stop someone who spends months planning this type of massacre. The real villain lies within our own hearts… Dare to move into the new millennium with a sacred disregard for legislation that violated your God-given right to communicate (prayer) with Him (God). To those of you who would point your finger at the NRA — I give to you a sincere challenge. Dare to examine your own heart before casting the first stone.”
In an article I shared earlier in the week titled Merry Atheist Nothingness, the author shared his view on how Atheism contributes nothing to the world. How it seeks to destroy and create chaos, even citing Atheist dictators like Stalin and Mao who slaughtered millions of people. But can you blame Atheism? Is the slowly creeping infiltration of “god-less” belief what is destroying society? Or is it the fact that Christianity is so passively allowing it? Or better yet, giving it reason by not living up to it’s own beliefs?
The epitome of Christianity’s failure can be seen in the Westboro Baptist Church picketing the funerals and vigils of the victims Sandy Hook Elementary. While the diverse faith community coming together to support the grieving families in Newtown far outnumber the disgusting response of the few picketers, the question remains in my mind how can a Christian church come to the point where they believe that is acceptable behavior and why do other believers allow them?
Christianity has done countless things to improve the world around it. Hospitals, orphanages, schools. Yet at the end of the day when a tragedy like this strikes we want to reach out and blame the moral failings of the system. God has been taken out of school. God has been taken out of the courthouse. God has been taken off TV. But God has NOT been taken out of our churches, youth groups, and homes. Those are the places where God must start and finish. It is not the responsibility of politicians to spread the good news. Jesus’ last statement was “Go to everyone sharing the good news and make them disciples.” It wasn’t, “Find a way to create an impersonal means by which people have my message dictated to them.”
Through the early stages of the church, Christianity was viciously persecuted. They couldn’t worship in public and were hunted down for slaughter. Yet, the message spread. The church grew. And the Kingdom of Heaven was planted on this earth. No one can sit back and say “It’s just too tough for Christians to share the word anymore”. There are thousands of martyrs who would tell us we don’t know anything about persecution. We complain about the prayer being removed from school while sipping latte’s in the cafe of our multi-million dollar church campus. So what if teachers don’t start the day with prayer. Did you start the day with prayer with your son or daughter before they left the house?
Christians haven’t pulled their kids out of public schools. All those students bringing guns to school aren’t Atheists killing other Atheists. Somewhere along the line the disciples of Christ haven’t lived a life that changes others lives. We must look to ourselves in times like these and where our own relationship stands with Jesus.
Am I living the life of a Christian?
Am I impacting lives with love and grace as Jesus would?
Am I growing daily in my personal relationship with Jesus?
We get so comfortable with our Christian existence we take our purpose as follower of Christ for granted. And when something goes wrong we don’t want to admit we’ve come up short. It had to be something else. Before Christianity starts pointing fingers and placing blame on Atheism or any other godlessness for the problems on the world, we need to take a good look at ourselves. Let he who is without blame throw the first stone.