In the wake of last weekend's mass-shootings in El Paso, TX and Dayton, OH, I am of the opinion that the commentaries and responses from faith-leaders are lacking in moral clarity and spiritual substance. For instance, many have called for an increased emphasis on mental health, but the mental health appeal merely sanitizes the problem and reduces it to simplicity. The problems of mass murders and spree killings are too complex to be reduced to a diagnosis and a pill.
As a matter of faith, churches have a prima facie duty to look evil in the eyes and call it for what it is...evil. El Paso and Dayton are acts of unmitigated evil and should be condemned as such. Meaninglessness without a conscience rebels in desperation against society; it sees itself as the victim of society's successes and progress and lashes out in antipathy and hostility. The faith community must respond out of a sense of crisis and biblically inspired vision by "re-creating" meaning and meaningfulness individually, socially, nationally, and institutionally, through a renewed commitment to righteousness, which is the best and most fundamental solution to unconscionable evil. Equally, faith-leaders must be resilient in reclaiming the efficacy of biblical authority by proclaiming God as the Great I Am who speaks life over death and peace over human conflict and suffering.
Genesis 6:5–8, “The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. So the Lord said, ‘I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.’ But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.”
My main point or question is this: when will we understand that this problem is way bigger than politics?...it is supernatural and thus requires a supernatural response spearheaded by faith leaders and the entire faith community. Evil is in the hearts and minds of humanity, and heart and mind, expressed through will and reason, can only be "transformed by the “renewing of your mind" (Romans 12:2). Politics will never, ever, ever have an answer to this magnitude of wickedness because as evil has metastasized and evolved over the centuries, politics as an institution enables evil by its lust for power and its relentless appetite to foment division, despair, alienation, moral compromise, and moral crisis with reckless disregard. From Old Testament evil, through the Dark Ages, resurfacing as the African Slave Trade, Jim Crow Laws, and the Black Codes, again through human trafficking, again through serial murderers, terrorism (from the IRA to Isis), to church burnings, church killings, and today’s mass killings, evil, in all its permutations throughout history, remains alive and deeply intertwined in political life globally. This is the reality of evil and politics, and until the people of faith respond biblically, evil will continue to run its course and feed off human ignorance and arrogance with relentless destruction. Wake up church, "we wrestle not against flesh and blood".
Ephesians 6:12-18 King James Version (KJV)
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints[.]
The man whom God has taken to Himself, sentenced and awakened to a new life, this is Jesus Christ. In Him it is all mankind. It is ourselves. Only the form
of Jesus Christ confronts the world and defeats it. And it is from this form alone that there comes the formation of a new world, a world which is reconciled with God. - Bonhoeffer, Ethics