This is not the way God wants us to live. It's just not. There is no way you can convince me it is. God wants for us to live in peace, to show compassion and love to others, and to be humble servants showing mercy to our fellow human beings. Some may say that's a bold assertion about the desires of God, but I believe it to the core of my being and it is borne out in scripture.
God does not want us to live in an environment where mass shootings happen -- and happen far too often. God does not want us to live in an environment where young kids are killed while playing on their front porches when gang violence comes into their neighborhoods. God does not want us to live in an environment where handguns in the home end up being used in domestic violence situations or in shooting accidents.
We will hear in the next few days many "facts" and opinions about the Navy Yard shooting that took place this week in DC. We will hear that "Guns don't kill people, people kill people." We will hear that we have enough gun regulations in our country and that they simply need to be enforced more fully. We will hear cries for patience and that the country is not ready for more gun regulations. We will also hear a huge outcry for Congress to make changes to our gun laws -- finally. We will hear many stories of heroism and loss. And we will hear the pain of a nation once again wounded by the flying bullets of another mass casualty event. We will hear pleas to do something so that we can stop them.
Despite all of these opinions, cries of pain, and listings of "facts," for me, the truth remains -- a person with access to guns, multiple guns, and possibly high-capacity firearms fired at others in an act of hate and without regard for the humans he was hurting. He was able to do that because he had access to guns. Whether he bought them legally or illegally -- he had access to guns that were created for doing maximum damage with minimum effort. He was able to do that because our country values the right to own any and as many guns one wants OVER the right to live safely in this country.
I do not believe this is the way God intends for us to live. God's vision for earth is a reign of justice and peace. God's desire for humanity is to love and live in harmony. God's teachings through the Old Testament, the prophets, and through the teachings of Jesus tell us clearly what we are to do. In Micah 6:8, my "theology in a verse," says, "He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?" (NRSV) In John 13:34, we are given a new command to "Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another." (NIV)
This is God's wish -- that we love one another as God loved us -- as God loves us. This is God's command -- that we live together in justice and kindness. Maybe soon we will learn to truly love one another and learn to value life over weapons of destruction. I believe that would be living up to the wishes of God.
May peace reign in our world. And may love and justice prevail -- finally.