Posted by: chlost | March 31, 2013

You just can’t take me anywhere and expect my mind not to wander……

So, it’s Easter.

Today I took my mom to an Easter church service. I knew that she would enjoy it. My brother’s Lutheran church is about an hour’s drive from our house. So Merle and I got up there with her by 945 am. Quite an accomplishment for a Sunday morning around here.

I am not at all interested in church of any kind. Lost my religion, if you know what I mean. I found myself enjoying the music, though. Lutherans don’t sing loudly or enthusiastically, but they still sing the same music I remember as a child.

The people watching was great. I enjoyed  seeing the young families. All white, of course-we were in a small town Lutheran church. Mostly mid-to late 30’s, all clean-cut and well dressed. Everyone wore bright spring colors. The place was packed.

As I sat there in that church in rural midwestern America, I realized that almost all self-described religious people were also likely to be NRA supporters in that area. I wondered how many people in that congregation were carrying guns. Conceal and carry is a big deal around here. Many pastors carry weapons in their churches. A good friend tells me that his pastor does so. My friend knows his pastor quite well. This friend is a former cop, has a conceal and carry license himself, and is supportive of his pastor having ia gun in his church.

I don’t get it.

As I sat on that (very uncomfortable) wooden pew this morning, I remembered the little bracelet I recently saw on the wrist of one of my clients. You know the one. It reads, in a very self-satisfied way,  “What would Jesus do?”

So, what would he do? Would Jesus carry a gun in church?

In every picture of Jesus, he is wearing a pretty loose-fitting long white robe. I suppose it would be easy enough to conceal a hand gun under all of that fabric. You think you know someone pretty well after you study their life. I wasn’t totally attentive through all of those Sunday School and Catechism classes, so I may have missed something. But carrying a gun-or any weapon- just doesn’t seem to go along with the guy they described as the “Prince of Peace”. From what I recall Jesus was not a fan of the established church, so I don’t know if he ever actually stepped foot in a church building. He threw out the money changers, but my understanding is that those guys set up shop outside the building. So he didn’t have to go inside to kick them out. Perhaps the world was his church. The world was a pretty dangerous place back in the day, but I still can’t picture the Jesus I learned about with a handgun.

In taking my rambling thoughts a bit further, I wondered if Jesus would ever shoot another person. Ever.

The Old Testament talked described the wrath of God. Even as a kid it made sense to me that God had the power to take out a bunch of people. His prerogative. He made ’em. He can smite ’em. No reason needed.

But the New Testament talked about Love, The Love of God. I remember stories about prostitutes turned from a bad life to good, people having a chance at redemption, even if they were bad all of the way to the end of their lives. But I do not remember Jesus being the one to take their life. He gave life. Rose some Lazarus guy from the dead, as I recall. Pretty impressive.

If Jesus were alive today, would he shoot the bad guys?

Would he shoot someone in self-defense?

Would Jesus shoot someone to protect a child?

Can’t picture it happening. Not in any situation. This is the guy who supposedly willingly sacrificed his own life for everyone else. Took the option of death to bring the promise of everlasting life to all of the schmucks like us who probably would never even appreciate what he was doing. How could that kind of guy shoot someone else to save himself?

Even in the situation of protecting a child…..I have a hard time seeing this guy (who obviously loved little children) killing someone else to save a child. I have no doubt he would have put himself in the way of the bullet to save the child-again sacrificing his own life to save another.  But killing that other person? Again, I am no expert. But it just doesn’t fit his life story-as it was taught to me.

So why does it seem that right-wing Christianity and the NRA just seem to go hand in hand in so many areas of this country? How and when did carrying a gun-whether for hunting, self-protection or murder-become so intertwined with God?

I wish I knew.

I no longer consider myself a Christian. For many years now, I have been an unbeliever. I don’t claim to understand any of this.

Near the end of the service,I was rattled back to the present as the congregation was asked to “pass the peace”. Everyone shook hands and greeted friends and strangers seated nearby

And there it is. That is the answer.

The Jesus I learned about would pass the peace, not the ammunition. He would not carry a gun in a church. Would not use a gun to protect himself. And you wouldn’t find  a membership card for the NRA left behind in those robes of his.

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The weight update…..no change. Not great, but not bad.

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Responses

  1. Well said! I couldn’t agree more!

  2. Like you, I spent my childhood attending church. Also like you, I moved away from the organization as an adult. For long years I carefully hid or avoided conversation that would let those around me know how I felt. In the last 5 years I’ve “come out” (at least partway) and find it comforting every time I hear someone else state that they do not buy into organized religion. Thank you for sharing.

  3. I have to echo the same sentiments. I have not been to our Church in about 6 months, mainly for the same exact reasons you stated here. It’s sad, but most of the congregation of that Church that I attended for 8 years all have core social beliefs that go against my own personal beliefs. They are pro-gun, anti-gay, anti-immigration, anti-poor, and think that there needs to be MORE Church influence in our government at every level. I just could not handle hearing the same crap week after week, so I stopped attending.

  4. Hmmm. Maybe there are a lot more of us who think this way. I am amazed at how much god and Jesus change to match the ideas of those who profess to believe in them.

  5. I have to agree – Jesus and pacifism seem a better fit to me. Of course, I’m not a Christian or even a theist.

  6. I love this post and your very-smart musings. Now I’m going to think about Jesus and his robes and Conceal and Carry laws all day.

  7. I like how your mind wanders. I would have to agree that I don’t think Jesus would pack heat, or shoot anyone for any reason. I am a Christian, however, I’m not a fan of organized religion, or rather, the man-made rules that have been developed.


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