Thursday, April 4, 2013

Reply to Andrea Morisette Grazzini

This is my response to the following blog post.  It is copyrighted, so I cannot directly quote the whole piece like I wanted to, nor can I insert my responses into the post without permission.  I tried to post this reply on the blog, but, alas, the blogger didn't want my reply. 

Oh well, that is why I have a blog. 

Read this first to make some sense of what I wrote, or read what I wrote and then read the other blog and see why I wrote it.  Your choice, or you can "move on, these are not the droids you want".

Passion Play: Will ‘We the People’ be Ashamed or be Saviors?
By Andrea Morisette Grazzini

My reply to Andrea Morisette Grazzini's above referenced blog post

Interesting perspective equating the death of Jesus (which he knew he had to do to fulfill the law) and the murder of 20 children and 6 adults by a mad man.  I don’t know of ANY Christians who support the actions of the mad man as could be inferred by this essay.

I think it is important to realize that the reason the religious leaders of the day wanted Jesus gone is because they were afraid that their power base would be taken away if people continued following Jesus as a Rabbi.  They didn’t want to lose all that came with being the leaders.

It was the frightened leaders who whipped the crowd into a frenzy to free a known killer and insurrectionist, not the “citizens”.  Jesus had many, many followers and they were afraid of what the government would do if they spoke up to defend him.  The frightened religious leaders got “witnesses” (or experts) to testify that Jesus had said things he didn’t say, or to twist what he did say to fit THEIR agenda.

The religious leaders were also cowardly as they used the government to do their dirty work.  They had laws that would have allowed them to stone Jesus to death.  They chose instead to use the “greater power” to put Jesus to death (remembering that Jesus chose to die for the sins of the world as part of God’s plan for redemption).

I will admit I struggle with the picture of Jesus as a not violent activist.  That fits a particular religio-political agenda, but it isn’t totally square with Jesus asking his disciples to bring a sword with them to the Garden on the Mount of Olives.  Yes, the Jews and in particular the Pharisees wanted the Messiah to come and be a great military world leader.  That is from their incorrect interpretation of the Torah and prophesies regarding the Messiah.  Jesus didn’t come to rule with a iron sword, but with God’s message of love.

Think about where Jesus brought about changes.  It was in people’s hearts, minds and behaviors.  He didn’t legislate behavior.  That had been tried with just 10 laws/commandments, and people kept working to find ways around the those 10.  That is what the Pharisees were, is students and teachers of the Law.  The Pharisees were so “righteous” that they gave 10% of even their spices to the Temple so they could be known as following the law to the letter.  That didn’t make them right.

Jesus on the other hand said, here are two simple principles which will fulfill everything written in the Law and by the Prophets:  “Love God and Love your neighbor.”  That is it, that was all.  It is still true, if we Love God and Love our Neighbor we will not do bad things.  The murderer of those 26 people didn’t know that love, from anything I am aware of.  He certainly didn’t practice it in this instance if he did know it.  [Note:  The Greek word for love here is the sacrificial love, the unconditional love that Jesus showed by willingly giving his life on the cross to take our place, for our sins.]

I don’t think we have a theology difference in what we are saying.  I am just concerned that using theology to whip people into a frenzy is dangerous.  I could even draw a parallel between doing that and what the Pharisees did with Jesus.  Guns are not the problem.  The lack of the knowledge of God’s love is the problem.  The presence of HATE and lack of meaning is the problem.

Most of the people who have murdered others in these mass killings have ended the situation by killing themselves.  To me that means, they do not see any meaning in their own life and their own presence.  They also see no value in the life of others.  Their life has no meaning therefore, your life has no meaning.  This then often leads me into talking about the “crowd’s” view on abortion, which kills way more children annually than all of the mass murders with firearms.

Again, the problem is the heart, mind and soul.  It is the value that is placed on one’s own and other’s lives.  God loved/loves us so much he sent his one and only Son that none should perish but have everlasting life.  I don’t think that Dillon/Klebold, Holmes or Lanza knew this or understood it.  That is the real problem with America.

I could have stopped there and maybe I should have, but I believe you jumped the shark here: 
This modern day Calvary coming to life here in America, in the image of gun advocates who seek protection for their rights to own unregistered assault weapons above all, including above the rights of all American children to be protected in ways both Jesus and authors of the American Constitution would surely agree with.

You are making an assumption that all gun owners or gun rights (2nd amendmenters) have unregistered assault weapons.  This is a fallacy that is perpetrated and propagated by the Pharisees of our time.  I am sad that you threw this red herring in to your thought provoking piece.  The founding documents of this country include the 1st and 2nd amendments.  If you wish to throw out one, then let’s throw out the other.  I appreciate my 1st amendment rights as much as I appreciate my 2nd amendment rights.  If we are throwing out the baby with the bathwater, why stop at the 2nd or the 1st.  Let’s just throw them all out.

While, I am at it, you misquoted the document, it is not the “right to Happiness”, it is the right to the PURSUIT of happiness.  I have to disagree that “God died for our right to ‘life and liberty’”.  I am not sure which translation of the Bible you are using, but I do not find that to be the case in any translation I have read.  Jesus died to take away the punishment for our sins against his standards.  Not life and liberty here on earth.  The liberty is from the consequences/punishment from breaking his laws in His Kingdom.

I was surprised when you stated that, Obama said that “The entire Country made a pledge not to forget…”, yes and there was also a pledge to not forget 9/11/01 and the 3,000+ who died there too.  Nor do we forget those who died on 12/7/41 or during the “Civil War” which freed the slaves in America.  Again, the answer is not taking away anything.  

The real answer is about ADDING something, and that is the worth of human life in the eyes of God.  I do wonder how in good conscience this President or any other President can talk on about the value of children’s lives any continue to fund MILLIONS of abortions every year.  There is some kind of disconnect here.  

I have listened to women who grieve for their dead child.  You know, the one who was aborted because they were told by people paid with government money that it is “best”, and it is really no big deal.  Again, the answer is understanding God’s LOVE and His plans.  It isn’t about how we “feel”, it is about what is real.

I am sorry, to me,  you jumped the shark again with this:
Obama, too, is calling on citizens to speak their minds. He, too, knows what they want. Only Obama, unlike his early Roman predecessor, agrees with the people he serves. Because unlike those who called for the death of Jesus, the vast majority of Americans are not buying the gun propaganda that mostly just supports manufacturers’ sales revenues via the violent means their products promote and achieve.

It is your opinion that you are stating above.  If it is true that the majority of the American citizens want guns MORE regulated, then why not put it to a vote?  Let it be ratified by the citizens, instead of those in power.  The manufacturers of guns are not wanting people to commit murder with them, if they did, there would be blood in the streets all of the time.  Most guns are used for target practice, self -protection and hunting, not to commit mass murders.  To take the freedoms away from all because of the misbehavior, criminal behavior, evil behavior, unloving behavior of a very few is not God’s way either.  God’s way (through what Jesus said) is for the individual to suffer the consequences of their own behaviors.  To master their own behaviors and to demonstrate Jesus in their life.  Jesus didn’t need to make laws.

Love your neighbor as your love yourself is what Jesus said.  You can love yourself and your neighbor when you know God loves you.  The government is the power that has taken speaking about God and His love from the schools.  Children (who then become adults) need to know that someone greater than themselves really LOVES them.  That power filled message has been removed from schools on the basis of not letting the church be involved with the state.

Please, please, tell me that you are not equating the words of President Obama with the words of Jesus.  President Obama has ordered the murder of thousands of people using our military and its drones.  Some of those people have been children.  Some of those people have been Osama bin Laden.  Jesus didn’t order the death of anyone.  I reject that Obama’s words carry the same weight and meaning as Jesus the Christ’s words do.  When Jesus said, “It is finished.”  He meant that the plan to bring salvation to all humans was complete.  He also meant that the practice of living by laws and loopholes in those laws was finished.  He didn’t mean, “Make more laws so the people feel safer.”

Dear author, “…the full liberty and redemption Christians believe was painfully achieved three days after Jesus died…” is not the freedom from earthly death.  It was the freedom from the consequences/punishment due each of us from breaking God’s laws and standards.  It was freedom from the punishment of sinning/rebellion against God.

Jesus died for all sins and all sinners, not only for, “… sins of power and greed in their most violent and life-draining expressions.”  To say that cheapens the cost of the sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf.  He left all of the power and glory in Heaven to suffer for you and for me.  This is what people need to know to change their lives.  To help them see that there is value to their and other human lives.

I too wish we could protect all children from all harm and all violence.  I tried to do that with my first daughter.  I was doing well until she was running down the dirt driveway, at age 2, stumbled and fell.  She scraped up her elbow.  I realized then that I could not protect her from every harm that would come.  She still has a scar from that incident.  A reminder to ME that hurts happen, and that hurts heal.   

I am not saying throw your children down on the driveway, nor am I saying that there aren’t things which can be done to slow down gun violence, or violence of any kind.  [By the way, do you know how many children are killed annually due to drunk drivers, or drunk enraged parents or are killed in Foster Care?  The answer would surprise you, I know.]

I am saying that putting MORE restrictions on law abiding citizens, who by the very nature of their group, follow the laws, is NOT going to stop people who break the law from finding a way to break the law.

I appreciate your passion.  I would love to see it directed in a truly productive way, like infusing all around you with the love of Jesus, instead of infusing the hatred for guns and law abiding gun owners.  I wish President Obama would do that too, but he is more of an agitator than a problem solver.  He is in a quest for power and a legacy.  Preaching God’s love isn’t as popular as preaching about “gun control”.

I hope you accept this in the spirit it is written.  Out of the box thinking, not mob mentality thinking .  Iconoclast thinking.  Protect children through many means, not just passing new laws which will be ignored by criminals.   Dillon/Klebold, Holmes and Lanza all broke over a dozen laws by their behavior.  Laws don’t stop criminal behavior, laws just tell what the consequence will be IF you break those laws.  If Dillon/Klebold, Holmes or Lanza had known that God loved them so much that he sent his Son to die for them, I seriously doubt they would have carried out their heinous acts.  That is what the Resurrection is about, God’s love for all.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

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