Christians are so good at being antichrist. Maybe not the, but anti-Christ. Anti-Emmanuel. God with us? Oh yes, he’s with us. God with you? Eh, not so much.
Why are Christians so good at withdrawing from people? And not just withdrawing, but passing judgment while doing so?
For the love of God, if you have nothing nice to say, DON’T SAY ANYTHING AT ALL!
Please, I beg you. Compassionate Christianity begs you. Shut the hell up.
When we remove ourselves from people, we absolve ourselves of responsibility. We ignore any complicity we may have in perpetuating a culture of violence. We ignore any role we might play in helping to prevent tragedy.
When we can sit back on our high horse and say, well, obviously this is your problem, we reduce the complexity of violence and reveal our ignorance and foolishness.
Being self-righteous and removed from reality removes us from the people we claim to want to help. If we reduce the presence of God to a piece of legislation, we turn into utterly uncompassionate people, utterly un-Christ-like.
When we ignore people, label them as crazy, so of course crazy people kill people, then we ignore the fact that ‘crazy’ people need help. Need friends. Need people to speak life into their world.
We ignore the fact that somehow we have created a world where it is easy for ‘crazy’ people to massacre. We cannot write people off and just hope they don’t explode on us someday.
When we distance ourselves from tragedy, we bury our means of helping.
Because if we have the courage to put ourselves in their shoes, we realize that, if we had mental problems, if we had a hard family life, if we had not been taught healthy means of relating, if we had not had a,b,c,d,e,f,g, happen to us, then we might be like that. We might be ‘the other’.
Tragedy does not just wake up one day and decide to strike. It usually happens slowly. Weeks, months, years of events, attitudes, reactions shape a life. Many times it might seem to come out of nowhere, and it’s possible that someone completely normal does wake up one day and snap.
But whatever the case, however tragedies happen – we cannot let ourselves lose our humanity by denying the fact that it all revolves around people. It’s easy to say, ‘guns don’t kill people, people kill people,’ as if that lets us off the hook. But why do people kill? How can we help reduce the likelihood that someone will snap? We cannot remove our compassion for the victims by being callous about the cause.
When we choose to simplify the situation by saying, ‘we just need to fix traditional families’, ‘we need to put God back in school’, ‘it’s my right!’ then we choose to build a culture that creates violence. And yes, it may be your right, but for the love of people, can we not have a discussion on how to express that right safely and humanely? And also? You sound like a selfish ass. A little compassion and recognizing that nuance should accompany amendments would go a long way.
Stopping a killer is not as simple as arming a teacher. Stopping a killer is not as simple as saying a prayer in a building.
Stopping a killer requires a society that recognizes that we need to be involved with each other.
We need to de-stigmatize mental help and make seeing a counselor, a doctor, or anger management classes seem normal and healthy.
When we ignore the fact that we too, have the human capacity for evil, then it becomes so much easier to ignore and ‘other’ those people who choose evil. When we ignore the fact that we too, could so easily become victims, then we lose our momentum to seek change, to work for good, to create a healthier culture.
Instead of creating a culture that glorifies violence and sees killing as the answer to more killing, why can’t we create a culture that values admitting struggle and getting help?
In doing so, we would have to admit the causes of violence and tragedy are complex, uneasily solved, and takes people coming together to fix it.
With each other.
God with us.