Friday, March 29, 2013

Guns & Sins: Treating the Wrong Problem

Many years ago .. 1969 as I recall, I was a counselor at the Bill Glass Crusade. Bill was an ex-football player, having lettered at Baylor for 3 years, and subsequently playing pro ball for 11 years. He's both a college All-American and member of pro football's Hall of Fame.  But then, he became an Evangelist in 1969 after a few years of having given testimony at Billy Graham Crusades, etc.

He came to Indianapolis while I lived there, and my friend Dave Van Veld suggested that we volunteer as counselors. Even though I was still in somewhat of a turmoil about my own salvation, I said OK. In retrospect, I was as saved as I'd ever be, but hadn't been in the Bible enough to know it. That was one side benefit of the Bible study at the Van Veld's.

God revealed some things to me during the Crusade and all that went with it, that are still useful to me, today. But one thing stands out above all the rest. Bill told us, during our counselors' briefings, that if someone came forward at the invitation, and wanted to pray about sin in their life, don't pray about the sin! His reason: repetitive sin, over which a believer was struggling, was a sign of a weak or non-existent relationship with Jesus. Instead, Bill said, pray about that.

In the current brouhaha about "gun control", I'm reminded of the same thing. The problem isn't with the guns. It's with the people. And it is about as expectable as anything I can think of. Consider the things that influence society, other than the simple fact we're all sinners. I think of 4, off the top of my head:


  • The family. Do I need to say a lot about that? In my lifetime, I have seen the entirety of the gamut from the norm being the nuclear family, to the situation today where that's the exception rather than the rule. During all my schooling .. through High School .. I recall one classmate whose parents were divorced, or where their mother was widowed. 
  • The schools: We started the day with the Pledge of Allegiance, and prayer. As Bill Bennett, one of President Reagan's Secretaries of Education, told me personally, the removal of prayer from the schools had one major effect: Prayer was an acknowledgment of higher authority, and taking it out of schools led to a decline in recognition of authority in school children. He said that we could trace the loss of respect for teachers, police, elders, parents, etc. to the day they barred those prayers in school. I tended to believe him .. he was a very believable guy.
  • The church: Churches used to be revered and respected. Not any more. Folks sue churches, and remonstrate on zoning to allow a church building, just like they do any other organization. Not to mention the fact that many denominations are losing their "saltiness" and looking more like society every day, complete with infighting, ordination of homosexuals, and even allowing for same-sex marriages. 
  • Society: Tell me who is teaching morality, respect, obedience and the like, besides the churches? The Television? I can recall a time when married couples .. think the Dick Van Dyke Show, Father Knows Best, Leave it to Beaver, etc. .. couldn't even be shown in the same bed. And how about "The Partridge Family" not having a toilet in their bathroom? Today, nearly anything goes. On Cable, it already does. I've heard it said that every great nation that fell from within, has first condoned the public acceptance of immorality, as well as experienced a breakdown of law & order .. actually the enforcement of laws. Tell me we're not there....

So .. look around and tell me how swell things are now. Given all those factors, that have arisen in my lifetime, how can we expect anything else to happen in our nation, other than just what's been going on?

I didn't think so.

NOW: along comes a seeming increase, and way too much, of course, in violence. Including that employing guns. And the President seems dead set on enacting some sort of legislation aimed at reducing gun violence. Well, Mr. President, it won't accomplish nuthin'!

One of the points bandied about is mandatory background checks. Oh, that'll weed out criminals from buying guns. WHAT? If you were a criminal, one who made a living by robbing, stealing, etc, why would you even consider BUYING  a firearm? No, you'd do what you've always done ... STEAL IT!

Can you spell "UNTRACEABLE"?

And then, he tosses up the tragedy at Newtown. Here's a flash for you, Mr. President: His MOM  owned all those guns. How would a background check have stopped THAT? 

It's just like the issue at the Bill Glass Crusade, of praying about  the sins and not the cause. The cause of gun violence is shooters, not guns. Until and unless we get back into the business of raising people America can be proud of, we don't have a ghost of a chance of solving the problem.

Romans 12:2 ... (NIV) says "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind". And that is something this world, and its governments, simply cannot do. But then, we're not even doing what we CAN!

p.s.: I just figured out why I'm so grumpy today .. WE TV is having a "Roseanne" marathon. Yeah .. that's it. 

2 Comments:

At 11:24 PM, March 31, 2013, Anonymous Lee said...

As one who has been involved in Christian school education for 30 years, I can tell you that it's not just prayer in schools that has made the difference. For about two decades now, the curriculum objectives in the public education system has included the DAILY teaching that there is nothing wrong with homosexual behavior, that it is normal. These objectives are accompanied by exercises designed to teach the students how to apply this philosophical view. Those who introduced this are serious enough about the expected outcomes to incorporate the objectives into the standardized tests measuring student progress, and to make sure that students hear something about this particular subject in at least one subject area once each day.

And while that's been going on for twenty years, as the church has puttered around and fussed about not having a daily prayer in school, it has these kids just a couple of hours a week, if they're lucky, and it spends most of that time trying to entertain them. Get into my business, and parents have to foot the whole bill for an alternative education, which means that only about 15-20% of the students from any given church even has the means to provide them with an education that will support what they learn at church.

That's my soapbox.

As long as this is the way things are, the problems we face are not going away.

 
At 8:23 AM, April 01, 2013, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...

No argument about that, Lee, but this was 1987 and Bennett was referring specifically and only to the loss of respect for authority resulting from the doing away with prayer in schools. He wasn't speaking to anything related to curriculum.

Also, IMO, church is just one tool that's available to parents to raise their children, who are ultimately responsible for the child learning respect as well as making sure they grow up with a Biblical worldview.

Thanks for the comment. Good to hear from you.

 

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