DENVER, COMMUNITY AND GUN CONTROL. (A clearer picture with the right pill)
OK, the matrix images are a little over the top, but I do have meaning in them, just not as drastic of a meaning as they most likely put forth. 🙂
The following are my thoughts from today:
What we are ultimately looking for in situations like the Century Theater shooting or when we witness the starving children in the poor sections of Denver or when we see injustice in the city and cry out for justice is ACCOUNTABILITY. This is the case in every town and in every community in the world and it will never change. I will explain, but first understand that It would be a huge misunderstanding to compare cities like Denver to other places in the U.S. for one huge reason : Community!
Where there is community, and the responsibility that comes with it, accountability happens much more naturally (though, dont miss me saying that it is also tied to the beliefs and gods of that community). The piece of the puzzle that people across America can’t see from where they live is that this town (Denver) has VERY LITTLE or no real community (or maybe I should say, biblical community?) and therefore has dropped their responsibility and accountability (notice I’m not even saying that their community system conforms to their gods as I honestly don’t know exactly what god reigns in the hearts of men and women here because it’s so different from one person to the next).
Because we all desire levels of accountability we search for it to happen; especially in situations like the Holmes massacre. The problem is that there are many answers from many different people to what the problem is, but I honestly see that the large elephant in the room here is getting overlooked.
The wrong place to look for this type of accountability is in government, or buying more guns, or in getting rid of more guns or implementing tighter security or any of the answers I have heard all week long. I believe that the answer is two fold and simple, but will not come easily or simplistically. The ultimate answer to situations like this is community and the worship of the proper god/God.
Let me deviate to make an example for a second: We have seen this country implement all sorts of socialist “answers” to problems. For example, When the people stop helping the poor, we all realize and believe that SOMEONE or SOMETHING has got to step in and do something about it. After all, is it not incredibly inhumane to allow people to starve to death??
The government, though needed as a last resort (welfare) is also the least capable of doing it correctly. Someone reading this may ask why I say this. Here is my answer:
Ultimately they (federal and state governments) are impersonal institutions. What I mean is that they don’t have the means to invest in lives. They can give fish (because they seem to have plenty) but can’t and won’t teach people how to fish because they simply do not have the means, nor the right in my opinion.
The only accountability they have and that they are able to give requires objective things like money or laws, not subjective things like personal needs, personal care, attention and love. In every social situation, what is most needed is the personal care, responsibility, love and accountability that only citizens and communities are capable of giving, but where such things don’t happen and where the community drops the proverbial ball, the people will always seek their god, or in America’s case, the government (It’s god).
This is not a government issue. Let me say that again… This is NOT a government issue, nor do I care if we never hear their feeble attempt at an “answer.” This is a community’s responsibility. The answer is not more gun control. The answer is a real, loving and responsible community.
Community is one of the largest distinctions across cultures. Like all things, It has both negative sides to it, like lynchings, gossip, legalism (or require conformity to fit in) and positive sides like what I will mention in a little while. In my short 34 years, I have learned, seen and been a part of both sides at times (not too many of the negative sides I hope), but God specifically designed each one of us to not only desire community, but be empty and lost without it.
Hebrews 10:24-25 says: … let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near
In Acts 2 we see this happening and said about the Church: “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, …”
At the very heart of community are blessings (and yes a few curses as I mentioned before, when community is perverted by godless intentions and idolatry) that you will never get outside of it. Some of the blessings that come with community are:
• Personal and emotional investment
• Being a part of something greater and bigger than yourself that you can objectively see and feel
• The need for responsibility (and as mentioned before, the accountability to make that happen.)
• Personal care
• Personal needs are more easily met
• The poor are both known and cared for more often than in non-community oriented places
I don’t believe that a community must necessarily be Christian to possess these things but the proper world view certainly helps (I’ve seen plenty of “Christian” communities that I would be just as afraid to live in honestly!) I believe I could go on but I think you understand.
I believe that community can be as small as a family, as this along with best friends is what you find people out here in Denver will ultimately define it as, but even whole families and best friends cannot pretend to not desire or need something greater than just that close bond with each other. Ultimately they need to be a part of something both greater than themselves and yet still accepts, cares and holds them and the rest of the community accountable on a broader but more personal level (a town or city level).
I hear people blaming the government and other institutions, businesses (the cinema in this case) and every institution and weapon they can find, but they have lost site in all of this of the real problem. They have missed the forest for the trees! They have lost site of community and people. Because they have not sacrificed themselves on many significant levels (outside of monetary ways which I WILL say this place is GREAT at!) they have been able to turn a blind eye to depravity, personal needs of others, red-flags in people’s lives of depression, psychological damage and loneliness.
It’s common for people here to come home from work, close their garage doors and recluse into their homely abyss and computers. They ultimately don’t want to know or take responsibility for people and their “burdens.”
Please don’t think that I say any of this lightly. I’m not saying this from the outside or as someone who hasn’t desperately tried to reach out to other and form community. I’m saying this as someone who lives in this every day, who has given and given and given to people who have more often than not, stabbed me in the back, lied to me or written me off. I say this as someone who has had to come to grips with eating community rice when all I want sometimes is to go back home to a community feast. I stay here, not for what I have, but for what this place doesn’t have and that it needs. I keep trying because I know that my seeds will take root some day, hopefully. I don’t give up because ultimately, God sends us where he wants us, not where we feel comfortable.
My hope though, is that this place will be able to experience the kind of community I’m talking about. The ultimate answer here is not what this community says it is. It’s not government. It’s not more federal laws and gun control. It isn’t welfare. It isn’t anything governmental. The very presence of the government in personal and community affairs is shameful. The answer that everyone is looking for here but doesn’t understand it yet, is community.