As you know, this weekly article is entitled, “Reflections.” It is given that name because it is my opportunity as your Senior Minister to share with you some of the things that are on my heart. I know that not all of you agree with everything I write. I suspect some of you will feel that way about this article. Still, you allow me to share my thoughts and hopefully, even when we disagree, it becomes food for thought and conversation.
This week, my heart has been heavy. The scenes and reports of the shooting in Parkland, Florida have been on the forefront of my mind. As I shared Sunday morning, I grew up in Broward County, not far from Parkland. Just hearing about it took me back to my years at Plantation High School. If anyone had told me then, that shootings in schools and churches would become a regular occurrence, I think I would have thought they had a dark sense of humor. I could not have imagined such a thing.
I am not an expert when it comes to the question of “gun control.” I do know there are good people who are deeply devoted to Christ and care deeply about others who are on opposite sides of the question. One of my dear friends, who has long been a Methodist Minister and has served the Church well for years believes gun control is not the problem. He believes if you make guns illegal, then only criminals will have them.
I love him, I respect his opinion, and I have learned some things from him. That said, I can’t help but wonder why anyone needs an assault rifle, much less a teenager. I cannot help but wonder why we would put weapons in the hands of people who have mental health issues who might use them to take the life of another human being. I cannot help but wonder why anyone would be opposed to more extensive background checks. And I cannot help but wonder why we would allow bump stocks that turn semi-automatic weapons into almost fully automatic weapons.
I am not a legal expert so I cannot speak to all of the legal issues. However, I am a United Methodist Minister who is a part of a Church that abhors violence, believes all that can be done should be done to ensure the sanctity of life, and calls all of us to be peacemakers.
I do believe that we can no longer simply say, “Isn’t this terrible,” and then quietly go on letting things remain the same. We are all familiar with the definition that says, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”
What exactly needs to be done, I must leave into the hands of those who know more about these issues than do I, but I know I have reached a place personally where I can no longer remain silent. As a private citizen of this great country I intend to exercise my freedom and write to my senators and congress people and let them know I expect some action that will better ensure safety for all of us, especially our children.
I encourage you to do so as well.