hot topic: Orlando Massacre

It is very disturbing to read the unfolding news about the mass shooting yesterday in Orlando.  A muslim security guard, armed with a semi-automatic machine gun, entered a gay bar in Orlando and began shooting.  He was confronted by an off-duty police officer and manuevered into the bathroom where he maintained a stand-off for three hours while the Orlando police and emergency services worked to protect and rescue victims from the carnage and violence.  Of course this story is continuing to unfold in the news and I have no doubt more information will come to light over time.

In the political world, various leaders are advocating better gun control laws, some leaders are rallying support for the LGBT community and many leaders are blaming the immigration struggles with which the US is wrestling.

As a follower of Jesus, it is my sincere prayer that my community rallies around the words of Jesus more than the world of hate.  There are some people who would try to explain that because this was an attack on a gay bar, God is expressing His judgement and wrath on the homosexual community.  There are other folk who would seek to ostracize muslims because of this violent atrocity.

Seems to me that when Jesus was hanging on the cross, He didn’t ask the Father to get revenge on these wicked, violent and undeserving sinners.  He asked the Father to forgive the people who violently beat, condemned and hung Him on a cross – the most innocent and pure human to ever grace the human race.   May our words and actions be overflowing with the grace and love that have been so richly lavished on us.  Let us freely give what we have so abundantly received.  We need the Holy Spirit to work into our thoughts and actions the redeeming life of Christ.

hot topic: loving Muslims

If you’ve kept up on the news, you’re probably aware of the ISIS attacks in Paris over the weekend, leaving almost 130 dead, along with massive numbers injured, a city badly shaken & many of us outraged.  Truthfully, I find myself very conflicted with topic.  Not only have there been attacks in Paris, but recently, a Russian plane crashed in Egypt from a terrorist attack & there’s also been an attack in Beirut leaving 43 dead & 239 injured.  To make these atrocities even more barbaric, the ISIS propaganda machinery applauds these attacks and wants a bloodbath across the world, taking aim & great pleasure in particular against “Christian” nations.

My initial reaction to this crazy is to support equal if not escalated retribution & I can make a really reasonable case to neutralize this kind of crazy, with whatever means necessary.  And revenge, according to Alfred Hitchcock, is sweet and not fattening.  But revenge is not the path of following Jesus.  Indeed, Jesus told us to turn the other cheek to our enemies, to repay evil with good and to bless when we receive cursing.  Revenge is the level playing field, but as a follower of Jesus, we get to walk in a higher plane and make choices that are grounded in genuine love.  Let’s pray for, bless and love well, with the help of the Holy Spirit 🙂