So many are shocked this week as they live in the shadow of the Tucson Tragedy. Many wonder how anything like this could have ever happened. They are surprised.
I am not.
I confess that I wonder how in this ol' world spinning out of control, groaning in travail, it doesn't happen even more often. Really! It is horrible and tragic and senseless. It is dark and cold and deadly. Even though there is no "excuse" for it, there are reasons why this and other "random" acts of violence are occurring on our streets, in our schools and behind the closed doors of our homes.
Our children and grandchildren are being raised in a society and culture that serves as its entrée entertainment featuring killing, blowing others away electronically, with full sight and sound. The side dish for this cultural meal is a generous portion of activist motivated denial of anything and everything Christian including anything divine or foundational to human existence or family living. And for dessert our culture serves anything and everything sexual-of all kinds. Add it all up and you have the cuisine of anarchy. Does this not result in a life eked out in a bottomless pit of senselessness and hopeless irrationality in a so-called rational, reasonable world? And we are surprised at the outcomes?
Many of our youth are not old enough to have the "voices" (that Chris Young so beautifully sings about in his most recent hit song. Listen here.) guiding them from inside their own heads. They have been raised to not trust the Bible, not believe in God. This rejection of divine authority in favor of self determination has not come from just the politicians and judges and teachers, but specifically from the many so called mainline churches that have publicly made a mockery of the faith they are called to pass on. They, more than any single factor, are responsible for allowing the foundational faith footings of our culture to be detonated by the likes of the activist atheists and "love lobbyists" who reject true, tough love and continue to bury the silent majority of this country under their bully agenda. The mainline churches have not held the line. They have not guarded and supported the foundational footings and have in fact helped to usher in and take the lead on the disintegration. So afraid of not fitting in or being considered a "fundamentalist or literalists" or naïve, they have proven the biblical accuracy regarding matters of conformity and cooperation with the devil himself as they now scramble to survive as "institutions." We are all witness to the damages.
Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. (1 Peter 5:5-9)
The devil delights in today's environment. Daily existence in this environment is like a life-long trip to Disneyland. An uninterrupted sound reel says that you are at the happiest place in the world while all around you are crying children, family dysfunction, irritating lines, sweaty odors and overpriced food. You stand there for 90 minutes waiting for a 60 second ride wondering what you are missing? What is wrong with you? Why is this not the happiest place for you?
Few are willing to admit to this as their experience of reality. Could it be that we are experiencing the death of a society and culture? Yes, we have a rich history that traces us back to a firm foundation. The footings of our society lie in the basic principles of the faith. But now we hear that society, that culture, gasping for breath in what sounds like a death rattle. We hear the groans and triumphant squeals at the birth of anarchy. Unfortunately, the tragedy is predictable in such a setting. The anarchy of America finds its foundation in the individual over the community, rights over responsibility, personal entitlement over service to others, entertainment over education, leisure time over a work ethic, and a pervasive denial of any truth beyond our own individual self-understanding. This is a reversal of the roots of our culture.
The roots of our faith have fared no better. The sinner is no longer in need of forgiveness by God. Some of our leading churches no longer believe their own message. They have sold out on the Word of God and its absolute authority over all matters of faith and life. What kind of table has this set for us in the presence of our enemies? Why do we question that such things can and will happen? If the building is moved off of its original foundation in the bedrock of God's Word onto a cultural beach flowing with the sands of time what else can we expect? It is not a wonder that the devil delights!
So who shall address this tragedy? As a culture, as a society, where will we turn? Does the government hold the answer or the popular religious trends of our day? Shall we now call for a "god" to help us whom we have painstaking denied every step of the way to our present situation? Should we wonder why He has allowed such things to happen when we been more than cooperative with the devil himself? As we witnessed years ago on the campus in Virginia and in the ruble of the Twin Towers, there is no religion, no faith group that can address this dark, senseless, violent scene but One. Only the One who was denied by all, hung on a cross and left for dead by everyone. He was raised in spite of us not because of us. He was given for us not by us. He alone can walk into the midst of this darkness, past the police caution lines and the hospital security and the graveyard fences and face death again for your sake because He once and for all defeated it on His own terms with His own scars to prove it.
While it seems socially acceptable to tell this One, this man named Jesus, to "go to Hell" or to deny His divinity or His existence at all, it is at times like these that I wonder how many will come to know the Answer in the midst of all their questions and death itself.
They will not just come to it on their own. They need a preacher, the Word spoken. They need witnesses to it's power and authority. They need Christian Churches that serve their Lord and not themselves. They need Jesus. . . and He will take it from there.
"And the God of grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen." (1 Peter 5:10,1)