I really didn’t want to
I am such a coward. As the nation still tries to come to grips with the horror of the Newtown shootings; as people begin to look for answers and ways to ensure that something like this never happens again I decided to remain quiet. As I expected, it didn’t take long for people to jump on their own long-held simplistic solutions. I resolved however to not chime in with either simplistic solutions of my own or comments on those of others.
In fact, I was planning to go forward with my previous idea of sticking to posts with a Christmas theme through to the 25th. The advent season is, after all, a time of reflection and anticipation. The incarnation is indeed joyous good news. But I fear I must alter my plan. I really don’t want to comment on this matter of the killing of innocents, I find it too horrifying to make any sense of. But I have been disturbed by the comments of many of my fellow believers and need to break that pledge.
There is a trend in some commentary among Christians. The implication is that the killings happened because we as a nation have turned our backs on God. Mike Huckabee was one of the first to chime in, questioning why we should “be so surprised” when “we have systematically remove God from our schools.” Other Christians tell us that God would say “’I’ll be glad to protect your children, but you’ve got to invite me back into your world first.”’ or ask us if we are “happy now that the shooter grew up in a school without God?” James Dobson tells us that “we have turned out back on the Scripture and on God Almighty and I think He has allowed judgment to fall on us.” Facebook is so full of similar themes that some people are turning off their accounts so they can avoid being bombarded with such messages. You can even buy a tee shirt like this:
I doubt there is a single Christian anywhere who does not long for a world where the Word of God is honored; where all people were hungry to do His will; where peace is in every nation, every school and every heart. But the theme of these messages from Huckabee, Dobson and others; that when we as humans walk away from God He will respond with human-type anger and judgment, ignores a basic truth that now, more than ever, should be apparent to us – the incarnation.
The coming of the infant Jesus tells us that God does not walk away from our sin, our failures and our pain. The babe in the manger tells us we cannot keep God out. No matter how much we may try to force Him out, God will not remain out. He is Immanuel, God with us, and He doesn’t require our permission to be here.
Yes, we can make wicked choices. Those choices can be individual, as with Adam Lanza. They can be as a nation in our laws. They can be as a society in our moral choices. Nobody disputes that. But the messages cited above turn God into a being that is “making a list and checking it twice” instead of a God who so deeply longs to forgive us that He will go from Bethlehem to Golgotha to overcome our evil.