PeopleI’ve deliberately taken my time responding to the Orlando attack this past Sunday. Perhaps that was a mistake – people need leaders to be quick to speak truth and call out wrong, and speak up to our collective potential. And in the absence of me saying anything, plenty of others did and do continue to fill the airwaves and social media with their condolences, political opinions, and even accusations and rants. So I will respond to this whole thing by briefly addressing the handful of issues that have come up from this.

  1. Gays. I’m sorry that this happened, and that it was targeted toward people based on their sexual orientation. I’m even more sorry that a very small number of people claiming to be Christian are celebrating the fact that this happened at a gay nightclub. I openly condemn their evil, malicious hatred as anti-Christian, anti-Biblical, and anti-Christ, and I share no part of them.
  2. Islam. A radical Muslim hell-bent on taking American lives was to blame for this. On behalf of all of my Muslim friends and neighbors who have had meals with me and my family, and even visited our church and Bible studies… I’m sorry that someone of your faith killed innocent people. You are not guilty by association any more than I am with the previously mentioned “Christians.” Islamic terrorism is a problem, and I’m grateful that several of you have directly agreed with that. If it were “Christians” shooting up bars, streets, and shopping centers I would call it “Christian” terrorism and condemn those who did it as not Christian at all.
  3. Gun control. I am 100% committed to the 2nd Amendment. And not for hunting purposes… The 2nd Amendment was specifically intended to give the government pause before attempting to strip it’s citizens of their rights. The 2nd Amendment also includes the right to form and maintain militia… those are citizen-run military units. We’re not just talking about hunting, home security, or recreational target shooting. We’re talking about keeping the country under state/citizen control, versus federal control. But we also must take long hard looks at how easy it is for a terrorist to acquire the tools – in this case guns – to attack our nation with. I’m for gun rights. I was raised to believe that “gun control” meant being sure of your target before squeezing. But if there are ways to maintain our 2nd Amendment rights, while making it more difficult for terrorists to gain access to them, we should be willing to have those conversations. And it’s not anti-American to do so.
  4. People. Ok, so this last one is not talked about as much this week which is why I’m talking about it and titling this post after it. As humans, we like labels. Yes, they form stereotypes that are often false, but they also help us understand how things are in relation to us. So it was a “Muslim” who shot and killed “gays”. And this allows us to vomit opinions about Muslims, guns, and the LGBT. But for just a second, can we fall back to the big picture? It was a man… a person. Who walked into a night club to shoot and successfully kill 49 other people. It was people – by the hundreds – who formed lines wrapping around blood donation centers in Orlando to help other people they had never met. Those people – like each person reading this post – had lives, hopes, merits, regrets, and aspirations. They had friends. Families. Forget your opinion for just a second about what you think regarding someone’s lifestyle, politics, or firearms… That could have been your family member. For 49 families, it was.  For just a minute, stop the “yeah, but…” rhetoric and watch this video…

May God bless and watch over Orlando in this time of pain and anger. May many find hope and healing in Christ despite this tragedy. And may the local churches in the area lead the charge for doing so.

You may now return to your political opinions and rants.

Blessings,
Pastor John

PS… If you have friends in the Orlando area looking for a good church family to lean on, here are a few to point them toward:

Hope Church
Cornerstone Church
World Changing Church
Crosspointe Church