Our Neighborhood Mission Field

Yet another school shooting. This time closer to home. Marshall County, Kentucky is only about 100 miles from here. Several victims were brought here to Vanderbilt’s trauma center. We don’t yet know any motives for why a 15-year-old would open fire against his classmates. I’m doubtful that uncovering a “motive” will be all that helpful. Did somebody make fun of him? Bullied him? His girlfriend dumped him?

How is it that taking a human life has become so “casual”? And in this and other cases like it, human “lives”—plural. It must be as troubling to you as it is to me. Yes, of course, guns play a role. Yes, of course, guns are too easy to obtain. But what is happening to our society when too many of these shootings serve to remind us in a shocking manner that we have created the “stew” in which such shootings are even thinkable?

Some have long been warning us that our love of violence in movies and television is partly to blame. High tech video games now allow the “players” to kill with abandon. Are those voices right? If so, is there any way to roll back the clock?

There are lots of professional opinions about this crisis—mental health professionals, law enforcement professionals, sociologists and others. I am only qualified to speak to the spiritual dimension—or lack of it. Do we really believe there is no correlation between the decline of religious belief in this country and such violent acts?

I would suggest that there has never been a time when our witness to the life-affirming ethic of Jesus is more needed. We need missionaries and we need them in our own neighborhoods.  And we most definitely need to stop saying, “O, woe is us” and “Ain’t it awful” and start making a difference.  

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Our church is getting ready to launch a partnership through our Missions Council with H.G. Hill Middle School. There will be opportunities for mentoring and reading with students and assisting teachers and serving as field trip chaperones and other services. This is a mission field right across the street from our church. We have the ability and opportunity to transform a school. All it takes is our willingness to share the life-affirming ethic of Jesus. Are you ready to step up?

Stay tuned for announcements about our plan very soon and start praying now about how you can join in. We may not be able to change the entire world, but we absolutely CAN change our little corner of it.

PEACE,

Jim