Gun Control does not equal violence control


Another mass shooting and the debate is as fervent as ever. Should guns be more regulated? If so, how? Not many people in America are against all forms of gun control. Well over 80% of Americans (regardless of party affiliation) in recent polls support background checks. And let’s be honest, who would ever argue that it doesn’t need to be harder for criminals to have access? However, beyond that point is where the unilateral support breaks down. Why? Simply because most people argue from a point of opinion and emotion rather than based on information and facts. Regardless, it’s the wrong debate. 

Arguing that we need to control guns to curb these mass shootings and homicides is like saying we need to regulate fast food to end obesity. The problem is not in the tool it’s in the motivations behind the problem. Remove the tool and the person will just seek out another. You need to look no further than the fact that accessibility to guns has no correlation to the level of homicides and terror attacks in a country. My point is, if people want to carry out a murder or terror attack, they will, regardless of how regulated guns are. Case in point: United Kingdom. They have had a rise in violent crimes since banning firearms. If people have an eating problem, they’ll seek to satisfy their desire regardless of availability. Same is true with murder and terrorism. If people want to kill, they will with whatever means they can come by. The United States has far less gun related crimes than many nations that don’t even allow private ownership. Also, guns aren’t even the main method of homicides in America. Bombs are illegal and that didn’t stop the Boston Marathon attacks. Hijacking planes is illegal but that didn’t stop terrorists from flying them into the trade center. 

Guns rarely get praised for the good they are used for. For example, guns are used 80 times as often in self defense to save a life than to take one. More impressive than that is that 200,000 plus women save themselves from being sexually assaulted each year by having a gun. Plus, do people think it’s coincidence that almost all mass shootings take place in gun free zones? Several ‘would be’ mass shootings have been stopped by civilians with concealed weapons.  

So why are people like our president, and so many others, ready to fire so quickly at gun regulations when tragedies occur? Because they need something to blame. But the blame is misplaced. Pointing a finger at guns means that our society doesn’t have to look deeper, under the surface at what is really going on. Regulating guns or taking them away will not control the violence in our nation or anywhere in the world. That is a fact proven by ample evidence. So if I don’t believe that guns are the problem, then what is? Here are a few ideas of what I think are leading factors in mass shootings and terror attacks. 

Problem #1- our nation embraces, and really, celebrates violence. Just look at sports, movies and other forms of entertainment like video games. It is glorified in so many ways yet we are shocked when it plays out in reality. 

Problem #2-leaders in America refuse to acknowledge the threat of radical Islam. This is not a peaceful religion. Anyone who has ever studied the Quran, Islamic history, and witnessed the last century of horrors documented in the name of Islam, would have to concede this point. There are peaceful Muslims but that does not mean they reflect true Islam. 

Problem #3-our culture has little to no reverence for the one true God as revealed in the Bible and embodied in Christ Jesus. I admit this has been a problem since the beginning of our nation. It’s just taken different forms like slavery, lack of women’s rights, abuses towards Native Americans and racial minorities, acceptance of pornography and same sex marriage, public support for abortion, etc…This problem perpetuates every problem that a society has. 

Address these problems and we may actually see some change. Continue to ignore them, and things will get worse. Unfortunately it is not just an American problem, it’s a world problem. So we as a nation can change but we are so interconnected that the world needs to change with us. We certainly could act as a beacon of light to the nations and a catalyst to revival. As followers of Christ we need to commit to prayer, to grace, to living and sharing truth, to promoting healing and hope among those around us, to loving more than we ever have, and to pointing the world towards their Savior. He is our greatest hope in these dark times in which we live. And light shines the brightest in darkness! 

God bless my brothers and sisters!

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Broken


Most people could recognize the character in the picture above without reading any further. The image goes along with a childhood poem that many have grown up hearing. If you’re like me, you probably have no idea where the story came from but you joyfully sang along as your parents recited it. Who knows, maybe the person telling you the nursery rhyme didn’t even know it’s meaning or origin.

As the image portrays, Humpty Dumpty is an egg, yet if you notice, an egg is never mentioned in any of the lines.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, 

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall; 

All the king’s horses and all the king’s men 

Couldn’t put Humpty together again.

So most likely…it’s a riddle. The majority agree, when studying the context and history, that this is the case. The rhyme dates all the way back to the 17th century and has been changed only slightly over time. Some theories exist  linking the nursery rhyme back to certain historical events of the 1600’s. However, this isn’t meant to be an analysis of a beloved nursery rhyme. Instead, I wanted to share how the four lines of this riddle relate to the human condition (don’t laugh, I’m being serious).

Here’s the breakdown:

Line 1- Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. Walls, for centuries, have been a symbol of security. People are, by nature, driven to create or seek out security. Unfortunately it is often sought out in all the wrong things . We look to money, appearance, relationships, material possessions, praise from others, achievements, and work. 

Line 2-Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. All but one foundation will eventually crack and crumble and cause us to go barreling down out of control. When our ‘security’ is shaken, (because it is eliusive, unstable) we lose our grip and fall. Some fall harder than others. 

Line 3 & 4- all the King’s horses and all the King’s men couldn’t put Humpty back together again. When we fall, and are broken, (which is our condition from the start) no matter of human fixing can ever make us whole again. 

Insert Jesus Christ…when we sit on the foundation and security of Christ, no matter of shaking can ever make us fall because we are held firmly in God’s hand. By shaking, I’m not saying that we won’t have concerns or hardships. Jesus actually promised that we would. I am saying that those who have a relationship with Jesus Christ will be able to stand strong in the fiercest storms. And in the light of eternity, we can never be shaken loose from God’s grip!

“I (Jesus) give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.””

‭‭John‬ ‭10:28-30‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Jesus will only be inserted into the scene of one’s life by those who see that they are broken. They come to a place of humility and transparency about their need and hurting. They see that something huge is missing from their lives and that it can only be filled by Jesus. It’s best to realize this before we ever fall off the wall. BUT, Jesus is every bit as available, seeking and calling out to those who are laying, broken and shattered at the bottom of the wall. 

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.””‭‭

Matthew‬ ‭11:28-30‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The truth is, we are all broken vessels that can only be mended by The Potter’s hands.

“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”‭‭

Romans‬ ‭3:23-26‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The amazing thing is, that it’s free and available to anyone who calls on the name of Jesus. We don’t have to be ‘put together’ to fall at His feet. It’s impossible to be put together before a relationship with Christ. 

“”Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭55:1‬ ‭ESV‬‬
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭2:4-8‬ ‭ESV‬‬

After we come to Christ, we still need to keep building our lives on what He teaches and how He lived. A parable Jesus taught can very closely tie to the 17th century nursery rhyme.

“”Everyone then who hears these words of mine(Jesus) and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.””

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭7:24-27‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I share this for all who are hurting, all who don’t know where to turn, all who seem lost, all who are building their lives up on false security, all who recognize the void deep in their soul and have never found a way to fill it. There is hope and life and healing. I share this for the believer who is compromising, who lives just as a non believer does, who is Christian by title only. There is a true life with Jesus and its so much more. Maybe you lost your way. There is a way back and an abundant life to be had. I share this for those who have been serving Jesus. Rejoice in our savior Who has put us back together into a new creation!

God bless my brothers and sisters. May Christ’s love overwhelm you!

Time Slaves


Have you ever wondered what it would be like if time was not a part of your daily life? I’m not talking about time in a broad manner as in we all have certain amounts of years to our lives, but in a specific sense like the time of day. How much of your life would change if you never knew the time? Appointments? Work? Class? Family life? Trips? Meetings? I could probably list a lot more but I think that’ll do. 
People’s obsession with time is demonstrated for anyone who looks back through the lens of history. The idea of time pieces has been around for a long time but an accurate clock has only existed for less than 700 years. Thousands of years ago sundials and water clocks dominated as the source of telling time. However, these were not accurate and relied so much on the sun shining and the source of water being controlled. Fast forward to the 14th century and the foundations of the modern clock are born and we’ve never looked back since. 

The question that comes to my mind is: why? Why are we drawn so much to time? Why do we feel life needs to be so…calculated? What would happen if you hid every form of time piece in your possession? Would your life spiral out of control? (That may be a bit of exaggeration) 

I am a high school teacher. My entire work day is built on a schedule that would not function without the knowledge of time. It makes you wonder how education ever worked without bell schedules…

It may sound odd coming from a teacher, but bells and schedules drive me crazy. I don’t believe that society was ever meant to be so regimented. So much creativity and experiences are starved by such a system. Really, that system is no more than 150 years old. It all originated out of the industrial revolution era in Europe and the United States. Even though it’s so young, most nations around the world have adopted methods of structuring their days. Think about all the phrases: happy hour, nine to five job, 40 hour work weeks, over time, bed time, dinner time, etc. Alarm clocks ringing to wake up for another time managed day. 

Don’t get me wrong, I believe that there have been efficiencies added due to time keeping. On the contrary, I also believe many have become slaves to the same efficiency. What sparked all of this dialogue was an article I recently read about the “present clock.” Have you heard of it? It was designed by Scott Thrift. The clock actually contains no numbers and takes one full year to make a full revolution.


Imagine the only sense of time that you have is of your year passing by rather than the minutes and seconds. What’s the advantage to that? Maybe a life lived in light of the big picture rather than by a schedule consumed with milking every tick of the clock out of a day. Maybe it would help to keep our eyes locked on the yearly goals rather than on the next meeting or deadline. In my opinion, it would lead to a less “productive” life but it would lead to a fuller life. Here’s an example that came to my mind: I would be more focused on pouring into another year of my daughters’ lives before that year is up rather than on bed times and super structured days. 

I applaud Mr. Thrift. While I would agree that structure is not all together bad and time Management has its advantages, they can also drown the very life out of us when we allow them to dominate every move. Ephesians 5:16 tells us to make the most of every opportunity and Psalm 90:12 says that we need to be taught to number our days. I believe the heart of both of those verses is to make the most of life not to live so much on schedules and time tables limited by set times. I believe they tell us to make the most of our relationships and serve and love in increasing measure. Our ability to do that can be very limited when we are overly aware of time. The moment humanity gained the ability to keep track of hours and minutes and seconds, it began to fill them up, a lot of which with useless things in grand scheme of things. A life too full can sometimes be very empty. Mr. Thrift’s simple invention helped me to zoom out on life so I can see it how I believe our Creator meant us to.