by Rev. David Rommereim
How often have you heard the word, "GUNS" since the tragedy at Sandy Hook? The subject even came up at an ecumenical adult Bible Study a few Wednesdays ago. One of our participants spouted out a long angry wisp of guttural babble about guns. He announced that they are good and why peace activists are naive. I asked him to stop spouting off. It became clear that we needed to continue the story of Jesus. After all, Jesus is our Prophetic mouthpiece of God. That means he teaches the truth and tells the truth.
I am fully aware that Jesus ministered among us at a time long before Alfred Nobel (of the Nobel Prize Foundation) invented dynamite. However, nescient to Mr. Noble, Jesus knew that violence breed's violence. Guns breed guns. When a gun chamber is loaded with ammo (our sophisticated version of dynamite) there is only one thing it wants, kaboom(!).
I have been an American for 22,275 days. I have paid my Federal Income Tax and Insurance since I was 4,770 days old. I have not missed a day. I have also voted. Like most of us older than 37, I paid the taxes that were allocated for education, Health Care for the elderly, disabled, or chronically ill, and the social services of a society who needed to equalize the playing field between rich and poor. That was because my mother and father went through the great depression and they learned that unless they share they all die empty in body and soul.
I also remember a time in the last century (between 1933 and 1975) when the United States was on track to eliminate poverty by 1986. Now, however, what clogs up the public conversation is talk about guns. Guns have become the hegemonic description of our social values. You no longer talk about removing poverty in America. Rather than singing "which side are you on" to ending racism and segregation (as many did in the 1930's to 1960's), we sing, "Which side are you on," in the gun debate. I sigh with deep grief.
I am tired of this misguided dialogue in our national culture. My complete being ~ spiritually, physically, and intellectually ~ returns to Jesus. He remains a prophetic voice of the radical non-violence demanded by the God of the covenant. Jesus was not a pacifist, but a live activist for radical non-violence. So that we are not confused this refers to the radical command to live agape love -- that is, G*d Love. Jesus' non-violence equalized the economic forces of simple folk and commands a love-force ~ Gandhi calls it Soul Force ~ which becomes a radical peacemaking where even those you don't like are unharmed.
Some may call me an "idealist." When they do, they think it should embarrass me. Some say, I am naïve. They think my cheeks may glow red. Nevertheless, if some call me an idealist, I thank them. For people of faith always need to keep their eyes on the prize. The prize is a better world without ammo.
Rev. David H. Rommereim