Once again, I’ve had my usual sabbatical from writing. Kids… work… kids… it all adds up, especially with a non-sleeping two year old in the mix.
That being said, I wouldn’t write now were it not for the disturbing events in Charleston. It’s inconceivable in this day and age, that there are still fools like Dylann Roof floating around. To try to wrap my head around his ignorance and foolishness, it just befuddles me. Perhaps that speaks to a great part of the problem in dealing with racism, is that those of us who don’t swim in the murk and muck of the insipidly preposterous and stupid world of racism fail to notice that there is a problem until it careens onto our doorstep via the morning newspaper when someone commits some heinous, stupidity-fueled act. Until then, we’re all blissfully unaware that there is a problem.
Well there is a problem. There is a big problem, and we could call it racism. But that wouldn’t really convey the real issue here, and until we stop pointing that finger, we are going to continue to run into the same issues and prove John Stewart right. Because we like to treat symptoms in America. We like playing doctor. I would be absolutely unsurprised to one day find out we have a cure for cancer that is stunningly simple that no one knows about because there is no money in the cure. And just like cancer has symptoms, the bigger problem here has symptoms. Racism is one of them.
We could call the problem “gun control” or lack thereof. We all know the statistics… the US has 30,000 gun related deaths yearly. The US placed 103rd out of 195 countries in terms of gun deaths per capita, so at least we’re middle of the pack. But we rank well below other countries like Canada or Italy. And we could point the finger at guns all day long, and many people would argue that the finger was accurate and well-deserved, that guns, indeed, are the problem. Of course, when you look at the UK, which has very strict anti-gun laws, doctors are trying to ban long-pointed kitchen knives because long-pointed kitchen knives have now become the weapon of choice among criminals. And when that ban is enacted, perhaps Duran Duran CDs will be used to kill people, which will result in a ban on Duran Duran CDs (I’m just wishing, hoping, and praying here, folks). But you get my drift, hopefully. Because yeah, we can point the finger at guns all day long, but we miss the point. And enacting stronger gun legislation will eventually show itself to be a pyrrhic victory at best when the blood of so many has been spilled, only to enact a solution that saves so few.
So what’s really the problem? You know, what’s the real issue here? When Barack Obama, or Hillary Clinton, or Lindsey Graham, or any other talking sound bite machine from Washington or civic leaders such as Jessie Jackson, or Al Sharpton, or Mike Huckabee or insert name of commentator here, speak on the issue, what should they really say if they really want to get to the heart of the problem and enact real change and healing?
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?
Jeremiah 17:9 ESV
There. God said it best. We can look at this as a gun control debate, or we can look at it as proof of how racism is still alive and well, and even though both may be correct, until you deal with that one issue, nothing else is really going to affect change. The human heart is deceitful and sick. The KJV denounces the human heart as “desperately wicked.” And you know what? If anyone is going to be an expert on human behavior and solutions to human behavior, it’s probably going to be God. So you see, fill the newspapers with pro gun and anti gun rhetoric. Fill the airwaves with discussions on how to eliminate racism. Until you deal with that one issue, the one of the human heart, neither of these problems will go away.
Why is that one so hard? It’s really simple when you get down to it. We’re depraved!!!! The second recorded sin was murder. The first was pride. Seriously, did we not learn from that? And yet, here we are, millennia later, and STILL we haven’t learned. If I had to guess the reason why, it’s because that one truth hurts the most. Because then, this isn’t something that some fool like Dylann Roof does, while the rest of us, both black and white, are simply better than that. Then we have to realize that the roots of evil that took hold in Dylann Roof are not so different from the evil and depravity we find in ourselves. The fight against racism, the fight against senseless murder, is less about the Dylann Roofs of the world, then it is the fight in our own daily life against the chains that continue to bind all of us to our depravity. Then we would all have to swallow the bitter pill that is the fact that we all are capable of great evil. Then, in that fearful moment when we have to realize that the dividing line between us and a deranged neo-nazi wannabe is dental floss thin, we finally realize that the answer to all of this senseless violence, murder, and foolishness can be found at the foot of the cross.
The families and loved ones of the victims in Charleston realized this. Notice that the one city that probably should have erupted into racial violence and hatred instead fanned the fires of the Holy Spirit in their city. This didn’t happen anywhere else in the face of such tragedy. The reason it happened here is that the members of Emmanuel, the citizens of Charleston, the families and loved ones of the fallen realized that the answer to this problem is not found in legislation, but in prayer and supplication. I have never been more amazed and more proud of fellow brothers and sisters in Christ than I am right now in the believers in Charleston, the believers in Emmanuel church. So fitting it is that the very name of that church means “God with us,” for He most certainly has been, teaching us all that far separated from the rhetoric and dead end solutions is the solution of His gift of salvation and His love for His children. Maybe if we all paid a little more attention, the problems of racism and gun control would be seen for what they are… a symptom of a terribly depraved heart.