FAITH

violence and how the Church can help

This past Sunday my husband and I were able to attend a church very unlike ours. Different culture, different ethnicity. Very different service.

Our church and this church are visiting each other’s Sunday’s service. A group of people from our church attended theirs this week. They come to ours next week.

There is a very specific reason for this exchange. Our community is rocked with violence. I do not live in a big city but our homicide numbers (percentage based) rival those in Detroit. Most people I know avoid driving in that section of town even during the day. It’s that bad. People living in my part of town are afraid to drive in their part of town. That doesn’t exactly promote harmony.

There have been a number of random shootings and deaths of innocent passer-by’s. It’s not even a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

This effort by the two pastors is to bring our two very different congregations together in an effort to combat the crime in our community. The thinking is that if we, as different as we are, can worship together,maybe we can find a solution together.

We thoroughly enjoyed the service. We enjoyed watching and taking part in a very different form of worship. We were fascinated by the order of service and the creative way of saying the Lord’s Prayer, and the unique method of collecting the offering. We enjoyed the rockin’ music. It was a wonderful morning of worshipping with others I don’t usually worship with and knowing this is what heaven will be like. What could be better than that.

The congregation seemed genuinely glad to have us there and were very gracious in their welcome. They made us feel very comfortable.

BUT………

Can the mingling of our two congregations really accomplish anything in our community? Can the violence actually be abated just because we visit each other’s church? At first glance, one could say how naive to think that way.

I had never thought about my safety. I am perhaps very naive in this regard. But sometimes naivety be a good thing. And where does one begin to mend the wounds if not through people who claim faith in God? Other  solutions certainly haven’t worked.

My husband suggested to our pastor that there needs to be more than just visiting each other’s service. Maybe a picnic. But that presents problems, too.

How many of our church members would go to a picnic if they worried about their safety? That’s not far-fetched. There might well be some who would show up with concealed weapons. What then?

I asked my husband how he would feel about going to a picnic that he suggested after we discussed the “gun” possibility. He said he would definitely attend. I would, too.

Getting a handle on the violence has to start somewhere, doesn’t it?

My husband and I have often talked about the United State’s role in the rest of the world. Like Iraq, for example. We’ve often said that ultimately it’s up to the people in any given country to bring about their own peace.

If that’s true for them, it’s true for those of us in my community, isn’t it?

I don’t know how this will end, if it will accomplish anything good at all. But at least that Sunday it felt like it was possible. I can’t but wonder if more churches tried this, if there would be a ground swell that sparks a movement to peace.

God bless and I hope you have a good day.

2 replies »

  1. Most people I know avoid driving in that section of town even during the day. It’s that bad. People living in my part of town are afraid to drive in their part of town.

    While violence is often concentrated in geographically small areas; by no means is it limited to those areas. Think about how many times you’ve seen someone on the news saying “This type of thing doesn’t happen in XXXX”.

    Nor can we always control where we ended up or who ends up in our area. Local news often shows reports of people being arrested in areas far from where the violence is concentrated.

    How many of our church members would go to a picnic if they worried about their safety?

    Let me ask this – given the history of shootings/bombings/etc in churches; why assume that your church is ‘safe’?

    Between robberies (churches are often targeted for vehicle break ins and the buildings are often targeted) and domestic violence spilling over into public; churches don’t offer any greater safety than the streets.

    here might well be some who would show up with concealed weapons. What then?

    That is a good question…..but I’m wondering what is the thought behind it?

    Those who chose to carry concealed firearms are dangerous? Unable to contain their violence?

    There are approximately 322,000 people adults in Michigan with concealed firearm licenses. Given an approximate adult population of 7.6 million; that means out of 100 people 4 are likely to have a license to carry concealed.

    I am not sure about Michigan but Texas tracks the crime rates/convictions of those with licenses to carry. Never has the conviction rate been above 0.5% of all convictions. That was not long after the law was changed and people were still learning where they could and could not carry. Currently the conviction rate is 0.18% of all convictions.

    Have you considered that those who carry firearms could be reducing violence by stopping or preventing crimes?

    Bob S.

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    • Thanks so much Bob for your well-thought out response.
      First of all, my husband is a hunter and owns many guns. He is also considering getting a permit for a concealed weapon because we have a lot if bear near our cabin. So obviously we are supporters of gun possession.

      As far as our community, there is a far above normal amount of shootings and murder in the section our town that I mentioned. It is a regular occurrence. While it could happen in my neighborhood, it hasn’t.
      The point of my post was not about gun control but about how churches need to work together to help my community.

      But as long as you brought it up, I’m all for the 2nd amendment, but violence by
      guns is out-of-control and even my husband, the avid hunter, is all for restrictions.
      Thank you for commenting.

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