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Where Was God?

The Phone Call

I will never forget the phone call my wife answered early that morning of January 16, 2006 – ten years ago today. It was the kind of phone call that scars you for the rest of your life, making every other call that comes in the middle of the night one you’re afraid to answer.

The phone rang, my wife answered, and all I could hear were screams coming from the receiver. What could finally be understood through the uncontrollable crying were words one’s brain has a hard time processing…and then the words from someone less hysterical saying, “They’re dead.

It was a murder-suicide.

Back to Chattanooga

In just a few hours, or less, my wife and I were in Chattanooga (we broke a few speed limits). By the time we arrived the bodies were gone, but not the results of the shooting. It was a sight nothing on television or in the movies can adequately recreate. It was literally dumbfounding how much damage, how much carnage, could be unleashed by one person with just one handgun.

The walls, the ceiling, the floors, the floor on the level below, and even the garage below that – the effects were everywhere. Even the third floor of the massive home was not immune to the damage; that’s where I found a bullet lodged in a child’s bean bag.

Where Was God?

“Where was God?” some people asked. You might be tempted to ask the same thing. If God was real, why didn’t He do something?  Why didn’t He stop this? Why did He let this happen to such a likable, popular couple?  Why did children lose a father and a stepmother? Where was God?

Believe it or not, He was there the whole time, even long before the tragedy took place. He was there, letting a man and wife live as they chose, loving them by giving them their free will. He was there every time the conscience was stung, and every time it was seared. He was there, speaking through His Word, offering to guide, but never forcing.

God was there in the voice of those saying, “Don’t drink like that.” He was there in the voice of those saying, “Don’t stay here; he’s going to hurt you.” He was even there in the the last-second pleas to not shoot. Yes, God was there.

Here’s a question: Where was God the last time you made a bad choice? Where was God when you last idolized yourself by putting your wishes first? Where was God the last time you got angry and sinned, wounding your wife, your children, or a friend with an outburst you now regret? He was there; you just chose to do things your way, not His.

That’s what happened 10 years ago; God’s way was avoided and man’s way was chosen.   And on a stand adjacent to where the murder and suicide took place, on January 16, there was an open Bible…opened to Jeremiah 16. Read it for yourself.

Where was God? A better question might be, “Where are you?”

 

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Filed under abuse, Life/Death, wisdom

Gun Control (An Imaginary News Conference)

The News

As most of you have surely heard, a crazy, angry, self-described gay black man, festering Vester, shot three innocent people while on live television, killing two. All of the ones shot were white, and that was no coincidence; the killer described his reasoning for the shooting as racial in nature.

The last I heard (although I may be mistaken), Roanoke, VA is not burning. No, the only thing burning was the emotional currency in the pocket of gun-control advocates such as Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration. As a matter of fact, before either one had time to delete an email or get in a round of golf, both were demanding for more “common sense” gun legislation… to keep us safe.

Even FOX News, the relatively pro-conservative cable news network, had one of their top people, Megyn Kelly, interviewing the father and fiance of the slain reporter, Allison Parker. In less than 24 hours removed from the murder both were on national news pouring out their broken hearts – AND calling for more gun control… because, of course, “crazy people” should not be allowed to buy guns.

How I wish someone would interview me. Oh, but they can! At least in my imagination.

The Interview

News Anchor:  Today we have the Reverend Anthony Baker here with us in the studio. Reverend Baker is a pastor, an author, a father of three, a pet-lover, and a proud gun owner.

Me:  Thank you for having me.

N A:  Pastor Baker, with all the gun violence right now, how can a father and a pastor be pro-gun? How can you claim to be a role model in society, and yet own a gun?

Me:  Well, first off, I don’t claim to be a role model; those are your words. But with regard to your main question, I am “pro gun” the same way I am pro-tools.

N A: Excuse me? Can you clarify?

Me:  Absolutely! I am all about having the right tool for the job when it comes down to home repair, vehicle maintenance, etc. For example, I hate it when I get into a project, such as replacing the brakes on my car, only to find out I had the wrong tool to finish. Guns are nothing more than tools.

News A:  Tools for murder, you mean.

Me:  No, that’s not what I mean.

N A:  But just the other day innocent people were murdered by a crazy man with a gun. That was the tool he used. Don’t you think if we had more laws in place banning easy access to guns  then less people would have to suffer this horrible fate?

Me:  There are already more laws on the books than you can shake a stick at, but that doesn’t stop bad people from breaking them, does it?

N A:  And what is your point, exactly, Mr. Baker?

Me:  A gun is just a tool. Bad people use them to do bad things; good people use them when they have to. And if a bad person was trying to kill me or my family, then I’d prefer to have the best tool for the job. There’s nothing evil about the tool, only how it’s used.

N A:  Do you not think there should be more laws to keep crazy people, people with mental issues, from buying guns?

Me:  There are already laws that prohibit that, but they are only effective when you know who the crazy people are. Are you going to start testing everybody? Do you have a “crazy test” in mind?

N A:  A crazy test? Anyone diagnosed with a mental illness, for example. Should they be allowed to buy a gun like the shooter did?

Me:  No, a person who is legitimately mentally unstable should not be allowed to purchase a handgun. I have no problem with that. What I do have a problem with is where do you draw the line at “crazy,” especially when you emotionally push an agenda to “get guns out of the hands of crazy people”? How do you define what is crazy?

N A: What do you mean?

Me:  Isn’t it true that recent studies published by leading psychology journals have suggested that people of faith, like Christians, are brain damaged?

N A:  Are you being serious? That’s silly!

Me:  So, you’re already calling me silly, so is “crazy” just around the corner?

N A:  Oh, come on now… You can’t be serious.

Me:  Actually, I am very serious. Around 2011, I believe, an article was published in the Scientific American citing a study done at Duke University. The study claimed to prove that those who were religious, especially those who claimed to be “born again,” had brain damage, specifically atrophy to the hippocampal region.

N A:  I’ve never heard of that. I’m sure it’s just a…

Me:  And then there’s plenty of people like Dave Silverman, American Atheist president, who described the religious as “mentally damaged.” And then there’s the Left’s favorite talk show host, Bill Maher, who calls religion a “neurological disorder.” These are the type of people the White House has over for lunch and after-dinner games of Twister!

N A:  What does that have to do with…

Me:  These are the people our government listens to! The Billy Grahams of the world have fallen out of favor and are thought of as kooks! It’s the atheists, the radical left, the anti-God people like Mickey Weinstein who are are on the warpath against Christianity, so why isn’t it plausible that at some point the “crazy test” to weed out gun purchases will include Christians, or anyone of any faith that holds beliefs contrary to what the government says is healthy?

N A:  For one thing, there’s the First Amendment. Second, there’s the Second Amendment. In other words, the Constitution.

Me:  Ha ha ha! Are you serious! You must be crazy yourself! President Obama has already proved the Constitution means nothing when you’ve got an agenda to push through.

N A:  Don’t you think you’re being a little paranoid, Pastor Baker?

Me:  See, you’re already attaching labels. Pretty easy, isn’t it?

N A:  Pastor Baker, let’s get right down to the point, OK? Do you think there should be stricter gun control, or not?

Me:  Not.

N A:  You are a man of the cloth, a man of peace, and yet you don’t think we have a problem with guns in this country?

Me:  No, I don’t think we have a problem with guns in this country. Not at all.

N A:  That has to be the most uninformed answer I’ve ever heard! Don’t you watch the news? Haven’t you seen the murders? Haven’t you read the statistics?

Me:  Yes, I’ve seen all that, and it all points to something far bigger than a gun problem; it’s a heart problem. The old saying is as true as it’s ever been: “Guns don’t kill people; people kill people.” It’s a heart issue. It’s a nation that has turned its back on God in every area of life issue.

N A:  So, you think it’s that simple, do you? You don’t think getting the guns out of the hands of criminals and the insane would save lives?

Me:  Theoretically. Possibly. But this is America, you know. As the Japanese general once said, “There’s a gun behind every blade of grass.” You know there’s no way to get the guns out of the hands of the criminals. Only the law-abiding citizens would likely obey the law and give them up. The bad guys would just keep being bad and keep having guns. The good people would suffer, that’s all.

N A: Then do you think it’s hopeless?

Me:  No, it’s not hopeless. There’s always hope. But there will never be peace until the Prince of Peace comes back to reign. You called me a man of the cloth, a man of peace. I am, and that’s one thing I will continue to preach…peace. But I’m also a realist. As long as there are bigger bad guys out there, bigger guys than me who can hurt me, I will also preach, so to speak, the “peacemaker” philosophy of Samuel Colt.

N A:  So, are you saying you are not for any kind of gun control at all?

Me:  Absolutely not! No! All I am saying is that if only the bad guys have guns – and they will – then the good guys will always be victims. I think the logical thing to do would be put guns in the hands of good people, train them, and create an immediate deterrent to gun crime.

N A:  How in the world could that deter gun crime?

Me:  How many crooks would be foolish enough to continue to break in, rob, and assault if the average citizen was armed? Don’t you think the bad guy would think twice? I would, but then again, I’m not crazy.

And that’s how the interview would end.

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Filed under America, current events, General Observations