The recent events of the Parkland, Florida school shooting have stirred a flurry of emotions for people of all ages and all walks of life. So many are debating about whether there should be more gun control, or whether there needs to be more done in the way of mental health and wellness. Regardless of what you believe the challenge is, as it relates to these school shootings that seem to be happening with greater frequency, it’s my belief that the Church in America truly needs to be concerned.
I want to set aside the debate about guns and mental health for a moment, as I believe that these are merely symptoms of the real disease plaguing the nation. The prevalence of mass shootings on school grounds has seemingly become an epidemic since the April 20, 1999 shooting at Columbine High School. The real tragedy in each incident that has followed, is not that guns continue to be used, or that so many lives have been impacted. The real tragedy is that the Church has not noticed the one thing that truly connects each of these events: each violent offender was in emotional turmoil and lashing out because of the hurt that had built up over the course of time.
As many of you know, I am a firm believer that there are seven key molders of society, better known as the 7 mountains of cultural influence. It’s my belief that each of these incidents is evidence of the warfare being waged over the lives of our youth upon the mountain of family. Children are the legacy of the previous generation and it is through the youth that hope and potential are birthed.
It has been so easy to pass of the death of an individual here and there, when it’s a child gun down at school over drugs, a child succumbs to bullying and abuse both in the school and at home. However, when it becomes a matter of multiple lives being taken in masse, everyone stops and takes notice.
The concern for the Church needs to be how to become the source of ministry to hurting families, not just when tragedy happens, but how to minister to families where young people are bearing the weights of life that they were never designed to carry. The Church must become the hope for families in crisis, the help for a community that cannot find natural solutions to a greater spiritual ill. The mountain of family is where God shows Himself as father.
The book of Malachi speaks of how it is God’s heart to return the hearts of fathers to their children and the children to their fathers. There is a great divide that exists between children in America and their parents. Parents have become consumed by their jobs, trying not to become overcome by a digital age that is outsourcing job and displacing whole sectors of industry. Children are being engulfed by a generation of technology that has not come with limits or been given the wisdom how navigate it safely.
If the Church does not acknowledge its place as a spiritual watchman on the wall, to stand in the gap of a generation that is consumed by anger, bitterness, and hatred, to present God’s love that heals all wounds, we will continue to repeat the cycle of a downward spiral that will rip families further apart.
As watchman, the Church must be acutely aware of those entry points and exits where the enemy is seeking to capitalize on. Let the call for the Church be to intercede on the behalf of families who need to mend the brokenness, to restore love, values, and virtues. May the Church be a light in the darkness to become pillars and structural supports for families who may not know how to handle the fissures and tears of their own family fabric.
The shaking that is taking place on the mountain of family is not a new shaking. It is actually a sign of the shakings taking upon many of the other mountains. The mountain of media, government, education and business have all faced their own shakings related to abuses of love, power, and responsibility. The significance of the Parkland shooting being the second such event to happen on St. Valentine’s Day should be a prophetic sign that there needs to be a return to love and heal. The passing of Dr. Billy Graham one week later should also be a sign of the need for a generation who was impacted by his ministry needs to take up the mantle of love, grace, prayer and hope for this nation.
QUESTION: What concern(s) do you think the Church should have in regards to this most recent school shooting?