Those Mayans didn't exactly say what time the world will end today, so I feel the need to fulfill my obligation to write my blog, just in case the end comes this afternoon or later this evening.
This past week has been one of horrors unfolding in front of our eyes. The loss of all those innocent lives at Sandy Hook stuns me. Imagining the nightmares those poor kids will have for the rest of their lives haunts me. The heroism of the teachers and staff fills me with awe. And during President Obama's address to the mourners in Newtown, as he mentioned some teachers by name, you could hear as people cried out in their agony. It was gut wrenching, thinking that these could easily be our teachers. Our friends. Our school. Our kids.
Telling my children that a monster came into a school with a gun was one of the most difficult conversations I have had with my kids.
There has been no shortage of debates in the news this week as week as well, but one specific topic has struck a nerve with my good friend, Keri Graham. I am pleased to invite her to let loose something that has been weighing heavily on her mind.
In the wake of the horrific shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut last week, there was a lot of talk about “where was God” or that we should “put God back in schools”. I believe in a God that is bigger than human laws or school policies. I don't believe human beings are capable of keeping God out of anything. I think he was there in every child in that school.
But God also gave mankind free will, and there are a lot of ugly things as well as an incredible beauty which comes from that.
Out of all the thoughts being thrown around in the wake of the horrific shooting, this is the one to which I felt compelled to respond. I don’t think having prayer in school would have prevented this. And, let’s face it, most of those calling the loudest for “bringing God back” are referring to their own specific vision of God. I question whether they would encourage those of the Jewish, Muslim, Hindi or other faiths beside their own specific brand of “Christianity” to be practiced in our public schools.
Many of these same people are the first to speak out after every tragedy – God sent this to us because of gays, abortion, birth control, feminism or whatever their demon of choice is at the moment.
So, which is it ? A God so meek & mild that a policy keeping organized prayer time and the teaching of Creationism out of schools renders him powerless, or a God so powerful & full of vengeance that He summons hurricanes & tornados to destroy random towns to punish for some groups' perception of “vice”?
My own spiritual philosophy is ever evolving and complex. I was raised Southern Baptist, spent my teen years attending non-denominational Christian churches, and became Roman Catholic in my mid-twenties. I still identify as Christian, but I believe there is much to learn from other faiths and philosophies.
I believe God is in us and it is through us that he does his best work.
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