Incarnate Obscenity, Incarnate Decency
This blog will be laced with obscenities.
What occurred in Newtown Connecticut was obscenity incarnate.
Obscenity splashed across faces and walls and floors and the news.
Obscenity morphed into weeping parents and siblings and spouses and children, people planning funerals instead of celebrating the final days of Hannukah, and Advent, and preparing for Christmas, and Kwanzaa, and a new, new year.
What positively obscene tripe.
Friday’s horror is no action of God’s.
It is an action of a man who was profoundly mentally ill, it is a result of gun laws that are far too lenient, and it is the product of a society that tolerates violence far beyond any other country with whom we like to compare ourselves.
God is allowed in schools.
My children can pray any time they like.
God is not allowed to be taught in schools, and this notion, one I’ve seen far too many times since the sickening tragedy of yesterday, is proof positive about why I want to be in charge of who teaches my children about God and what they learn about that God, instead of some huckster like Huckabee masquerading in the guise of a public school teacher, spouting off this sort of religious madness, hoping that his or her position of authority will be enough to sway my children to buy into the nonsense.
This obscene nonsense.
Do you know that the Presbyterian, the ELCA, the United Methodist, the Episcopalian, and Roman Catholic traditions, all have on-the-books statements advocating for far stricter gun control?
Obscenity on top of obscenity that we even have to ask the question about whether now, perhaps now, or maybe not now, maybe not yet, we should revisit questions about our nation’s gun laws.
Here’s another obscenity:
It is easier to get guns then to get on-going, solid mental health care.
As many of you have heard or read from me, the New Testament Greek word soteria means ‘health,’ ‘healing,’ and ‘wholeness,’ although it’s translated in English Scripture as ‘salvation.’
Yes, there are people who are not saved. The ones who are not well. The ones who are not whole.
The Newtown shooter, Adam Lanza, he was not well. He was not whole.
He needed salvation in the form of profound mental health help or intervention.
And one more obscenity.
It’s a scary one for me to name, this Ph.D’d theologian, this ordained pastor, this confirmed Christian, this mother, this widow who still weeps over the obscenity of an accident over eight years ago:
It is obscene that we are still saying, “How long, O Lord, how long?”
It is obscene that such suffering persists.
And while I have some answers, some feeble responses, some echoes in the darkness, in these days, and on this night, it is right to recognize the obscenity of the silence.
In the dark of Good Friday cloaked in Advent, promises of soon-and-very-soon will not bring back children and teachers and the innocence ripped from those poor, poor babies who watched their world flash and pop apart.
It is right to linger in the obscenity of those shredded parents who are not tonight tucking in their children, of families who can only envision the fear in the hearts of their loved one’s last moments, and of the next ones, these ones yet-to-be-named, who will suffer the same, terrible turn-of-day at the hands of broken, unwell people who might just snap, splaying their madness onto the lives of innocents, while firing these obscene, obscene guns.
But, like a small light in the darkness, it is right to close with gratefulness for incarnate decency in the midst of unspeakable obscenity.
Make no mistake. God was there, in that school.
God was present protecting, responding, tending, holding, protesting, weeping over the obscenity of it all.
To those whose lives were saved, and to those who love them, that is no small light.
I pray that it can somehow, eventually, perhaps not yet though, be tipped, even just a bit, toward those who see now only endless dark.
I pray for decent light.
O Come O Come Emmanuel.