A Nation of Fear

If we would put as much effort into loving our fellow humans as we do now in fearing them and arming ourselves to kill them, we would not live in paranoid fear of each other as we now do..   Fear dominates Kansas and most of our nation.

That we are in constant fear  of each other is evidenced by the headline in the Wichita Eagle on Thursday, June 6, 2013—“More apply to carry guns”.   In reading the article I found that during the last 10 months of this fiscal year in the state of Kansas, 22,124 applications for concealed carry of guns have been made!!   That is 22, 124.    That is up from the 12,408 applications in fiscal year 2012 and 9, 418 applications in fiscal year 2011.   Twice as many the first 20 months of this fiscal year than the two years before  added together!!  Of course in Kansas there is no law now against open carrying of guns by anyone.  

The same edition of The Wichita Eagle editorializes (Activist, Reckless Session”)  about the laws passed by our current Kansas legislature who “disregarded preferences for the regents (of our colleges) as well as cities and counties in forcing them to choose between allowing concealed guns in their facilities or spending big bucks necessary to secure entrances with guards and metal detectors.”    The legislature’s argument was that we  must protect ourselves from such things as the Boston bombing and the shootings at schools by everyone arming themselves.   (Please enlighten me how anyone with a gun could have prevented the Boston bombing?)

Why are we buying so many guns and applying to conceal their carrying?  Because we have become a nation filled with fear of each other and therein lies a  huge human problem!   It is the same problem that Jesus faced and the reason he was executed.   As Richard Rohr, in his book “Immortal Diamond” puts it:   “ Jesus’ death was not solving any cosmic problem whatsoever, but revealing to us our own human problem:  that we fear, and we kill what we should love!

Rohr states elsewhere in the same book:  :  “The anger and mutual disrespect that I find among both conservative and progressive Christians today is really quite disturbing.  It feels aligned much more with political ideologies of Right and Left than any immersion in the beautiful love of God.   Jihadism and Zionism have (also) become the death knell of any remaining beauty in religion for many sincere seekers all ove the world.   It is all so sad that we would regress so far in the name of God, who wants only to lead us forward.”  (p.91)

If our religion does not transform our fear into compassion and love for our fellow-humans and instead leaves us with fear and hatred for them, then our religion is more a part of the problem of our times  than the solution, and it has nothing to do with a God of love!

Our fear is really one of the fear of death.  Americans do not handle death well.   We do all we can to prolong life and avoid death.   Only when circumstances force us, do we admit that sooner or later we all will die—some sooner, some later.    As Rohr again states in “Immortal Diamond” ,  “our fear of death is actually our fear of God.  If we resolve the God issue, we normally resolve the other (fear).   To totally resolve the God issue would be to totally resolve the death issue.” 

If we see God as being fully and finally revealed in the person of Jesus the Christ and his earthly teachings and ministry, , which Christians claim to do, then we cannot fail to see a God of unconditional love and compassion for his creation, including all of us.   If we truly believe in God’s unconditional love for us we will no longer be fearful of death, whenever and however it comes to us! 

Read Paul’s letter to the church at Rome,  chapter 8, verses 31-39:     If God is for us, who is against us?   He who did not withhold his own Son but gave him up for all of us will he not with him also give us everything else?….Who will separate us from the love of Christ?   Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?….No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.   For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The consequences for us individually and as a nation to continue on our present path of fear of each other and arming ourselves to kill each other  will lead to our destruction at our own hands!!

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