Preparing to co-host a daily one hour talk radio program requires reading....lots of reading. Over the past few days, I have been overwhelmed by the content of my reading. It seems everyday when I sit down front of my computer to peruse the internet, my senses are assulted with another heartbreaking story of violence.
Did I miss the memo from heaven warning us that we were about to collectively lose our minds? For example, in Hayward, Wisconsin good, hard-working, family loving, God-fearing people are reeling from the actions of Sang Vang, a hunger who, for unknown reasons allegedly decided to shoot his fellow hunters instead of deer. Six people are dead and six families are left trying to drag themselves out of the depths of despair to a vantage point where they can try to make sense of it all. Meawhile, the Hayard community, like the rest of the nation, tries to absorb the insanity of the loss.
In Plano, Texas Dena Schlosser, a 35 year old mother who is said to have had a history of suffering from postpartum depression, cut off both arms of her 11 month old daugher and with a chilling sense of calm announced her heinous crime to a 911 operator by simply saying, "I cut her arms off." Eerily, the operator could hear the faint strains of the gospel song, "He Touched Me" playing in the background.
Everyone, including friends, family, neighbors, and medical personnel have registered shock and utter amazement at the toal callousness of this seemingly normal mother. Speaking of Mrs. Scholesser, Texas Child Protective Services spokesperson Marissas Gonzales said, "There were never any indications of violence with this family. The children had always been healthy, happy, and cared for." So much for the way things used to be in the Scholsser family.
And the hits just keep on coming....it may soon be difficult for the NBA to field a team if the trend of violence continues both on and off the court. The latest incident happened during a game between the Indiana Pacers and the Detroit Pistons in Auburn Hill, Michigan. A court melee escalated into an arena wide free-for-all when angry players bounded into the stands to take on a group of drunken fans. In the aftermath, the NBA handed down the most severe penalities inn league history. Nine players will suffer some form of punishment, mostly game suspinsions without pay. At least nine people were injured and now it appears that three of the Pacers along with an undisclosed number of fans may face criminal charges.
Finally, a fight erupted Saturday near the end of the annual rival football game between the University of South Carolina and Clemson. To their credit, both schools have annnounced that even though they are bowl eligible, they will not accept a bowl invitation because of the incident. The fight clouded the mostly bright career of retiring Coach Lou Holtz.
What is going on here? When did we decide in America the best way to handle our differences is to ball up our fists or pick up a gun? Are you beginning to feel, like I do, the collective magnitude of these acts of violence? Their weight presses down on me, forcing me to consider the startling fact that ours may be a culture dangerously close to anarchy. But how can we expect anything less when we have allowed ourselves to devalue life and glorify acts of violence? From "gansta rap" to slasher movies, to viciously violent video games we have rejected what the Scripture calls "the peace of God that passes understanding" (Phil. 4:7) and substituted the "wine of violence" (Pr. 4:17).
Instead of following the Scriptural admonition to "choose life" (Deut. 30:19) we have chosen, through abortion and euthanasia to live in the "valley of the shadow of death" (Ps. 23:4). We rationalize violence by passing it off as a natural expression of anger instead of heeding the biblical instruction to "be angry and yet do not sin" (Eph. 4:26). We have accepted absurd labels for our violent behavior such as "road rage," "sports rage," black rage," etc. We placate our revulsion at such horrible acts of violence by convincing ourselves it is all just simply part of our environment.
Syndicated Columnist Kathleen Parker, commenting on the Abu Grab prison scandal said, "You can't steep your tea bag in a sewer and expect it to taste like Old Gray." If we want to erase these disturbing headlines we can't keep glorifying violence, killing our babies in the womb, and tolerating a spreading poison in the pool of common civility.
The Christian Worldview calls us to embrace the Prince of peace who said, "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives you do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, not let it be afraid" (John 14:27).