Searching For Relevance
"How's Your Soul?"
February 23, 2018
I would like to thank those who responded to my “blog” last week regarding the Parkland High School Shooting. All of us struggle with what appears to be the rapidly rising frequency of senseless violence in our country, fueled by the vitriolic words and intransigent attitudes of individuals and groups who hold opposing viewpoints and reactionary answers. I am convinced that if we truly seek the good of our society with open-mindedness, we can find a way to make everyone safer.
I am reminded of how, in a similar way, our constitution guarantees each of us, free speech, yet we accept legally imposed limitations on this right. In fact, these limitations are already being pressed harder as the public is calling for law enforcement to more aggressively respond to questionable or concerning posts on social media. This week, youth in our own community have been confronted by this new reality as they have come face-to-face with law enforcement as the result for specific on-line posts. I’m OK with that! However, if we accept increased limitations to free speech, based upon our concern for mutual safety, can we not also, with civility, discuss what it means to “bear arms?” And I don’t disagree with the counterpoint to this position, which is, “The internet has changed everything regarding free speech.” It has!!! But, so has the advancement of weaponry designed to swiftly, and most effectively, kill min significant numbers. We can no longer just walk into a store and pick Sudafed off the shelves because people were using it in harmful and deadly ways. It’s still available, just less convenient. And we live with this legal change to save lives — so why does this reasoning not apply to all matters concerning life and death?
But here, however, is where my pastor’s heart is most distressed, and my deep concerns emerge from something said by Wayne La Pierre, the national head of the NRA, this past Thursday, where in a presentation he said, “We must harden our schools.” However, what I thought he said was, “We must harden our souls.” I did hear this incorrectly, still . . . I took it to heart because, what I do see all of this undeniably doing is . . . “hardening our souls”. And that’s not only regrettable, but dangerous as a hardness of our souls, or hearts in even one area bears the danger of quickly bleed into all areas.
Remember how Pharoah, being repeatedly confronted by Moses to free the Hebrew slaves, would not, “Let the people go!” He came very close to doing so on several occasions, but then, “his heart hardened” and he said, “No!” The result of this was that the plagues attacking his people increased, coming closer and closer, culminating with the death of his son. It was only then that Pharaoh freed the Hebrew slaves — unfortunately then, was too late to save the life of his son.
Let us work toward open minds and a civility of spirit in order to work through the important issues of our times. No child should go to school in fear. None of us should be concerned about attending public events, including church. These are the true privileges of being a citizen in this great nation! Hard though it may be to press forward, doing nothing will accomplish nothing. Just as “hardening our hearts” will only lead to more anger and discord. The life of Pharoah’s so could have been saved. May we not forget that!
Rev. Dr. Keith A,. Haemmelmann