Kevin’s Conversations: Mourn With Those Who Mourn

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127 Responses

  1. Paige says:

    Amen. Indeed. Thank you Kevin.
    We can show love, mercy and grace in our own circles and hopefully give hope to others.

  2. Jean says:

    Different people channel their grieving in different ways, as well as try to bring comfort in different ways. Back in the early 80s, a woman, grieving the loss of her 13 year old daughter to a drunk driver, channeled her grief into founding MADD.

  3. Michael says:

    We’ve chosen our hills to die on and none of them have a cross…

  4. Jean says:

    I don’t understand your #3 Michael.

  5. Michael says:


    Let’s look at the aftermath of this latest massacre.

    I have friends who are disgusted with those who advocate some sort of gun control.
    I have other friends who are disgusted with those who reject any kind of gun control law.
    Everyone is disgusted with someone.

    The issue itself is not clarified, policy isn’t suggested, we just want to express disgust and anger at someone else who bears the image of God.

    Pick an issue…the outcome is the same.

    Christians should be in the forefront of bringing people together to find real solutions to our problems…we are supposed to be the sacrificial peacemakers.

    Instead, we pick a side and baptize it and war like the heathen.

    That disgusts me, because I find disgust delicious as well…

  6. Michael says:

    I’m struggling with my own tendency to reclusiveness.

    I loathe conflict for the sake of conflict and that is now our most popular sport.

    There are days when it seems utterly pointless to try to communicate any thing you hope is of value because someone will decide that they want to have conflict with you about anything.

  7. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I don’t know where you get your information (well I do – social media) but if you were to do some ‘real world’ interaction you would see that Christians, individually, through their churches and even through the dreaded para church organizations are doing tremendous work right now to help and to bring people together.

    For you to miss this is… well, a slap in the face.

  8. Kevin H says:

    What to do about guns I believe is an important issue. How we speak to the issue and our initiative to understand the “other side” and to find common ground I think often leaves much to be desired. These things often seem to be at their worst after a tragedy involving guns.

    Strong emotions are totally understandable, but they still can’t excuse behavior that is less than constructive. And our swiftness to fight I think is an unfortunate symptom of our current culture.

  9. Michael says:


    Instead of offering yet another insult and invitation to conflict, why don’t you give us some examples of what you’re talking about.

    Your comment about my “real world” interactions are laughable…if only you knew.

    But then, you wouldn’t feel right about creating conflict…

  10. Michael says:


    The real problem is that we enjoy the current culture…

  11. Kevin H says:

    Yes, there are Christians and others who are doing good work to care for people and to bring people together in the wake of tragedy. There always have been and hopefully always will. We can’t lose sight of that.

    However, the division and loathing for those on the “other side” and disinterest in understanding has most certainly been growing in our culture over the past 5-10 years. I believe social media is the leading cause for this, but it also has effects in real life. More and more over the past couple years I have heard people in real life spewing hatred and slander and disrespect towards those on the “other side”. Much of it they probably learned somehow through social media and/or the internet.

  12. Kevin H says:


    Yes, we often enjoy gratifying our feelings of indignation and getting our pound of flesh.

  13. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Simple answer – any Christian who works in the nursing profession in Las Vegas is working through their vocation to help and serve others – with no indication to divide.

    Churches in our town are taking up donations – a large church has set up a 3 day blood drive with the Red Cross – with no indication to divide.

    Are you stating that the churches of Medford are doing nothing to help people in any distress but instead just fight each other?

    Why was my comment labeled a another chance to divide – and yours which was much more condemning of a whole population not labeled so?

  14. Duane Arnold says:

    #11 Kevin

    Social media gives people the courage (and sometimes the anonymity) to say outrageous and insulting things because the person is not standing in front of them. Then, of course, we have the pundits who “model” outrage – on both sides – and people soon imitate their antics.

    A friend of mine is doing an academic study on self-identified Christian groups who constantly use the language of conflict – “culture wars”, “go to the barricades”, “defeating our enemies”, etc. His initial conclusion is that this is, as I said in a written piece, “the new normal”.

    Breaking out of the cycle calls for the better angels of our nature to come to the forefront.

  15. Jean says:


    “Christians should be in the forefront of bringing people together to find real solutions to our problems…we are supposed to be the sacrificial peacemakers.”

    I agree with you to a point. However, the church is not a mediation service. We are not a neutral state in the midst of warring parties.

    The peace Christians offer is the peace of Christ. We salt society with Christ-like love for our neighbors. And: “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

    So, where the sacrificial element comes in to play is in not seeking our own advantage to the detriment of our neighbor. And I might add that our children and grandchildren also encompass our neighbors.

  16. Michael says:


    We’re talking about two different things as you are well aware.

  17. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I will bet I could walk into any church in town (and you could do the same in your town) and say, I want to help with the tragedy in Las Vegas – how can I help. My thought is that they have set something up for their members, or the have a joint effort with someone else or they would point to an organization – and will not ask me my position on gun control.

  18. John 20:29 says:

    in my lifetime there has been an interesting shift in the attitude that predominates – we have gone from an expectation that government existed as an arms length entity to an expectation tasking government toward legislating all aspects of life to a messianic utopia

    Geat, honest and thoughtful post, Kevin

  19. John 20:29 says:

    Trump makes an interesting pivot … Everything wrong is because Trump is President to everything is wrong because of the anti-Trump rhetoric
    We need a loud and foolish Christian to stand up and shout at the Church to shut up, stand down – turn our hearts and minds toward seeking God and His Kingdom
    Christian! Put down your ipad!!!
    Easy to say as I type away here. ?

  20. Xenia says:

    I think what MLD is saying- and I agree with him, if he will accept words of agreement from a heretic – is that people inside churches are not beating each other up, they are contributing in a physical way through their various ministries. Since the liberals attend liberal churches and the conservatives attend conservative churches, there is probably very little shouting going on since they have found the group of people they are comfortable working with.

    Where you will get conflict is on the internet, which is why I have no intention of reading Michael Horton’s condemnation, I suppose it is, of Pat Robertson. This is all happening on TV and the Internet and while it riles people up, it does little but contribute to the malaise and unrest. I think we should look to what Christians are actually doing in their churches rather than reading what these people, who are total strangers to us and not part of our parishes, are shouting at each other.

  21. Xenia says:

    As to gun control, I am for it, but I think it is too late. There are too many guns (of a certain type, I’m talking about) already in the country to be able to get rid of them all. The gun culture is too deeply entrenched in “Americanism” (whatever that is) and it’s gotten all balled up with Christianity and American freedoms etc. GOP politicians, no matter what private opinions they might hold, have to vote against gun control or else the NRA will come after them with metaphorical machine guns. So it’s too late.

  22. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I think if you have seen candlelight interfaith prayer and vigil services in your community, you have seen that Christians are willing to put aside differences and die on a hill with a cross.

  23. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Xenia, I did not say you were a heretic. I was speaking institutionally that the RCC & EO hold heretical teachings on the topic discussed. I say continually that the ELCA is apostate, but I know many if not most are saved as they knew the truth before they joined or they have been influenced from the outside.

  24. Kevin H says:


    As to your #21, I would agree that there is probably not much shouting going on in churches as people work within their ministries. Most people who are part of the same church are working along side those with whom they would find a lot of agreement.

    The one downside can be, however, even as they are doing their good work, there are some conversations going on here and there where there is disparagement of those who are different from them, theologically or politically. These conversations help to reinforce and embolden beliefs of just how wrong and unworthy are the beliefs and ideas, if not even the people themselves, of those on the “other side”. And then those emboldened beliefs can play out adversely on social media or when encountering someone from the “other side” in real life.

  25. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    A point about gun control – everybody believes in gun control – it’s a matter of degree.

  26. Kevin H says:

    One qualification to my last comment – two Christians or a group of Christians speaking of disagreement or difficulties they have with others is fine. But just as I have many times written about, at some point a line can be crossed where the “others” are seen more as enemies and they and their ideas are spoken about in a wrongfully attacking or disdainful way, if not even sometimes in slanderous fashions.

  27. Xenia says:

    Xenia, I did not say you were a heretic<<<

    Thank you!

  28. Jean says:

    “A point about gun control – everybody believes in gun control – it’s a matter of degree.”

    That’s a laughable statement.

  29. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Well, do you think anyone believes that a 3rd grade teacher should be allowed to bring a box of loaded guns to class and hand them out to his students?

  30. Jean says:

    Exactly my point. Folks who draw the line at teachers handing loaded guns to a class of 3rd graders certainly believe in gun control – to a degree.

  31. John 20:29 says:

    From what I have seen reported on TV, the “man on the street,” the average American gave a wonderful account of himself there in Las Vegas Sunday night… when real life hits us where we live we do pretty good ….. It’s when we try to stand back and philosophise grand solutions that we get all tangled up… LOL

    Dunno how much more worldwide chaos mankind can absorb… time will tell

    Thy Kingdom come, oh Lord – Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven… and, in the meantime, give us the wisdom and clarity to reject false christs, reject chasing utopian false peace

  32. Xenia says:

    As to third graders, the gun enthusiasts I know would say a third grader should be taught how to use guns, so yes, hand them out, with instruction. My son thinks everyone should be allowed to take loaded hand guns onto airplanes.

  33. Dan from Georgia says:

    Good article Kevin. I could vent rage here. But I’m not going there. Instead I will relate to you in that I too am an introvert and don’t always know what to say in the face of loss or tragedy. So I say little. And I think that is sometimes the right way to go. I also don’t talk because I feel it is a useless gesture to express what I feel. Instead I wish I could DO something. But usually I feel handcuffed and unable to act meaningfully. I am also much better at writing what I need to express, as opposed to verbally expressing it. This allows me time to parse my thoughts without the distraction of other people shouting me down before I can finish.

    Anyways, good article again!

  34. Duane Arnold says:

    #33 Xenia/Jean

    Having gone to numerous gun shows, the third graders with instructions might be preferable to some of the other buyers and sellers that I’ve seen…

  35. John 20:29 says:

    Gun control is a red herring… evil will find expression … the drive-by gang shooter or the convenience store bandit – the person immersed in evil – is not going away even if God, Himself, dispatched a band of angels to confiscate every bullet propelling device on the planet … granted, it would stop the occasional accidental shooting … but if you think evil depends on guns to find expression, you live in the bubble I once occupied – a fragile place of delusion
    That said, if we were to focus on mass destruction weaponry that no civilian should possess, and doing a much better job mentoring fatherless and at risk youth, waging a real war on drug traffic, then we might be able to exercise some influence on destructive patterns that trouble our lives today

    But a call for “gun control” is simplistic, destructive and worse, is just a diversion from tougher, more pressing and necessary work … or so it appears from here

  36. Jean says:

    Well, in one expected comment (#36), MLD at #26 has been proven wrong.

  37. Xenia says:

    Em, if the weapon doesn’t matter, then why should we be concerned that Kim of NK has nukes? It’s the man who kills, not the weapon, right?

    We are concerned because a nuclear bomb has the ability to kill thousands.
    Some of the weapons that appear to be legal in some states have the ability to kill dozens with one pull of the trigger.

    No one is talking about taking away deer rifles.

  38. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Well Jean is wrong again. How does Em’s 36 disprove my 26?
    Em believes in gun control laws – the is a reason she put quotes around the term gun control.
    Watch this Em, do you believe cities should have laws in place restricting the discharge of firearms in the city limits?

  39. John 20:29 says:

    Xenia and Jean… you both have the intellectual bona videos to have read my #36 more clearly than posts #37 & 38 would indicate… but thank you for trying…

    “Gun control” is a label that distracts and detracts from our real problems

  40. John 20:29 says:

    this little gadget got me again … bona fides NOT video … grrr
    #39 – are there cities where it IS legal to do so? ?

  41. Xenia says:

    … more pressing and necessary work <<<

    Em, could you give some examples?

  42. Jean says:


    At #22, you wrote: “So it’s too late.”

    Apparently, you are correct. A modern American eulogy.

  43. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Em, I don’t know if all cities restrict firing guns in the city. I just wanted to point out, there is a ‘gun control’s that I am sure all agree too. I don’t think you would find the NRA lobbying city council meetings to remove such restrictions.

  44. John 20:29 says:

    Xenia, the “more pressing …” ? … well the ones previously mentioned:
    ” … mass destruction weaponry… mentoring fatherless and at risk youth … drug trafficking… ”
    and I could add to that list an item that human rights activists so-called has made impossible, or nearly so, the rehabilitation of those who’ve been incarcerated.due to a bad environment that is perpetuating

    You mentioned the proliferating nuclear threats in the hands of bad, possibly deranged leaders… yes, that ought to receive some attention – we’re 25+ years. behind the curve in that… but it must have been the distraction caused by the NRA bucking gun control, eh? just joking – a small absurdity attack here. ?

    God keep any give us all wisdom and understanding

  45. Duane Arnold says:

    A .50 caliber sniper rifle that can accurately deliver an armor piercing bullet at the distance of a mile is not for deer hunting…

    An AK-47 with an extended 75 round clip and a bump stock that simulates full automatic firing is not for deer hunting or target practice…

    I could fill up this entire thread with examples of guns that are designed for a single purpose… killing people.

    We now have over 350 million guns in America (more than one for every person living in the United States). Not sure about you, but I don’t feel a great deal safer.

    Admittedly, we cannot “solve” the issue, but surely people of good will can put forward reasonable ideas to mitigate the carnage.

  46. John 20:29 says:

    One point on the sniper rifle… the average person could not de!iver a kill of even a wounding shot with that gun at anywhere near that distance … FWIW. …
    and most military weaponry IS designed for killing people. A certain number do come in the front gate and out the back & onto the black market, tho… Can we pass laws to stop that? Maybe there are already laws against such? Hmmm

  47. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    There is a good chance that 99.9% of all privately held assault weapons have not been used in mass killings. Therefore we may be barking up the wrong tree. This is a people problem, so why don’t we get serious about law & order against people?
    Everyone bemoans gun violence (myself included) – why don’t we try a mandatory death penalty for anyone committing any crime with a gun?

  48. Jean says:


    When 10 of the tribes of Israel broke away from Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, they made Jeroboam king over Israel. So that they would not go to Jerusalem to worship God in the Temple, Jeroboam made two golden calves for them to worship in their territory.

    Idols require priests and sacrifices. We read these accounts in astonishment that anyone would substitute an idol for God as the object of their devotion and worship. We probably think we are wiser than the Israelites.

  49. John 20:29 says:

    MLD, are you exaggerating to make a point? Again?
    But, after a certain age, such a crime should/could result in a mandatory life sentence…
    But then you run into the drive by shooters (which one shot the gun?) and the ACLU would love the chance to bill the government for the defense of the poor criminal… after all he didn’t shoot anybody, he just held the gun to persuade…
    I’m afraid we’re trying to legislate what can’t be legislated… dunno…

  50. John 20:29 says:

    Jean, let’s all move to Judah, then. ?

  51. filbertz says:

    I’m disappointed in the shallow arguments passionately voiced by so many people. I don’t see many folks quietly, pensively, purposefully listening to voices from an opposing position; instead it’s like listening to a bus full of Jr. High schoolers on a sugar high.

  52. John 20:29 says:

    filbertz, pondering your 52… is it possible that we are looking for answers to something that has no answers? only points of view?

  53. Duane Arnold says:

    It is easy enough to see the militarization of what began as sports weapons. Anecdotally, I have a number of vet friends who are, frankly, offended by people buying up military styled weapons, camo, etc…. yet never desired or offered to serve in the military. They consider it to be “dressing up” to massage male egos. But I digress. The gun manufacturers know that a military, “killing”, look and feel will sell their product. It is about money… not public safety.

  54. Josh The Baptist says:

    “why don’t we try a mandatory death penalty for anyone committing any crime with a gun?”

    Most of these mass shooters carry out the death sentence on themselves.

  55. Xenia says:

    I am pro-life. That means no military-style weapons in private hands, compassionate health care policies, compassionate immigration and refugee policies, no death penalty, a re-assessment of American warfare policies and oh yeah, no abortion.

    Who else is pro-life here?

  56. Jean says:

    Xenia, I’m with you!

  57. Josh The Baptist says:

    @ 56 – Yes, me too.

    However, the issue comes in trying to figure out how to bring those things about. That’s where good people disagree.

  58. Xenia says:

    Josh, that’s true. These are ideals.

  59. John 20:29 says:

    Xenia, your question is more complicated than a simple affirmation… we’re now obviously living in a world of sin and, therefore, death also…
    I say this because the problems you and yours work and long to see resolved maybe can’t be in time… dunno
    Even tho a millennial reign of Christ (before the new heavens and earth) doesn’t fit the theology of most folk here, it does seem a likelihood to me. If my camp is right, I can’t wait to see the assignment that our Lord gives to you and Michael, too – maybe it will be as kind hearted “enforcers” of one kind or another … then again you are a teacher and there’ll be a need for them too
    Sorry if I sound too heavenly minded to be of any earthly good. ?

  60. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    How does the mere possession of a military style weapon render one as not pro life?

  61. Josh The Baptist says:

    Maybe like the possession of a morning after pill?

    The idea is that if we restrict these convenient killers, life proliferates.

  62. Duane Arnold says:


    I’m with you… but you know that…

  63. JoelG says:

    In this world being pro-life might mean having bigger guns and more nukes than the bad guys. Utopia isn’t going to happen in this life.

  64. Josh The Baptist says:

    Should turning the other cheek ever be considered?

  65. JoelG says:

    Does God expect the US government to turn the other cheek when the likes of Kim threaten innocent lives of its citizens?

    Or what about a parent protecting family from home invaders?

    It gets complicated.

  66. covered says:

    I recently attended a Safety / Security seminar in Medford hosted by our insurance carrier and sat through 7 hours of scenarios for carrying weapons in church. We saw videos of different incidents some good and some bad on what happens (more common than you would think), in churches.

    One of the discussions that surprised me was learning that if I submit the names and pertinent docs pertaining to the trainining i.e. military, law enforcement, private etc, then those individuals as well as the church will be covered from any damages resulting from an incident involving a shooting.

    I asked several pastor’s in attendance what their thoughts are on congregants carrying weapons in church and all thought it was a good idea. I know that Oregon is an open carry state but was still a bit surprised.

    I would never carry on the pulpit but plan in obtaining my CCW in the near future. In CA, and especially in the rural area I live in, this would be quite acceptable.

  67. covered says:

    Let me re-phrase something I just posted. I should have said, “I live in a small, rural area in CA and carrying a weapon would be quite acceptable where I live”.

  68. bob1 says:

    ‘Does God expect the US government to turn the other cheek when the likes of Kim threaten innocent lives of its citizens?’

    I really don’t think N. Korea qualifies in your “turn the other cheek” narrative.

    Do you realize there are scores of other countries around the world who are run by totalitarians? With them also, the ‘turn the other cheek’ rubric is meaningless.

    What the current administration doesn’t seem to get, IMHO, is that attacking NK would result in millions and millions of lives snuffed out — not even necessarily ours. South Korea, Japan, etc. are a hell of a lot closer to NK than we are. It’s not all about us — far from it. And if it is, it’s only because our current President has acted like an angry, pouting child with regard to NK.

  69. Duane Arnold says:

    #47 Em

    Just to be clear, the sniper rifle does not have to been stolen from the military… they are readily available for purchase online.

  70. JoelG says:


    I hear you. Yes I’m aware there are totalitarians around the world. That’s why, if for no other reason, I’m glad we have Trump as our president. He understands bullies because he’s one himself. And they think he just might be crazy enough to follow through with his threats, thereby deterring war.

    The same philosophy applies to gun ownership. Deterrents protect the innocent, IMV. If ciminals can get their hands in military style weapons, why not give the law-abiding citizen the same opportunity?

  71. Josh the Baptist says:

    JoelG – That strategy just hasn’t worked.

  72. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Suggestions that turning the other cheek applies to government and military shows 100% confusion of the 2 kingdom’s.

  73. Josh the Baptist says:

    MLD – First reread my actual question about turning the other cheek before reading too much into it.

    2nd – I’ve always admitted to being a 1 Kingdom guy, not 2 Kingdom, but I think that’s an over reach in this instance.

  74. JoelG says:


    It may not work perfectly but reduce the military budget, remove police from the streets and ban more guns and see what happens.

    I guess the question is where does one kingdom end and the other begin. Even Covered (a pastor I’m assuming) is going to carry a gun in church. I see turning the other cheek applying to personal insults rather than threats to innocent life.

  75. JoelG says:

    Correction – Covered wouldn’t carry at the pulpit.

  76. covered says:

    Hey Joel,

    I could have done a better job of sharing my thoughts about carrying a gun and specifically me (a pastor) carrying a gun. I will not carry in the church at all even though I plan on obtaining a CCW Permit.

    In the area where I live, my wife and I love to go into very rural areas camping and unfortunately, there have been occasions when we have encountered folks who are armed and seeking trouble.

    If necessary in order to protect my wife, I would have no problem using my weapon.

    In the church that I pastor, there are several folks working in law enforcement who carry in church. I am glad that they are there. I hate that we have come to a time and place where it is necessary to carry a weapon in church.

    While attending the Conference I referenced above, one of the speaker’s suggested that Pastor’s and leaders protecting God’s people means by any means, including folks carrying a weapon in church. Now again, we are talking about Oregon being an open carry stated but this was an insurance guy from Arizona and a Retired Cop also from Arizona which is also an open carry state.

  77. JoelG says:

    Thanks Covered. In light of your good reason to carry a gun, when does Jesus’ command to turn the other cheek come into play? I don’t mean to put you on the spot.

  78. Josh the Baptist says:

    For the record, my pastor is always carrying.

  79. Josh the Baptist says:

    But, I do think “turn the other cheek” is something to take into consideration, even nationally, and even in regards to our families.

  80. JoelG says:

    Yeah it’s a tough question. Earlier this week or last someone made the observation that Jesus, when he encountered Roman soldiers (at least in the written records), didn’t tell them to stop soldiering but simply commended the ones who had faith.

  81. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh, I thought in the south that all the preachers have a hollowed out bible with a gun in it. Perhaps I have watched too many Robert Mitchum westerns. 🙂

  82. covered says:


    I will be very brief in my response as I have to run and wont be back for a while. Your question to me was, “…when does Jesus’ command to turn the other cheek come into play?”

    In my opinion, Jesus was addressing how the scribes and Pharisees were twisting scripture to meet their needs or opinions in Matt 5:38. What the legalistic Jews were doing was using Ex 24 to justify retaliation without any limits. In light of that, what I see Jesus saying, is to turn the other cheek when someone slaps you. I am not talking about being slapped. I am talking about someone physically attacking my wife. Not sure if I would shoot someone who may be attacking me. I will however, have no problem using a weapon to protect my wife, kids or grandkids.

    I had this discussion with another pastor recently and my position was similar to what yours seems to be. The pastor responded by telling me that the Word also says that if we repent, we are forgiven 🙂 maybe that’s where I stand on this…

  83. covered says:

    Joel, as a side note, it’s my understanding that slapping someone in that day was considered an insult and not necessarily a challenge to fight. I will let the local scholars here straighten me out on that statement.

  84. Duane Arnold says:


    No matter how one tries to turn it around, the fact is that for the first 300 years of the Church non-violence, even if attacked, was the rule. Military service was not allowed and, if a convert came from the military, he was enjoined not to kill on penalty of being cast out of the Church. For those seeking baptism, people with a military background were placed on a par with prostitutes in terms of showing true amendment of their life and conduct. There are dozens of references in the Ante-Nicene Fathers.

    Now, we can say that doctrine developed to include “just war” theories and all the rest, but we need to be honest about interpreting Scripture and the early tradition.

    For myself, carrying a weapon in church is close to blasphemous, no matter the provocation.

  85. Josh the Baptist says:

    @ 82 – MLD – My pastor usually has his gun in an ankle holster.

  86. Xenia says:

    Even now, Duane, if a soldier or police officer kills someone in the line of duty, he is still required to confess this and there may be a penance applied. It’s not the same as murder, but it’s still the taking of a life and a tragedy and there needs to be sorrow.

  87. Josh the Baptist says:

    “For myself, carrying a weapon in church is close to blasphemous, no matter the provocation.”

    Blasphemy is obviously an overstatement.

  88. Xenia says:

    Duane, it is hard to reconcile a pastor preaching the Gospel of Peace who has an gun strapped to his ankle.

    Will Christ returns, will He find faith on the Earth?

  89. Xenia says:

    “When violence must be used as a lesser evil to prevent greater evils, it can never be blessed as such, it must always be repented of, and it must never be identified with perfect Christian morality.”

    ^^^ From the website of the Orthodox Church in America

  90. Michael says:

    Preston Sprinkle’s book “Fight” is well worth reading on this topic.

    Violence is one of those areas where the Bible is so counter intuitive and so lacking in pragmatism that we find a way to claim that it doesn’t mean what it says.

    The modern god is pragmatism…and he is full of wrath when ignored.

  91. Duane Arnold says:

    #88 Josh

    From the perspective of the early Church, “blasphemous” may be an understatement…

  92. Duane Arnold says:

    “[Christians] are not allowed to kill, but they must be ready to be put to death themselves… it is not permitted the guiltless to put even the guilty to death.” “God wished iron to be used for the cultivation of the earth, and therefore it should not be used to take human life.”

    Cyprian of Carthage (c. 250)

  93. Xenia says:

    St. Basil the Great thought three years away from the Eucharist might be adequate penance for a soldier who killed someone in war.

    “Our fathers did not consider killings committed in the course of wars to be classifiable as murders at all, on the score, it seems to me, of allowing a pardon to men fighting in defense of sobriety and piety. Perhaps, though, it might be advisable to refuse them communion for three years, on the ground that their hands are not clean.”

  94. Xenia says:

    I think where it gets difficult is killing someone to protect other people.

  95. Josh the Baptist says:

    Xenia, it is a cultural thing.
    First – I don’t like guns. Don’t own any. The only real gun my kids have ever seen was on my pastors ankle when his pants rode up one day in the office.

    We are very rural, backwoods kind of people. Pastor grew up on a farm with guns. He hunts all the time. Eats everything from squirrel to possum…that kind of guy. He was in the military, etc. A gun doesn’t mean the same thing to him that it does to me. Again, it’s just part of his culture. Perfect? Surely not, but nowhere near blasphemy.

  96. Xenia says:

    Josh, my family has lived in rural North Carolina for 300 years and most of the men are armed to the teeth. I understand the culture, I just don’t find this aspect of it to be particularly Christian. (I’m not talking about hunting and eating possums.)

  97. Josh the Baptist says:

    Xenia – I would tend to agree with you, but in the same way that many other things we deal with daily are cultural and not Christian. Again, I’m arguing for “turn the other cheek”, I just thought blasphemy was a step too far.

  98. Xenia says:

    Josh, I agree.

  99. Duane Arnold says:

    #96 Josh

    I understand the culture as well. My family background is similar to Xenia’s. I was given my first rifle when I was 13. All that being said, I think there are times when the demands of faith are counter-cultural. At one time we used to speak of the “conversion of manners”. I think it is still something we need to consider.

  100. Duane Arnold says:


    I will withdraw “blasphemous” and apologize. I will say, however, that I would find it offensive in terms of my faith.

  101. Josh the Baptist says:

    Totally agree, Duane. An I am anti-gun.

    My pastor probably got his first rifle before he could read. HE’s always been around guns, and while he should really think about that culture, it’s just not blasphemous.

  102. Josh the Baptist says:

    Posted before #101 – Thank you Duane, that makes the conversation easier for me, and I still agree.

    It makes me uncomfortable for sure, but knowing what a loving man he is make sa difference. If it were generic pastor across the country, I’d be even more concerned.

  103. Josh the Baptist says:

    As I’m thinking about it, I’ve never patted him down in the pulpit. Perhaps he has a conviction specifically about that, and leaves the gun outside. I really am assuming based on the times I have seen him with a gun, which is basically always. But again, I’ve never SEEN it in the pulpit, and never asked.

  104. Duane Arnold says:


    Found this list of quotations from the Fathers that you might find interesting –

    I understand your feelings concerning your pastor, but it does highlight the issue of culture and the “baggage” we bring with us entering the Church…

  105. covered says:

    I’m not seeing where Jesus called for “sword control” even when Peter Un righteously cut off some poor guys ear.

    I love this site and always have. It seems like posting anything contrary to the left lends itself to immediate criticism. PP isn’t what it used to be. I remember when it was God’s word first and the early church second. Looks like we have come to a place where the church takes precedent.

    I will continue to be a lurker as I obviously have much to learn and very little to add.

  106. Xenia says:

    covered, No! Please don’t feel ostracized, you have much to contribute. Please stay and keep offering us your thoughts. This is a tough year, politically, and many of us are on edge and I myself have not been as kind as I should have been. Please forgive me and stick around!

  107. JoelG says:

    Covered it’s my fault I got you into trouble. Thank you for sharing your view. I hope you don’t go away. I’m Joe Nobody but you have my support on this issue. 🙂 I just don’t see the condemnation of military service or weapons in Scripture. Jesus didn’t tell soldiers to repent of their vocation.

  108. covered says:

    I think you are awesome Xenia and I am not going anywhere. I need to learn more about today’s culture, so watching is a better place for me.

  109. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    The fathers can be just as wrong on issues as writers we find in Lifeway bookstores. I don’t pay particular attention to the writings of the guy who cut off his junk.
    St Basil suggesting 3 yrs excommunication for being a soldier? Come on.
    To say there is no place to love your neighbor as yourself falls short if I am allowed to defend myself because I love myself – but I am forbidden to do the same for my neighbor. A police force is the visible sign of a community contracting with each other for mutual protection (love)

  110. Duane Arnold says:


    These are not arguments where one person wins and another loses. They are conversations where varied points of view can be offered, discussed and debated. Your observations and thoughts are as important as anyone else in the on-going conversations that take place…

  111. Descended says:

    What were the knives or swords for Jesus told his disciples to bring with them, if not for protection and chance the death of an attacking enemy?

    Isn’t it true as well that a Jew was permitted to break any of the law save sexual immorality and worship of father gods in order to save their own life or the life of another?

  112. Michael says:

    ” It seems like posting anything contrary to the left lends itself to immediate criticism. PP isn’t what it used to be. I remember when it was God’s word first and the early church second.”

    This upset me so deeply that I turned around and came home to answer it.

    I refuse …REFUSE…to put everything in the category of left or right and put people in categories accordingly.

    This issue has been debated for 2000 years…long before there was a left, right, or middle of American politics or even an America at all.

    I also refuse to be an uncritical reflection of the current political views of American evangelicalism, but we will debate issues vigorously without that baggage.

    We’re either going to raise the bar for discourse or we won’t be here…I’m not going to go with the current flow that demands we pick a side.

    Everyone is welcome, yea, encouraged to share here…but we will also encourage civil challenges that may sharpen all our iron.

    Scripture is and always has been the foundation stone of my beliefs, informed by tradition (the early church, etc.) and reason.

    That has never changed.

    I’m out for a while.

  113. Descended says:

    …father gods…

    Should be

    …false gods…

    Using Swype :-\

  114. covered says:

    I am sincere when I say that I need to post less and read more as the opinions expressed by many (most) here are much different than what I believe. If you want to know why I take the position I do on carrying a weapon, please understand this. I do live in a rural area very close (5 mins) from one of the most notorious maximum prisons in this country. Unfortunately, partially because of the prison and other circumstances, we have family members, friends and acquaintances to the inmates throughout our little town. We also have a fairly large population of homeless as well as those addicted to drugs and alcohol. If you take a moment and google the name Jarrod Wyatt, you will see something that will help you to understand some of the reasons we have no problem with guns in this community.

    This is just one example of the evil we have in this world and it doesn’t seem to be getting better.

  115. covered says:

    Michael, my comments are not a reflection on you at all. You have been very tolerant to different views which make you a great host! Me on the other hand, don’t agree with much of what I see here lately and that is no reflection on you.

  116. John 20:29 says:

    #70, regarding the sniper rifle, yes, point taken…. but the fact remains that to stop the use of such weapons, we’ll have to disarm our military… unless, there is a miraculous way to keep all that weaponry out of the hands of civilians as there are now and will continue to be lawbreakers … as someone pointed out here not too long ago, not all people who serve in the armed forces are heroes, nor they all honest, good guys

    what i am unable to buy into is the argument, no matter how sincere, that we can end these sorts of events by passing laws… make it harder? well, i’m not even sure we can accomplish anything by doing that …

    reading the thread and thinking … all these folk here – God fearing, i’m sure – justify their pacifism with quotes from other men who were pious writers on the Faith… i haven’t read one quote from the Scriptures themselves that says Christians can’t be soldiers, cant be policemen, can’t defend their nation…

    turn the other cheek? that IS commanded and by all means do so – we did so when the new neighbors tore down our fence without asking even tho we had told them that it was installed when the surveyors’ stakes were still in place… by doing so, they’d called us liars, but we turned the other cheek, even though it cost us a fence and about a linear foot of our property – that is when a Christian has the choice of turning the other cheek IMV…
    the earliest Christians, as did the rest of the citizenry, had no means of protecting themselves, so i’m not certain that they were “turning the other cheek” when the were being fed to the lions or used as street lamps… the Holy Spirit did sustain them thru it, tho, of that i’m pretty certain
    i would like to think that today God would not have a problem with us retaliating in kind if someone came at us with a baseball bat, however 🙂

  117. JoelG says:

    “What were the knives or swords for Jesus told his disciples to bring with them, if not for protection and chance the death of an attacking enemy?”

    Makes sense to me.

  118. Xenia says:

    MLD, I don’t think anyone follows St. Basil’s recommendations these days.

  119. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    covered, you do not need to apologize for or explain why you carry a gun. You are not violating any scripture, you are in compliance with Romans 13 by following you state laws and I know of no scripture reference which forbids weapons at all. In this case it is adiophra.
    The folks here in Arizona love their weapons also and pretty much tell other states to mind their own business.

  120. Xenia says:

    I’m not exactly a pacifist because I think there is a time and place for weaponry and the use thereof. I think I just draw the line in a different place than some and if violence has to be used, it is an occasion for sorrow and even repentance, which may be an idea unique to Orthodoxy so I don’t blame folks here for not getting on board with that.

  121. John 20:29 says:

    i grew up in the city, no guns in anyone’s home that i knew of… well, my boy cousins had BB guns and a place in their basement to target shoot… we were, however, involved in a world war and every movie theater had (Pathe News?) short reports on the progress of the war, films of fighter planes involved in dog fights and such, so shooting at bad guys seemed “normal” then…
    now i am living up in the mountains, we don’t see many cougars or bears or wolves (some of all three, tho), and we have guns… my daughter, a kind and gentle, feminine woman, took her pistol and shot the head off of a big rattlesnake in her backyard that challenged her weed-pulling… very strange it was coiled to strike and held the pose even without its head… (she’s an exlnt shot)

    there is a need for wisdom, for discernment and humility – a need to seek God first and His kingdom and, if one errs and is martyred trying to do right? well that is one thing that i don’t think God will hold against a person… but to seek martyrdom as a virtue is a bit twisted … IMHO … could be wrong, tho, dunno

  122. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I guess there are varying views. Commune soldiers or withhold? There are some good photos on line and in some Lutheran books of Lutheran chaplains communing the troops during pauses in the action.

  123. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Xenia – that would be a question – does the EO have military chaplains?

  124. Josh the Baptist says:

    I guess if you were to really dig into this you’d have to think about Bonhoeffer’s conundrum.

  125. Duane Arnold says:

    #124 Josh

    Bingo! And we’re still debating his conundrum…

  126. Xenia says:

    MLD, yes, the EO does have military chaplains.

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