Just some early morning thoughts from me to you… 

“…if My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

II Chronicles 7: 14 (NIV)

We watch television reports stunned and dismayed. We feel confused and angry as we listen to way too many accounts of the horrific shootings in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado which occurred early Friday morning a few days ago, leaving twelve dead and many more injured.

In our grief and sadness and attempts to comfort fellow citizens in their loss, the one feeling we shouldn’t be entitled to claim is surprise.

News pundits on CBS Sunday Morning debated the gun control laws and the inability to legislate the movie industry’s penchant for violent films like one showing in that movie theater during the recent killing spree, “The Dark Knight Rises.” But not even in that conversation amongst self-proclaimed intelligent adults is God mentioned. Not even His absence.

How can we be surprised when these things happen, over and over and over?

A couple of weeks after the September 11, 2001 attacks on our country marking the beginning of a new and different type of war, the Reverend Billy Graham’s daughter, Anne Graham Lotz, was being interviewed by Bryant Gumbel.

Bryant asked her: “Why didn’t God stop this or do something about this?”

Anne responded with these sobering words: “For years we have told God we didn’t want Him in our schools. We didn’t want Him in our government and we didn’t want Him in our finances. God was being a perfect gentleman in doing just what we asked Him to do. We need to make up our mind-do we want God or do we not want Him? We cannot just ask Him in when disaster strikes.”

Bryant Gumbel sat silent.

Some would argue that we can try to control this by gun laws. Some say we can ask the movie industry to stop with the violence. We can argue that the problem is the gun manufacturers, Hollywood or our woeful inability to identify psychological problems before they blow up into disaster. We can blame publishers for poor taste, internet distributors for filth, legislators and government leaders for being bad examples, and so many others for some many other things that do not honor God.

But what about us? You and me. Our families, the mothers and fathers, and others who make decisions for ourselves and our children. Why do we look to blame others? Aren’t we the ones who allow anything into our homes through our televisions? Aren’t we the ones who listen to new age music without any connection to God? Aren’t we the ones who allow our children to absorb the violent spew put out by movie makers on PG and PG-13 and even R-rated movies in the naïve belief that it won’t affect them if we just tell them it’s make-believe.

Aren’t we the ones who have allowed the coarsening of our society and diminished the threshold of things that bother and surprise us-in ourselves and our children? Aren’t we are the ones who are to blame? We really should look no further.

We argue gun control is the answer and we get into a second-amendment discussion. We believe restricting the movie industry’s reach is the answer and we get into a first amendment free speech argument. We ask God to leave our schools and we sit idly by electing congresses and presidents time-after-time who allow the First Amendment to be stripped of our right to worship God as we please, and instead allow our elected officials and their appointed lackeys on the Supreme Court to keep Him out.

And we wonder why things like shootings in Aurora, Virginia Tech, Columbine, and so many other places happen. As Lt. General Russel Honore, in his remarks in preparation for Hurricane Rita to a press corps and elected officials (who were seeking only to gain political advantage for the mistakes surrounding Hurricane Katrina) said-it seems as though we are “stuck on stupid.” Worse than stupid, we don’t see evil when it is around us, and when we do, we don’t seem to have the backbone to stand up to it and protect our lives, our children and families and our nation.

I can see from where I sit my copy of “McGuffey’s Eclectic Primer”, by William Holmes McGuffey, also the author of “The McGuffey Reader” and referred to by President Abraham Lincoln as the “Schoolmaster of the Nation.” Page fifty-nine asks the question of the young reader:

Do you see that tall tree? Long ago it sprang up from a small nut.

Do you know who made it do so?”

And then the next line offers this answer:

 It was God, my child. God made the world and all things in it. He made the sun to light the day, and the moon to shine at night. God shows us that he loves us by all that he has done for us. Should we not then love him?”

The McGuffey Reader was used for a period of over one hundred years in our public schools, with over one hundred and twenty-five million copies sold, until it was stopped in 1963. Our then Supreme Court ruled in two cases-Abington School District v. Schempp & Murray v. Curlett-Bible reading to be unconstitutional in our public school system with the “reasoning” that “…if portions of the New Testament were read without explanation, they could and have been psychologically harmful to children.”

And we sat idly by before then and after while such devastating blows to our children and society hit and lingered for years and years afterward. We just saw it on our television sets again a few days ago.

We put God in a corner in our lives, telling Him to be quiet-and we are surprised when things like this happen. I might have to agree with General Honore.

We connect more with people we don’t even know or from the past-perhaps looking to get what we never got-through the quicksand of Facebook and other social media than we connect with people God gives us as priorities in our lives. If you doubt that, notice closely when someone gets in your car with their iPhone or if you are in their home as they have their iPad or computer out. They often can’t even hear you as they read the latest message pinging in from some lesser priority.

We allow our most precious children to join the march to the abyss of a Facebook and social media generation directed by a money-seeking society, afraid to say “no”, because we don’t want them to be left out from staying up with their “friends.” We watch as their innocence falls into a deep dark pit through idol worship of people-pop “singers” and movie “stars”-who are vile, valueless and who advocate sin, suggestive behavior and outright sex-and justify it by saying it’s what their friends and everyone is doing, so that they can be “cool” and we as parents can be “with it.”

We undress our little girls in skimpy clothing for the eyes of all the world to see. We, too, become lemmings-in our homes and families, schools, and universities, and everywhere else you can turn-as we abdicate our responsibilities to God, and to those who trust and count on us to protect them, by casting our children’s innocence aside in the name of “everyone else is doing it.” We hand those young lives over to a society out to destroy them in the name of money, fame, acceptance and power.

Of the first 108 universities founded in America, 106 were distinctly Christian, including the first, my son’s alma mater, Harvard University, chartered in 1636. In the original Harvard Student Handbook, rule number one was that students seeking entrance must first know Latin and Greek so that they could study the Scriptures so as to:

Let every student be plainly instructed and earnestly pressed to consider well, the main end of his life and studies, is, to know God and Jesus Christ, which is eternal life, John 17:3; and therefore to lay Jesus Christ as the only foundation for our children to follow the moral principles of the Ten Commandments.”

So what happened?

Whatever did happen, we let it happen and we continue to allow it to exist. So where do we point the finger of blame?

So what’s next? What can we do-one-by-one?

Well, Godly wisdom and courage-in our homes, communities, workplaces, and other venues would be good to see again.

And perhaps we should heed these words-

“…if My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

As I look around, I see hope in the eyes of some-what about you?

We are the people He calls-and it’s through God’s wisdom, power and ways that we, together, can begin the healing process.

In His Name–Scott

Copyright 2012. Scott L. Whitaker. All rights reserved.