December 8, 2019

Pastoral Nuggets: What Changed?

It what now seems another lifetime; I attended Troup High School in LaGrange, Georgia.

I was a member of the last class that went straight from grammar school to high school.

I can remember walking the halls and seeing groups of upperclassmen gathered around somebody’s locker admiring a rifle or shotgun one of them had brought to school.

I can remember seeing them walk the halls with the weapon over their shoulder. Even the teachers admired the guns. There was no fuss. Nobody panicked. Nobody thought anything about it. Why? Because everybody knew they were taking it to shop class to blue the barrel or refinish the stock for a project grade.

Wow! If a child tried that today they, along with their momma & daddy, brothers & sisters, nanna & paw-paw, two of their cats, and three of their dogs would be thrown under the jail! My question today is really simple: What changed?

And while I may not be able to articulate everything that changed, I can tell you what didn’t change – the rifle or shotgun! So, that only leaves us! We kicked God, prayer, and discipline out of our schools. We stopped teaching absolute right & wrong. We embraced Dr. Spock’s teachings. We changed!

I wonder if it could possibly be that when it comes to right & wrong that there are absolutes and that just maybe, Dr. Spock was absolutely wrong.

I suppose the thing that bothers me the most about all this is our tendency to blame everything bad in our lives on somebody or something else.  Personal responsibility is almost unheard of anymore. Take for example the gun issue that is raging today, and God knows my intent with this column is not to minimize, excuse, or take anything away from the tragic shootings that have transpired. They are horrific and inexcusable.

However, our reaction has been to blame the guns and seek to control them. Why don’t we put the blame where it goes? It’s not guns that we should be blaming or seeking to control. It’s us. In the words of the comic strip character, Pogo, “We have met the enemy and he is us!”  Gun violence is not the issue – only the symptom of a far greater evil.

If I play this “blame something or somebody else” logic out to the nth degree, then my spoon caused me to get fat, my hairbrush made me bald, my pencil causes me to fail tests, my car makes me speed, my bank makes me poor, and if I am a failure in life, it’s momma & daddy’s fault.

You get the picture. When will we wake up and smell the coffee and admit that, good or bad, the way we are is not the fault of things or others? When will we realize that we are what has changed?

Yes, I remember a time when there were guns “in” our schools. I also remember a time when there was prayer, devotions, Bible reading, discipline, & respect for the authorities “in” our schools. I also remember a time when there was both a momma and a daddy “in” the home. And I remember a time when the family was “in” church.

Do you suppose that, just maybe, if we would put these things back “in” our society that we would have no fear of a kid who showed-up with a gun at school? Why? Because we would know he was just taking it to shop class! Ah, but I suppose I’m just a relic from a time gone by. What changed? We did.

Oh yea, we’ve come a long way baby.  A long way the wrong way! When will we stop blaming “things and others” and start putting things back “in” our society that will truly make a difference?

Brother Aaron

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