As we would expect, the shooting at the baseball field in Virginia has led to a rush to assess blame. Fox News has been insistent that the blame lies with the leftists. On the left, blame is cast on the right for refusing to enact meaningful gun control.
There are two problems with all this blame. First, it seldom has much connection to reality. Fox fails to note that a large portion of hate speech in America comes from our president. Gun-control proponents (of whom I am one) tend to discount hate-speech from the left because they see it as merely a fringe phenomenon.
More importantly, blame is a no-win game. It is a form of irresponsibility. We can blame others while failing to take responsibility for fixing the problem. Blame leads nowhere, as we can see in the matter of global warming. Blaming people stops us from taking responsibility for acting.
Blame asks the wrong question. It asks about yesterday’s words and decisions. Responsibility asks instead about today’s words and decisions. We need not ask who is to blame for the problem but who is responsible for the solution.
And there is something deeper still. Had our culture not deserted the common faith which, however loosely held, did give us some understanding of the love and grace of God, we would be in a better position now to see that God’s graciousness makes blame unnecessary. By supplanting blame, grace frees us to address the question of responsibility.
Certainly it is sad that we have a president who rejects any responsibility for his own violent language. It is severely damaging to the American spirit to have a leader who is working so hard to drag us down to the level of his own ill-formed character. And certainly we have been deeply harmed by both our advertising and entertainment industries, which have furthered both selfishness and violence. The questions remain, however, what are we to do to correct the problems and who is going to begin the process?
Our nation was founded on theological foundations. “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights. . .” That is not a political but a theological affirmation. In rejecting our Creator, we have also rejected the characteristics of our own creation: equality of value and rights. We have now taught that every man can be his own Rambo, grabbing an assault rifle and killing others, innocent or not. Every man is The Judge, supplanting the One who is in fact the righteous judge of all the universe.
Whether we look at history or at current events, it is evident that we humans do very poorly when we try to be our own gods. We’re simply not made for the task
The church must rise to the occasion, speaking love and grace into the messes of our day. If the fellowship of Christians can’t or won’t step forward, who else can bring health to our people?