Armed with Love

The Monastery is the forum maintained by the Universal Life Church. As a non-denominational sect (anybody can become ordained), it attracts people with diverse agendas. One of them posted an article on youth standing up for gun rights. The dialog in the forum was deprecating on both sides. I wrote a long response that emphasizes my perspective as a Christian, but couldn’t post it. After reconstructing it after the first failure, I tried several more times, but kept on getting an “invalid security token” message.

Alas: I’ll post it here.


 The students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and their peers are involved in a sacred purpose. They are confronting the insanity of a culture that celebrates death, and seeking to assert their preference for a culture founded upon love and hope.

The culture of death is pervasive. It includes the military (who now dominate our police and the larger private security services), the defense industry, the gun industry, much of our entertainment industry, and a political party that motivates its base through messages of fear. This is why the gun rights advocates are so strident and persistent in forums such as this: they have a vested interest in continuing to exploit paranoiacs that hate government.

For this is the central issue they raise: the untrustworthiness of government. Modern governments don’t need a military to control their populations (as foreseen in 1984). They have the tools of propaganda, public utilities, corruption and foreign conflict. When these are exercised, there is no need for military tyranny. That these are exercised most zealously where gun rights advocates hold power is indicative to me. But were those tools to be renounced, I would imagine that most gun buyers would prefer to take a vacation in Hawaii. This is the hope held out by our youth.

As for God, when Jesus led his disciples out of the Last Supper, they sought weapons for protection. One sword was found, and then a second, and then Jesus intervened: “Two is enough.” So he was clearly in favor of arms control. When one of them was actually used, we should note that the hardened warriors of the Temple Guard did not respond. They were overawed by Jesus’ grace. So he healed the wound and offered his Last Teaching before his Passion: “He who lives by the sword dies by the sword.”

This is to warn us that heaven will not accept the fear that motivates us to rely upon weapons, or the fear we create thereby in others. Instead, we are not to resist evil (as he taught more than once) but to submit and infuse the situation with love. This He did himself on the cross, submitting to death and suffusing it with love. His command was that we should do the same. To those that follow, there is no fear in death, for they see their Savior waiting there to welcome them into a place forever without fear.

As I stated, our youth are engaged in a sacred purpose. I went out to MSD HS, and on the Friday of their return to school sat across the street and prayed over them. I can testify that I have never encountered a group of people more open to the healing power of love. Those that rail against them need to look into their own hearts and consider the state of their souls. Complain not of the mote in your neighbor’s eye.

Hogg takes The Hill

The death-lobby mouthpieces in the media continue to test the waters of public tolerance for attacks on the children trying to curtail the ever-increasing frequency of attacks in our public schools. Laura Ingraham on FOX News (the senility network) lost a number of advertisers when she took on Chris Hogg, the most vocal of the Parkland survivors. She was forced to retract her comments, citing “the spirit of Easter.”

But it doesn’t stop there. The Hill has published a criticism of Hogg’s exhortation for others to support the boycott of Ingraham. Saying that it “sets a dangerous precedent” in attempting to destroy Ingraham’s career, The Hill continues with assertions from a Parkland “2nd Amendment Rights” supporter that Hogg was being manipulated by the liberal media, and warns that Hogg’s continued advocacy makes him fair fodder for the kinds of destructive propaganda normally reserved to adults.

So first to Ingraham: there is a God. As evidenced in Jerusalem 2000 years ago, he strongly favors renunciation of violence. He sent me to Parkland to shower love upon the survivors. And if losing your fat paycheck (not at all equivalent to losing your career) is an unenviable prospect, in invoking “the spirit of Easter” to cover your toadying to Death and his minions, you are placing at risk your soul.

This extends to the rest of Death’s propaganda machine. You may be a distributed pustule uncontrolled by any political agenda or leader, but you are seen by God, and you will find yourself unable to enter heaven with those that fight for love.

And, again and again, as many times as it takes: you are beloved, my fair warriors for love. Hogg, Gonzalez: your courage in the face of evil is admirable, and will be rewarded.

Wake Up!

When all the channels broadcast messages that promise satisfaction but lead only to disappointment and suffering:

  • privilege
  • novelty
  • lust
  • violence
  • addictive substances

The abused loyalist has no place to turn for truth but inward.

How do I feel?

It is in that moment that the quiet, still voice of the Holy Spirit enters.

If you still seek love, here we are.

All other messages are then recognized as meaningless clamoring for attention from those that have no power other than to steal strength from the weak.

Those that hunger for love follow the dictates of the Holy Spirit because once that assurance is tendered, the greatest desire is to sustain the connection. Each of us walks in the world open to its suffering, and healing enters in our wake because we do not attempt to monopolize its energy.

There is far more power available to us than is necessary to solve the problems we have created. We simply need to accept that we can’t control it – we can only recognize those that wish to share it with us, and so heal us in turn.

The shadow of darkness hangs over this age, but the dawn will dispel it.

The Ideology of Massacre

Prior to 9/11, the most destructive terrorist attack in America was the bombing of the Murrah Building in 1995. One-third of the nine-story building was destroyed, and casualties were concentrated in the day-care center on the first floor.

The perpetrators of the attack, Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, were motivated in part by the actions of the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms at Ruby Ridge, Idaho and Waco, Texas. Both incidents involved compounds led by apocalyptic leaders that believed the government was a tyrannical conspiracy. Disaster evolved when normal law-enforcement procedures were initiated against paranoiacs that resisted contact with the outside world. Their possession of gun arsenals was a particular problem.

Where most might have seen government missteps as indicating problems in practice in dealing with a new sub-culture predisposed to violence, the separatist militia movement saw things differently. Propagandized by Reagan’s “government has a boot on your neck” rhetoric and Gingrich’s anti-government messaging, the two incidents in jurisdictions a thousand miles apart were taken as proof of tyranny. Buoyed by this political rhetoric, McVeigh and Nichols saw themselves as freedom fighters, exercising their Second Amendment rights to strike a blow against the ATF agents housed in the Murrah Building.

Gingrich never recognized this connection, because his strategy had much narrower political motivations: attain Republican control of a Congress that had been dominated by Democrats since the New Deal. Rather than deal with specific issues, Gingrich attacked the government as a whole, indicting the Democrats by association. The reverence in which Gingrich is held by the movement reflects the continuing effectiveness of that political strategy: smearing government and blaming Democrats for all of its defects.

It’s the smearing government part that relates to mass murder in our public schools. To a young adult, a public school is the only governmental agency they interact with. When bureaucratic procedures fail to protect students from abuse (as in Columbine) or impose sanctions for paranoid aggression (Parkland), to justify mayhem the affected parties have only to make the same step made by McVeigh and Nichols.

What needs to be understood is that the National Rifle Association and Second Amendment zealots in the Republican Party advocate openly for that step. They characterize gun ownership as an essential element in maintaining a free society, a characterization that makes sense only if guns are actually used by individuals in resisting authority. It is this logic that requires the provision of military-style weaponry to the public, which when turned on unarmed civilians results in heartbreaking trauma.

So for Gov. Scott in Florida and others to assert that these incidents are reflections of “pure evil” should be seen as a self-indictment. These incidents reflect people doing what you tell them they should do, against a government that is incapable of controlling the dangers that your rhetoric incites.