Maybe A Tweet Won’t Solve Mass Shootings

As everyone else in our country, I have been heartbroken and burdened over the latest school shooting in Florida that has left 17 dead. One of the most heartbreaking things in regards to this shooting was the lack of shock I felt. There have been so many mass shootings in the last few years that it has made me somewhat numb, almost expecting another one to happen.

To match heartbreak with frustration, enter social media. In a matter of minutes there is no lack of political pundits and celebrities chiming in with simple solutions to a complex problem. The answer to ending mass school shootings is gun control, they say.   With emotional pleas from broken hearted parents who have just lost their children they say if you just ban “assault rifles” then all of this will stop.

I wish it were that easy. I wish congress could just pass a law that bans a certain type of firearm and then all the killings would end.   However, if you grew up in the country, like me, then you know a semiautomatic weapon is what the media is referring to as an assault rifle. Pretty much every hunting rifle could fall under the category of assault rifle. The AR-15’s that the media likes to show pictures of just look more menacing because of the tactical shell in which they are cased.   Wood hunting rifles that look less ominous can carry the same magazines and shoot just as many bullets in just as fast a time. To ban ‘assault rifles’ would mean that you ban pretty much every gun but a single shot, and I don’t see that happening.   But if it would end children getting killed in our schools then I would be for it.   If that were the simple solution…but it’s not.

The problem is much more complex and the answer to solving it much deeper than a law.

Young deranged white men do most mass shootings. I am sure all of these young men have some level of mental illness, but mental illness, like a cancer to the body, can be fed and fostered in a number of ways.

I think the problem goes deeper than just these young white deranged men.   I think it flows broader into frustrated and angry young men in general. The man crisis in our culture is hitting critical mass and the fall out is not pretty.

We are reaping the harvest of a fatherless generation and I am afraid we are not yet at the tipping point.

As University of Virginia Professor Brad Wilcox pointed out back in 2013: “From shootings at MIT (i.e., the Tsarnaev brothers) to the University of Central Florida to the Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy in Decatur, Ga., nearly every shooting over the last year in Wikipedia’s ‘list of U.S. school attacks’ involved a young man whose parents divorced or never married in the first place.”

It’s not just these young white men who are struggling, they just find a way to show their angst against the world in a very public way by hurting as many innocent people as possible.

The effects of fatherlessness are epidemic in most communities in the United States.

I found this interesting, “Two of the strongest correlations with gun homicides are growing up in a fatherless household and dropping out of school, which itself is directly related to lack of an active or present father. There’s a direct correlation between fatherless children and teen violence. It’s no coincidence that, much like the number of fatherless children, the number of mass shootings has exploded since the 1960s. Throughout the entire 1960s, six mass shootings took place. That number doubled in 1970. Heck, 2012 alone saw more mass shootings than the sixties did.”

Without a father young men have no direction. When young men have no direction and purpose they move to extremes. They cut ties with what is traditional masculinity. They embrace a homosexual lifestyle or become transgender. There is a clear correlation with the rise of both of these lifestyles to the rise of fatherlessness.   They grasp for their need to fit in and they don’t know how. The other extreme is to become violent, join a gang, become a criminal, or in extreme cases become a mass shooter. When men grow up with no father for an example they fill in the gaps on their own.

Everything in culture tells these men that they no longer have a place.   In fact, for young white men the message is clear, you are the enemy. They are told that they are the problem. They are told they are part of the white patriarchy that oppresses everyone else. For fragile unguided minds that are already inclined to mental illness, they start to believe it, then they learn to hate the world, hate themselves, and hate being. They are full of anger and rage and instead of just ending their own lives they want to hurt others in the process. They want to be remembered as they feel they have been marginalized all of their lives.   So they hurt others. They hurt as many as they can.

Fatherlessness is not the only factor involved. There are a number of other factors that I think we would be foolish to overlook:

Games – Most young teenage boys (especially white ones) spend countless hours shooting people virtually in very realistic games. It becomes second nature to them to pull the virtual trigger.

Movies and Shows – Have you heard of this little thing called Netflix?   Countless hours of watching shows that have become increasingly more sickening, brutal and graphic.   Young men are drawn to these shows about death and murder. There are tons of programs out there that actually show how real crimes were committed.   Again these are fertilizers to a sick mind.

Social Media – Tells young men they do not measure up and allow them to connect with extremist groups that will fan the flame of their sickness. The rise of ‘alt’ left and ‘alt’ right groups has only increased the evil and hatred in the world.

Atheism – Atheism says you are the source for your morality. The Bible teaches that every person is born as a sinner. At our core we are not good, but evil. The cure to evil is repentance and faith in Jesus. As Christians we live in pursuit of a holy life as defined by the life of Jesus. He is our model and example. For the Atheist he is only accountable to his on set of morals, whatever he chooses.   These morals are shaped by whatever he is putting into his mind (I.E. Games, movies, shows, social media) and deems as moral. We took God out of schools and have warned teachers not to mention faith.   I imagine there are so many kids who could have found a better way, if only schools were allowed to offer it.

The devaluing of human life – We live in a culture that legally kills almost 400,000 babies a year.   This permeates a society that says the highest value is whatever I desire, even if it means taking the life of others.   If a mother can take her own child’s life then why should anyone else be limited?

Radical Feminism – This ideology teaches men that just for being born they are to be hated and despised.

This list is not meant to be exhaustive. I am sure there are a number of other factors that contribute to each mass shooting. I am sure each case has many individual nuances.

In my opinion the one big smoking gun is not the gun, it is the absence of a loving and guiding father in the home.

How do we stop mass shootings?

The answer is pretty simple, cross cultural, and long term.

This is a simple Bible answer: Don’t have sex until you’re married (this ends the need for abortion). When you are married, love your spouse.   Stay married even when it’s hard.   Raise your children to love God first and love their neighbors as themselves. Don’t leave when things get hard!

The answer may just be the family!

Screen Shot 2018-02-17 at 5.21.29 AM.pngI can remember maybe 15 years ago hearing Dr. James Dobson saying something to the effect of, “when you destroy the family, you will destroy society as we know it.” The prophesy is unveiling before our eyes.

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Would William Wallace Drive A Minivan?

Just last week I was challenged to think of what it meant to be courageous.   The word courage evokes all kinds of emotion within a man.   When you say the word courage my mind begins to be flooded with images of Braveheart (William Wallace), The Gladiator, David fighting Goliath, or John Wayne saddling up to take on the bad guys.  There is a harsh reality that most men will never wield a sword and take on an enemy.   We will never fight in an arena with only our will to live keeping us from sure death.  We will never face a giant on the battlefield or even ride a horse for that matter.

Most of us are superheroes in our mind.

Most men, at some point in time in their life, dream up a thousand scenarios of the bad guy coming to hurt us or our family and we think of 27 ways were would disarm them and render them incapacitated.  With each news story about a mass shooting we play through our mind how we would have stopped it if we were there.  We think of ourselves as a combination of Jack Bauer with more of an Arnold (late 80’s Arnold) look.  We are the heroes of the day.   Then our daydream ends and we are back in our offices with our belly hanging over our belts or riding our zero point turn lawn mowers.  Reality hits that we have never been nor will most of us ever be the heroes in our minds.

Real courage is different than what we make up in our minds.

God made men with a desire to be courageous.  Men seem to be hard wired to want to kill something and drag it home.   From early on in the womb testosterone would singe the connections between the hemispheres of our brains.  This would allow us the gift and sometimes curse of being able to process a situation and take emotion out of the equation.   How can we use this desire within us to be courageous in the American suburban context?  What does courage look like for an American male today?

Courage is doing what is right even when it is not easy.  John Wayne would say, “Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway.”

Courage is showing up.

It seems the most glaring absence in American culture today is the father.  In some neighborhoods you would have more luck searching for Elvis then you would finding a father who is fulfilling his duty.  Men have become little more than sperm donors.   One of the most courageous acts of a man is simply taking responsibility for himself and for his family and not leaving because life gets difficult.  So many young men have grown up in the video game culture and when things become difficult they can just start over.  When a child is conceived you are not allowed a “do over.”  A courageous man leans in, not out when life becomes more difficult.  One word that best describes a man is the word responsible.  Men do not run from responsibility, they run to it.   Courage means each day your get up and show up to work and do your best.  Courage means you go to your children’s recitals and ball games.  Courage means you get up and get ready for church each Sunday, even during hunting season.  Courage means you work hard and bring home a paycheck no matter how small it may be.  Our families become infinitely stronger when they know that daddy is not going anywhere.

Courage is unloading the dishwasher.

The man of yesteryear would go to work and come home to “June Clever” who would have dinner ready for him.  Dad would relax after his hard day at work.   June died!  She is gone!  In most homes women work just has hard as their husbands.  When a man gets off work he clocks in at home.  It is not time for him to prop his feet up, it is time for him to serve his family.   There is no work at home that is beneath the leader of the home.  It takes a courageous man to change diapers, fix dinner, help the kids with their homework, unload the dishwasher, pay bills, fold clothes, and have a good attitude while doing it.

Courage is leading your family in fractured world.

Children need their father to be their rock.   A father that leads the way God intended provides a safety to the home.   He teaches his children what is right and what is wrong.  He models service in the home.  He points his children each night to the light of the world.  He tells his children about Jesus.  He models his faith in his interactions with his neighbors and with those who do not like him.  A courageous man speaks words of encouragement to his wife each day, he listens to her, he lets her cry on his shoulder, and he makes sure he holds her hand often.

You may never lead an army into battle like William Wallace but when you live each day with the courage to be the man God has called you to be you will be the hero of your home!

Maybe if William Wallace were alive today he would proudly drive a minivan with stickers of his children on the back.

 

braveheart

A Dad’s Proverbs 7 to His Girls

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Proverbs is one of my favorite books of the Bible.  It gives so much wisdom on how to live the day-to-day life.   Proverbs gives particular insight to young men and how to watch out for sexual temptation (Chapters 5 and 7) that could derail their lives and ultimately kill them.

I wish there was a chapter in the Bible like that for girls.   I have 3 girls that I want to be pure young ladies.   I want them to know what to watch out for.  I am writing this as an open letter for my girls to read and if you would like you can read it as well.  I am in no way comparing what I write to scripture.  These are just a few of my thoughts that I want my girls to consider as they grow up.

WATCH OUT FOR BOYS!  A COUPLE OF DON’TS!

Yong men have a deep sexual desire, especially in their teens, that they have not yet learned to control.  Because of this you must be wise and discerning.  Here are a few things you should not do.

Don’t sit on their laps.

Don’t kiss them.

Don’t give them full frontal hugs.

Don’t be alone with them.

Don’t share a blanket with them.  A lot can happen under a blanket.

Don’t start something you do not intend to finish.

Don’t start ‘dating’ until you are in a season of life where you are ready for marriage.  This is NOT 16 for most girls.   Do not awaken love until its time.

Don’t listen to them.  They will say whatever they have to in order to get you to make them feel sexual pleasure.   Their words, although they make you feel good, are shallow.  They have not had time to develop character that you will desire in a husband.   The man you want to marry will be a man who will seek first to honor God and then you and only after marriage will he one day be intimate with you.

YOU ARE SO VALUABLE!

God says you are valuable and I say you are valuable!  It is hard for a young man to see past your exterior.  Your body is one of the greatest gifts you will ever give.   The times we live in have cheapened sex to be as random as a hug or handshake but God never meant it to be so.   God meant it to be a mingling of two souls.   He wired your body and soul together.  You will have a deep emotional attachment to whomever you share your body with.   Save your body for your spouse.   Wait until marriage to have sex.  This will strengthen your marriage in years to come in a way that you cannot imagine at the present time.

BE CAREFUL

Be careful of the Internet.  Facebook, snapchat, twitter, and the 1000 other things that will be invented before you read this could be your undoing.  Don’t take a picture of yourself and put it online unless your dad has approved it.  Never take a picture of yourself and send it to a boy.   You never know where it may resurface.   I will help you with this.  Pictures and comments will be online for eternity and they could harm your future.

YOUR DRESS

The way you dress is a reflection of your heart.   If you dress provocatively it is a clear picture that you need attention and you will do whatever you have to in order to get attention.  Do not worry about how the other girls dress.   If you are a Godly woman with character then the right man WILL notice you at the right time.   Modesty does not hide a beautiful woman — it reveals her.  Your mother is a gorgeous modest woman and she can help you find modest fashion.  If you are ever in doubt about whether you should or should not wear something, ask me.   I will give you an honest answer.

A BIG CHOICE

Choosing a spouse is the second most important decision you will make in your life after choosing your God.   If you believe your mother and I love you then allow us to have a very strong voice in helping you choose who you will date and marry.  No one loves you like your mother and I and we may be able to see things in your potential suitors that you may be blind to because of infatuation.

LOOK DEEP

We are all somewhat superficial.  Please look at a man’s character more than his appearance.  As a young person I am sure you desire a man who will be attractive to you.  I can promise you that if you marry a man who loves Jesus with all his heart, over time, he will become your “Prince Charming.”   Proverbs 31 says of a woman that, “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”   The same can be said of a man.  Look for a man who fears the Lord.

GRACE COVERS ALL SINS

Remember that Daddy and Mommy are praying for you.  No matter what decision you make in regard to your future husband please know that I am praying for you and for him.  I am praying God will give you wisdom and discernment that one day, if the Lord wills, you will find a man who loves you as much as I do…that might be impossible.