17 October, 2013

Is There Such Thing as "Justified Mass Church Shootings?"

When I was completing my undergrad at CSU Hayward some years back, I was still very active in the church.  (Mainstream Christian Church)  In fact the only extra-curricular activity I participated in at Hayward was their local chapter of Campus Crusade for Christ.  In fact there was a quarter where I took on 23 units so my Sunday visits to church was often compromised and my participation at the Campus Crusade meetings became more important as it became a substitute for Sundays.

During one of our meetings, our facilitator read aloud a printed prayer request sent to us from a member of Wedgwood Baptist Church.  At times our facilitator broke down while reading the list.  It was Fall quarter of 1999, and we received the emailed prayer request in the aftermath of the church massacre committed by Larry Gene Ashbrook.  The entire discussion time which normally takes about 40 minutes was taken as the prayer request(s) were tearfully read aloud to our group.  At the end, I shared with the group that what I found disturbing in all this was throughout the list, not once was the name of the gunman (Ashbrook) mentioned, and I attempted to quote Matthew 5:44 as a basis that at some point, his name or at least his remaining family members should've been on that list.

That created a stir at the meeting.

One person came to my defense.  The rest of the group including the facilitator began to engage in a Bible memory contest with me to rebuke my assessment.  Thankfully that lone person who came to my defense is still someone I remain in contact with.  Now granted, my prayers for my so-called "enemies" may be along the line of "muther-f*r," true.  But throughout the years from 1995 to even now, I'm bombarded with the "forgive them, pray for them" in response to a violation done by others towards me to the point that I got sick and tired of that, especially when the violation was committed by a fellow brother or sister of the church.


I left the mainline Christian church back in 2011.  I began to embrace the New Thought Practical Christian movement who embraced more of a Christian Metaphysics approach and I thought I was in a better spot.


Unity and any church with the moniker "Practical Christianity, Christian Metaphysic, New Thought Christianity," has been undergoing an identity process that began to take place around 2009-12 and a lot of their material and literature as well as their basic teaching was undergoing a decision making process to determine the direction and the overall message of the Unity Movement.  In other words, Unity not was, but is undergoing a process which is on the verge of creating an organizational split between those embracing the new changes versus those who wish to hold onto the original teachings.  Along with those teachings, they also want to hold onto their older ways.  In other words, if the Unity Church or Center declares themselves "Culturally Christian," they really embrace the culture of other Christians, and that includes the conservative thinking that comes along with it.

Rev Guy Lynch runs a website, a non profit, and a call-in podcast called "The Practical Christian."  He was one of the first Unity minister I contacted while Unity was going through their rebranding process and I was looking for a Unity who was teaching what Eric Butterworth and Catherine Ponder were teaching.  He's an advocate for gun control, he's against the Christian right on numerous issues, he's for embracing the LGBT movement as well as marriage equality.  He goes out of his way as a Christian minister to take a stand against conservative Christian clergy members.

Recently, Pastor Rick Warren of the Saddleback Church had participated in an event where he mocked and imitated Asians in a caricature way.  What's disturbing about the whole thing was that not only has he not apologized even after a group of Asian clergy had requested a formal apology, but numerous supporters lined up defending his actions.  So I posted that article on Rev Lynch's Practical Christian Facebook page to bring it to their attention.

It was deleted and ignored.

I commented two or three times how disappointed I was about Rev Lynch decision to look the other way and pointed out the hypocrisy in the entire situation.  Had Warren mocked gays in a similar fashion, Rev Lynch would rally his supporters immediately.  Earlier today I found myself banned from the Practical Christian Facebook page where I was further humiliated.

So what does this journey to New Thought have to do with incidents involving church shootings?

At that Campus Crusade meeting, I was flabbergasted at the possibility that someone would enter a church and just begin shooting.  After all, it was less than two years after I visited China and even a government sanctioned church there.  Christianity was still outlawed in China and even at the church we were allowed to attend, someone entering in and shooting up the place was unfathomable.  So when this incident occurred during a young adult Christian rock concert rally in Texas, we were all shocked.  Then I read about Jeremiah Neitz's account about his interaction with Ashbrook moments before his suicide.  The more Neitz told Ashbrook about his faith in Christ, the more defensive Ashbrook became until Ashbrook shot himself.  Until that point I often wondered how angry can you get at God, at life in general, at people in order to shoot up a church.  I mean people have then and now been blatantly violated by the institution called the Church (all denominations) and they don't react the same way.

Then again, the law of karma is enforced even against an institution called the Church.

The institution called the Church has done so much cover-ups and blatant violation of people who looked to them for help, inspiration and hope that sooner or later, that karmic debt needs to be paid.  What's sad about an institution, the actual individual who committed the violation may not even feel any of the impact of repercussion in the event of the institution repaying it's karmic debt.  From what I've seen past and even now I don't think that debt's been fully paid yet.  In some ways, I can't blame those clergy who keep preaching "forgiveness," because who knows what could happen if it wasn't constantly reminded.

For all we know, the Larry Gene Ashbrook incident may actually be part of a karmic debt resulting from clergy who sexually violated their parishioners.  Now the pastoral staff of Wedgwood had nothing to do with those clergy who's guilty of sexual violations.  But as I said, the overall institution of the Church may be paying for that violation through that incident.

So when the institution of the church justifies, defends, or looks the other way whenever clergy offends other people because of their ethnicity, karma is around the corner.

No, there may be no such thing as "justifiable mass church shootings,"  but I look forward to whenever the next bunch of dead bodies are strolled out of a church sanctuary, I can send the pastor a message of "get over it" just like those Warren supporters who made those same comments against the Asians who filed that grievance.  Actually, in all honesty, even though I've been searching for a ministerial training program, if I were to learn that a shooting and/or tragic incident occurred with certain specific churches, I'll admit I may find myself in a celebratory mode.  Like if another child of Warren were to take their own life, or if Saddleback experienced some other sort of tragedy, it'll be like a Raider's victory, and you know how much of a Raiders fan I am.

The Journey SF, Cornerstone Church, actually BOTH Cornerstone Churches in SF, don't ever think that I'll pray with you or for you if some crazy were to enter your place and tear sh*t up.  Same for Rev Lynch and Practical Christian, whether it's an actual church or not.  Either case, karma's a bitch.  Pastor Lightfoot may be dead, but karma will accept payments from his so-called legacy.

Time to shop for "Get Over It" cards...can't wait to mail them!

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