Sunday, December 23, 2012

My thoughts on last week school massacre...

     First off I want to say my prayers go out to the families of the victims of the Sandy Hook Shooting which occurred on December 14th 2012.   It pains me to see such young children (6 and 7 year olds) killed plus 6 staff members at this school.   Prayers and loves goes out to the families.

      Why did this happen we all say.  Many say the 20 year old young man (Adam Lanza) was evil and deranged.  Maybe he was deranged but I do not think he was evil.   He was a child himself, barely 20.   What made him snap like this to kill his own mom, then turn to 26 other people and then kill himself?  I have been reflecting on it to try to make sense on why someone would just shoot up a school and kill innocent children.   People usually do not do these things because they are evil, especially with the state of mind he was in.

      The more I think about it, I feel this young man was failed by our society.   Yes, he had his own free agency, but if you know young kids you will realized this young man was not mature, had Aspergers Syndrome (a form of autism) and OCD.   Society failed him because he was again put in a situation were he was in a broken home, sad, depressed and mentally ill.  Society tells us that it's ok to get divorce when things are "just not working out".  BUT do we know the ramifications for breaking up the family?  DO we really think about it when adults make the decision to split a family up because of own person needs, wants or happiness?   
I, myself, come from a broken home.  I watched my little siblings suffer after my parents split up.  My family is still suffering because of it, with insecurities, addictions, mental illnesses, drug use, and much more.  Life changed dramatically because of poor decisions of my parents.   I love them to death, but reality is reality, and facts are facts.  Our family changed forever because of it.  Having said that, I do believe in free agency and regardless of what happened in my family, people still are to blame for their own actions, so I am not discounting one's own will.  

    Why do I bring this up?  Because I want to show how broken families can wreck havoc in a young child's life changing them forever.  We are failing our youth in this society because we have taken value away from families and placed them on other things of this world.

     I have been receiving emails from (Steve Elliott) for the past few years.  Usually I get the emails and just don't even look at it, deleting it right away.  This last week I decided to read his email about the Sandy Hook shootings and couldn't believe he was saying what I was thinking about were our society is and had headed.   Here is the email:

I will make no attempt to "make sense" of the horrific tragedy that devastated the community of Newtown, Connecticut, and has shaken our nation.

How can we make sense of the senseless murder of twenty children and seven adults? How can we make sense of one deranged individual who was in such a dark place that he shot his own mother, murdered children and then killed himself?

Yesterday, my church -- like I'm sure countless places of worship -- paused to pray for the families, their community and our nation. Our president spoke, on our behalf, words of comfort and support.

Now, as we move forward, efforts will be made to prevent this from happening again -- or at least to minimize the risk. It will be a difficult task.

+ + A Societal Cancer

What we face is more like a cancer than a virus. Our society has turned on itself, and these mass murders are the shocking fruit. The perpetrators of these crimes now typically turn their weapons on themselves and have essentially become societal suicide bombers. As the military knows, there is no real defense against a suicide bomber who has reached such a point of desperation and delusion that his own life doesn't matter.

Responding to this specific crisis with legislation would be a mistake that politicians will likely make.

Responding to the root cause of the crisis would be a better way to go.

And what is that root cause?

The destruction of the family.

I'm not discounting any other factors, but to address problems with our mental health institutions or virtual reality gaming or the drugging of our children or our gun laws or the media culture's glorification of such violence and not deal with the root cause of our societal decay are vain attempts to mask symptoms.

The statistics back me up on the destruction of the family being at the center of our national crises, including violence.

Before I cite the statistics, please do not take these numbers as a condemnation of single moms or dads. There is no condemnation. Many single parents are doing double duty and raising wonderful children.

But the numbers are hard to overlook.

+ + Our Family Crisis

Consider what our family brokenness has done to society:

* 3 in 10 children grow up in broken homes.

* In the African-American community, it's far worse: two-thirds of black children grow up with one parent.

* More than half of all babies are conceived out of wedlock.

* Of those conceived out of wedlock, 4 in 10 are aborted. And so, the cycle of violence begins.

* Of the survivors of abortion, half the children born out of wedlock end up in poverty.

Children from broken homes account for:
--63% of teen suicides.
--71% of teen pregnancies.
--90% of homeless and runaways.
--71% of high school dropouts.
--75% of all drug users.
--85% of behavioral disorders.
--70% of those in juvenile detention.
--57% of all prison inmates.
+ + Building Families in Tough Times

As you know, for the past few weeks, I've been on a journey of discovering and sharing lessons from a 2,500-year-old letter written by the prophet Jeremiah to Jewish exiles.

In light of the national discussion that will take place in the coming weeks, as we seek to heal and strengthen our land, I find it interesting that at the very center of Jeremiah's instructions to exiles is an explicit endorsement of family:
"Take wives and become the fathers of sons and daughters, and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; and multiply there and do not decrease" (Jeremiah 29:6, NASB).
In the midst of tough times, getting married and thinking about the future do not instinctively come to mind. Marriage is expensive. Children are expensive. Yet in Jeremiah's letter to exiles, marriage and child bearing are central to the instruction. Perhaps this is because in tough times -- at any time, for that matter -- the marriage bond is the stabilizing force for individuals, for families, for communities and even for a nation. Marriage and strong families are vital to thriving in exile.

What if our government policies unashamedly focused on the goal of reducing the fatherless and divorce rates? What if our laws profoundly preferred those who get married and stay married?

More importantly, what about you and me? After all, our laws only reflect our culture.

What are we actually doing in our families and communities to strengthen marriages? Is it clear in our social circles that sex out of wedlock is wrong? Are we holding young men accountable for their actions, demanding they take their responsibility as fathers seriously? Do men face any negative societal pressure for putting children and mothers at risk for the sake of fulfilling their own sexual exploits outside the marriage bond? (and women to now a days)

Many traditional wedding ceremonies include an open acknowledgment by all in attendance of their responsibility to do whatever it takes to help this new couple in their marriage. We should take that commitment much more seriously.

Every marriage faces profound times of crisis. Perhaps your prayer, phone call or offer to babysit could ultimately help save a marriage, keep a child from facing long odds and, dare I say, spare a community from another unspeakable horror.

Steve Elliott, Grassfire

Then yesterday, I received a second email from grassfire which clarified his first email which even more complete is inline with what I was feeling about society and with what happened to this young man who felt he had no hope or care about himself or others.  The dark place he was in is sad and we really need to take notice of the mental illness, family situation of our youth.  Here it is:

I want to thank everyone who shared their thoughts and comments on my reflections on the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut.

Many agreed with my thesis that the breakdown of the family is the prime cause of the cultural chaos we see so prevalent around us. (I've included a link to that post at the end of this message.)

Some thought I was partly right. And a few thought I was actually far off base.

+ + "I Disagree Mightily With You"

"Gonna have to disagree mightily with you here," wrote Carl. "The disintegration of the nuclear family unit is a symptom, not the cause."

Linda echoed Carl's concerns: I think 'strong families' are good things, but to have that as a primary goal misses the root cause of our national dysfunction and brokenness."

So, what do Carl and Linda (and a few others who responded) think is the primary cause of our dysfunction and brokenness?

In Carl's words:

"In our current society, we have abolished God from everywhere except the church itself. Without His hand over every part of our lives, how can it possibly be a surprise that these things not only happen, but spread like wildfire?"

From Linda:

"I think the big problem is that, as a nation, we have gotten away from God, Christianity and the personal accountability that goes with it."

One of the leaders in my church, Frank, almost re-stated the views of Carl and Linda:

"We miss the glaring pink elephant in the living room that the majority of our mainstream media and political leaders refuse to see or address. WE HAVE REMOVED AND UNINVITED THE FATHER, SON AND HOLY SPIRIT, GOD'S WORD AND BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES from our schools and our culture!" (emphasis in original)

So, who is right?

Am I correct that the destruction of the husband-wife family unit is the prime cause of our moral chaos? Or are Carl, Linda and Frank correct in saying that we've stripped God from our public lives, and therefore, moral chaos ensues?

+ + The Correct Answer Is ...

Carl, Linda and Frank make a very vital point, but their conclusion begs an important question. Allow me to explain.

The secularization of our society -- what Richard John Neuhaus called the "Naked Public Square" -- has had profound ramifications on our lives.

President Obama's response to the Newtown tragedy clearly exposes that the emperor (meaning, our society in general and not just the president) has no clothes. We saw Mr. Obama openly quote scripture and appropriately attempt to put this tragedy in some eternal context. Yet, this same president leads a party that stripped every reference to "God" from its 2012 platform (before putting back one reference after some public outcry).

This stripping of a basic God-awareness can be felt in our schools, in our businesses, at almost any public event and certainly on television. In fact, the purge is so complete that we're startled when we hear God mentioned anywhere today. We celebrate a public school holiday program that features sacred songs. We make special note of a TV show that appropriately mentions God.

So yes, I agree with Carl, Linda and Frank -- the stripping of a fundamental awareness and acknowledgement of God in society has made a profound impact on our lives.

+ + How Do We Restore God-Awareness?

But here's the question that begs to be answered:

How do we restore a basic God-awareness to our lives, our communities and our nation?

And is restoring a God-awareness in society fundamentally the responsibility of the government? Our schools? Our businesses? Or our churches?

Here's where I circle back to my original thesis of the destruction of the family.

I would argue that the family unit is, by divine design and practical reality, the primary means by which a God-awareness is established in any society. The family is the prime means for communicating and passing on the fundamental values and beliefs held by a society.

Faith flows through families, and families form the foundation of personal and community prosperity. As the prophet Jeremiah instructed the Jewish exiles:

"Take wives and become the fathers of sons and daughters, and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; and multiply there and do not decrease" (Jeremiah 29:6, NASB).

Building families is of fundamental importance, especially during tough times.

+ + It's Almost Politically Incorrect to Say It, But ...

My children attend a Christian school. But don't be mistaken -- it is the responsibility of my wife and me to transmit our values and beliefs to our children, not the school's.

I would add that our churches are powerless to restore a basic God-awareness in our communities without countering the tsunami of family destruction.

Yes, it's time to end the antagonism toward faith that's now so prevalent in the public square. It's outrageous that a teacher in a public school should have any concern for his or her job over praying in class or reading the Bible. This is nonsensical and a violation of our fundamental rights. We do not surrender our religious liberties once we step into a public space, and there is no constitutional mandate for a secular state.

But we need to move this discussion beyond the general call to "put God back in our schools" and ask ourselves how this God-awareness can be restored in our society.

It will not happen primarily by legislation (nor should it). It will not happen primarily by an awareness campaign (although those do help).

It will happen primarily in families. A basic God-awareness in our society will happen in and through families.
I know it's almost politically incorrect to say it, but we must restore the family. We must make it our number-one national and community goal to build and support strong, two-parent families. With no apologies.

SO WHY ARE WE NOT DOING EVERYTHING IN OUR POWER TO STRENGTHEN FAMILIES?   Why is ok for our children to have a broken home?  It has bothered me so much that society has abandoned the philosophy that whole families builds a thriving community.  

 I hope with this tragedy, we take the time to truly evaluated what really is important in our lives and were we want to see our families.  I hope we take the time to really be the examples to our children and show them that they MEAN something.   

Thought I would share.... Thanks for listening...

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