There was no “mid-month” Bulletin due to the Wagners being away for a funeral. However, just before I left a flyer came that made me sad. It was from a company who advertized “Roanoke’s and Southwest Virginia’s only realistic interactive virtual firearms training simulator systems.” They offered a full range of gun training. Nothing wrong with that. However, with their “Firearms Training Simulators” they would train “Church Security Teams.”
In a cover letter to churches, there is the reminder that the world is becoming more dangerous and violent with each passing day. There was also the statement about more and more terrorist attacks against Christians in the United States and worldwide. Enter the fear factor.
Are such things on the increase? So it seems. How bad is it? Well, I did some digging and according to the Church Tax and Law website, I discovered that the chances of being killed by an invader in a church building is just about the same as being struck by lightening. I hasten to add, as did they, that we don’t go out into lightening-prone places to worship. However, that does not dismiss the statistics that the death rate is about the same. According to Gallup, 118 million people are in churches each Sunday in the US. Records indicate about 75 shooting deaths take place in churches each year, though that varies, just as do lightening strikes.
Should we fear lightening? Yes, but not to the point we are terrified and go to storm shelters when lightening occurs. Should we fear gun violence? Yes. But not to the point we have to live in paranoid fear.
I know churches all across the land are training armed security personnel. We have friends in a large church in Florida who told us they were informed that there were armed members strategically placed in the sanctuary to take out any one who would try to kill the preacher. They were not told who these people were, only that they were armed and ready. It became a guessing game as to who they might be.
I don’t think our friends were excited about all that, but there was a kind of “This is what our church is doing” flavor to it. And for me, that’s the rub.
We have played “My church is bigger and better than your church” for a long time. Better choirs, better music, better media, etc., etc.. Are we on the verge of saying, “My church has a security force with automatic weapons stationed in gun ports overlooking the sanctuary. They are completely invisible to the naked eye. What does your church have?”
“Oh, we still only have six people with sixteen- round glocks stationed around the building, but we are about to upgrade to automatic rifles.”
What I’m saying is that I worry about church folks getting excited about maybe getting to shoot somebody. Of course, any defense is based on hoping it never has to be used. But we all know that in any war there are those who just can’t wait to kill some (fill in the blank). Is “Locked and Loaded” the newest sign outside churches? I can remember when a church advertized that it was air conditioned and people were appalled that such a tactic would be used to get people inside. Is advertizing armed security next? Is that the new normal? I hope not. That means fear has won.
Our daughter, Holly, had an experience which speaks to what fear can do. She was entering a local Krogers, when she noticed a woman leaving who looked somewhat distraught. She asked what was wrong. The woman said she was mad at herself, but there was a boy in the store who was wearing a hoodie and a backpack. She said it wasn’t his fault, but she could not stay in a store with someone dressed like that. So she left without buying anything. Her fear now owns her, and I know we all understand that in some way, but will it become who we are?
I have no scriptural reference to make for this situation. I also reject any “proof” text for armed church security, but I can almost hear some offered. We feel the need to scripturally prove everything. I’m not looking for a scripture to invalidate armed guards. I can guess how Jesus would reply. I just hope this is not the new normal.
CONCERNS: Mark McRoy has asked prayers for the Harris family in the death of Troy, who leaves a wife and three boys behind. Jim White’s mother, Carol Jones, Abraham Sirgy’s brother, Gamil (Jimmy), is recovering from a severe heart attack. Judy Hall is still having eye issues. Teryn Gaynor’s mother is being treated for cancer. Bill Schreiner is in the hospital for treatment. Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver. Marjorie Wilson, (Cancer) Melanie Gentry, Joni Beach’s parents Also Joni’s aunt, Pat Voss, and her niece, Jamie Cole. Jim Hunter, Wayne Phlegar, David Albert and Leena Bolin’s aunt, Lee Nicklas. Sandy Blanchard and those caring for her. Ray and Darnel Barns, Gil Richardson, Deana McRoy and Stephanie Rigney. Jenni Cullum is having an issue with her eye. Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder.
OUR DAILY BREAD: MAY 2-7
Monday: Genesis 2:1-14
Tuesday: Matthew 3:1-17
Wednesday: I Thess. 3:1-13
Thursday: Matthew 21:28-44
Friday: II Peter 1:16-2:10
Saturday: Psalm 91:1-16
OUR DAILY BREAD: MAY 9-14
Monday Psalm 139:1-24
Tuesday: Matthew 8:1-13
Wednesday: Matthew 12:1-14
Thursday: Colossians 2:8-19
Friday: Revelation 2:1-11
Saturday: Matthew 16:13-28
WE’RE GETTING CLOSER
After doing a lot of checking to make sure our media improvements are user-friendly, we have the big stuff ready to install as soon as the hardware arrives. This has been a major interest of several of us, but especially Del Bolin.
What we are doing is not “keeping up with the Jones’” , but moving into a new level of worship experience. The possibilities for visual enhancement are exciting. Look for it.
For years we have talked about the problem with the acoustics in the annex. Ten people singing can almost sound like a hundred, which is good. However, one person’s voice gets lost in bouncing around the acoustical structure so as to almost prevent others from hearing.
A plan to correct that and add to the decor is now in the works.
Stephanie arrived in Florida on Wednesday, after a long, tiring trip. She wishes to thank all those who came out and helped her pack the truck.
Her new address will be placed in the hand-out as soon as we have it. Her phone number and email address remains the same.
A day will be set for us to do some work around the building, both inside and outside. All in all, things on the outside look pretty good, due to some work on the shrubbery by Lyn Jordan and a friend. The area above the handicapped area was treated last year to kill unwanted vegetation and needs to be cleaned out, as well as using more shrub killer.
Inside the women’s downstairs restroom needs some cleaning in order to put Drylock on a wall that has developed dampness.
Stephanie left several books from various types of study, including some of the books we have used in past classes. They are on the library table. If you are interested, stop by and take any of them you want. The rest will be taken to the Rescue Mission, or to some other place they can be of use.