I find myself remarkably un-worked-up about the latest mass shooting at a community college in Oregon. It is not that I do not care. It is not that I do not grieve. I do care, and I do grieve! I am just not sure how to turn my grief into outrage. Outrage about this sort of thing used to come naturally for me. Now I hear a news report, see the pictures of grieving students and families, sigh, and curse. I just have no idea what to do or if anything can be done, really.
A few weeks ago, I was prepping for a radio interview about gun control by reading some old blog articles I had written for the Huffington Post. As I was scrolling down the page, I noticed the following comment:
Dunn does not speak for any Orthodox church, nor any lay Orthodox group. The disclaimer at the end of the article does not dispel the impression, given by the title,that he does so.
As a Greek Orthodox, I find this discrepancy offensive. The Orthodox religion is little known and understood by majority of Americans. I’m not sure what (false) legitimacy Dunn hopes to claim.
Dunn might rather write his column, make his point and, then, mention his religion while emphasizing that he is writing as individual and that his views may conflict with Orthodox church teaching. It would be far more intellectually honest.
Preface: I wrote this post in July, but I never published it. I was worried what black readers would think about me, that liberal readers would think I did not share their disgust, that conservative readers would say things that would evoke visceral reactions from me, and that critics would have ample ammunition for future screeds. I meant to publish this post eventually, but negligence gave the victory to cowardice.
I choose not to let that victory stand. Such a bald confession as I am about to make feels like an act of self-sacrifice, but it is one I should have made months ago. When one has failed the test of martyrdom, St. Cyprian says the best remedy is to go back into the arena. It is never too late. Truth does not care about news cycles.
There is only one salvation for you: take yourself up, and make yourself responsible for all the sins of men. For indeed it is so, my friend, and the moment you make yourself sincerely responsible for everything and everyone, you will see at once that it is really so, that it is you who are guilty on behalf of all and for all. Whereas by shifting your own laziness and powerlessness onto others, you will end by sharing in Satan’s pride and murmuring against God.
– Fr. Zossima in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov
It is too easy for me to be incensed about the tragic death of Trayvon Martin. It is not that I do not have a lot to be incensed about. I am angry. I am angry at the jury that let Zimmerman go free. I am angry at the Florida law for appealing to the Schwarzeneggeresque fantasies of vigilantes, encouraging them to ignore the advice of 911 operators, provoke an attack, and then shoot the attacker. But anger demands an appropriate response. How should I respond? I am tempted to say something on Facebook. Maybe I will post a picture of me in a hoodie, thereby assuring myself that I stand against the institutional racism of our society. Continue reading “I Shot Trayvon Martin”
For those of you who are worried about the government brainwashing our children with Obama’s “socialist propaganda,” I present my daughter. My problem with Obama is that I do not think he is socialist enough, yet Kyla comes often comes home from school parroting political opinions that make me throw up in my mouth a little.
Last night, she told me that she was going to do a civics project where she had to write a letter to her senator about a topic she cared about. She chose gun control, or as she put it, “I want to write against people who are trying to take away our right to own guns.”
I recently wrote that a Christian should not carry a concealed weapon because it violated the spirit of martyrdom and self-sacrifice the church tries to teach us. One common objection to this point was that to choose not to kill in the defense of another human being would be unloving. I agree. It would be unloving to the potential victim, and it would be unloving to the potential victimizer. In the Orthodox Church, killing in defense of self and country is still a sin. Continue reading “Why Killing in Self-Defense is Still a Sin”
Many of my fellow Christians are also vociferous defenders of so-called “gun rights.” They believe that an armed society is a safe society, and that the founding fathers intended an armed populace to be the last line of defense against tyranny. But sometimes our public debates can keep us from asking tough “in-house” questions. Lost in the debate over whether citizens can bear arms is the important question of whether Christians should bear arms. I am not talking about owning weapons for hunting or sport. I am talking about actually carrying a concealed weapon. Is “packing heat” consistent with a Christian witness? I think the most exemplary witnesses of the church – the martyrs – would say, “No.” Continue reading “Gun Control: Should A Christian Carry?”
Like everyone, I sometimes get into tit-for-tats online, but on those rare occasions in which I am being the better version of myself, I keep in mind that online discussions tend to generate more heat than light. The nastier the critics, the less likely they are to change their minds, and the more frustrated I am going to feel. So it is best to stay out of it.
But yesterday I received a “pingback” that led me to a couple of rather civil criticisms (here and here) of my latest piece in the Huffington Post. So I wanted to offer a brief response to a few points the authors make, which I have also seen reflected in other comments on my article. Perhaps this can be one of those rare internet moments when dialogue leads to mutual understanding. Continue reading “I am Not a Gun-Virgin (and Other Responses to my Critics)”