The life of evangelical churches and their spiritual leaders has been portrayed in some recent films and series. Can they help us start conversations?
Where are the Christian leaders with faith capable of moving the whole society towards profound transformation?
Once again tragedy has struck the US. Only a matter of months after the Charleston massacre, in which a young man shot nine people who were attending a Bible study, another youth carries out a similar crime.
At this stage in the investigation it appears that the perpetrator, who died in a shoot-out with the police, chose his victims because of their beliefs. Those who said they were Christians were shot in the head.
Since the Columbine massacre, on April 20th 1999, American society has witnessed a number of similar incidents, and in each case the question of the regulation of firearms comes up for discussion. Virginia Tech., the Sandy Hook primary school, the University of Texas, Aurora, Connecticut, Charleston, and now this most recent one in Umpqua, cast a shadow over a nation where the free market, in this case, takes precedence over the protection of its citizens.
As Christians, we cannot help feeling that there is a very important spiritual dimension to these attacks. Several of these shootings have been triggered by a profound hatred towards Christians on the part of the killers. The testimony of the families affected, praying together and forgiving the attackers, always makes a huge impact, which is a clear manifestation of the power of the gospel in the life of the individual.
However, the social perspective is also indispensable, and very relevant. Whatever the arguments put forward by the supporters of the right to possess firearms in the USA, they all come to nothing when tragedy strikes. No developed country is afflicted so often by massacres of this kind, as President Barack Obama pointed out.
The almost universal access to firearms is embedded in the culture, but the culture itself stands in need of redemption.
It is strange that in a country where Christians are still in the majority, the state does not take action to control an industry which is stained with innocent blood each time this kind of tragedy strikes.
Where are the Christian leaders with faith capable of moving the whole society towards profound transformation, and bringing down unjust laws that are contrary to the character of Jesus?