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Church Message

Another School Shooting -- Ignoring the Obvious
By Ronald Gallagher

Church message imageChurch sponsors jul17hours one day watching a potter at work and found the experience thoroughly fascinating. I had been reading the Jeremiah 18:1-10 passage where God sent him down to the potter’s house to observe him at work, and I thought it might be intriguing to do that myself. I didn’t fancy myself on some special, prophetic mission from God, I just figured that if He had sent Jeremiah to watch the process, there must be something in the process worth learning.

The potter was a busy little guy, always moving and frowning as he worked. He never announced what he was about to do and worked in silence—no comments, explanations, or descriptions. He’d just grab a hunk of clay off the shelf, beat on it for a while to soften it up, plop it onto the wheel, and then begin to work. It was impossible to tell at first what kind of vessel he was making. There was no picture illustrating what the finished product would look like, and whatever design there might have been, existed in his head alone and remained invisible to the rest of us through most of the process. All we could do was wait and watch as the piece developed.

As the wheel turned and he began to work, the design in his head that we could not see found its way down to his hands and feet. As he pumped to keep the wheel turning, his hands deftly, carefully pushed and pulled against the clay, dipping them in water periodically to keep the piece moist. He didn’t get hurried and never seemed to force anything. He patiently urged the clay a little at a time, bending and shaping it, removing the excess, and gradually thinning the walls until a vessel began to emerge.

That memory brings me to a burden we all have shared since the news broke that seventeen innocent people, mostly children, had their lives ripped away late last week in a Parkland, Florida school. All of us felt again that awful "blow-to-the-heart” as the pictures and stories poured in. We struggled to get our heads around the fact that another deranged or demonic (or both) killer had taken his lust for innocent blood into yet another school.

Then the predictable aftermath parade began. Following the initial shock came the inevitable waves of public posturing, politicizing, and psychological probing as the quest to "understand” unfolded. Every professional group imaginable has already begun its own effort to track the development of the pathology that led to another cold and calculating slaughter of peaceful and defenseless people. Everything about this young murderer’s life will be dissected and scrutinized in meticulous detail in the weeks to come. We will hear about his mental status, family background, personal idiosyncrasies and preferences, and questionable social history. Conclusions will be drawn, theories will be offered, legislation will be demanded, some kind of justice will be sought, all in an effort to diminish our fears and avoid asking, "Whose child will be next?” But one profoundly relevant issue will be ignored—again.

No one on mainstream news outlets will be heard talking about the psychological and behavioral impact of exposure to 12 to 14 years of "education” that not only fails to offer a reliable, authoritative basis for sound moral judgment, but vociferously denies that such a basis exists. Nobody will point out that there might be consequences to a public educational system in America that actively opposes anything remotely suggesting a reference to God, or the Bible, or anything that sounds like Christianity, or that smacks of moral accountability. Our children must be "protected” from such dangerous influences as the Ten Commandments and divine admonitions to love one another. Meanwhile, every kind of moral perversion imaginable must be taught, defended, and even promoted in the interest of a "well-rounded” education. It shouldn’t be all that shocking that decades of that kind of powerful academic influence has us struggling to find ways to protect our children from one another.

Thanks to DNA, some things come built-in, but moral character isn’t one of them. Character has to be molded and shaped into us as we grow. God said "Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6, NKJV).

The violence, moral degradation, and ethical chaos currently enveloping America should surprise no one. Maybe this time, somebody will suggest that we examine whose hands are on the precious clay we send out to our public schools every day, what pattern is guiding their work, and what kind of vessel are they really making?

In addition to being an active writer, speaker, teacher, and blogger, Ron Gallagher serves in a variety of roles as a ministry consultant for local churches. His Biblical insights are coupled with down-to-earth humor, satire, and relevant stories, all aimed at promoting "right side up thinking in an upside down world.” Ron strives to apply God’s truth in a way that stimulates the mind, encourages the heart, and challenges the cultural norm.  Check out his blog, "Gallagher’s Pen” at


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InBrief 22feb18

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