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Our long overdue unfinished business: Ending violence

Updated: Oct 20, 2023

(Wix stock photo)

By Dr. Bascom Ratliff

Pastor, Parker/Beagle/Fontana United Methodist Churches

The Christian church has horribly failed in its responsibilities to pray for, and work toward, keeping our country safe. It seems that every day there is news of another mass shooting by someone who legally owns weapons and has anger and mental health issues. We have remained apathetic and complacent, permitting evil to flourish in our midst.

I fear that we are more prone to listen to those who lie to us or seriously distort the truth by telling us that some government agency wants to take our guns away. Unfortunately, these lies and distortions are granted front row seats in many of our churches.

If Godly people, which includes more than three-fourths of the American population, were to join forces, they could effectively make much-needed changes in who can legitimately possess a weapon in our country. At a minimum criminals, violent persons, and those with mental health problems should be prohibited from possessing weapons. Fixing the problem of gun violence has to be an item of urgent “unfinished business.”

God's message to us is that loving our neighbor and being instruments of peace and reconciliation are required of his followers. In Matthew, chapter 26, while Jesus was in Gethsemane, and was about to be arrested, one of his followers struck the slave of the high priest with a sword. Jesus told him to put his sword back in its place for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Also, in Matthew, chapter 5, Jesus tells us that “blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.”

The message is clear.

God calls us to be peacemakers and to love our neighbors. One way we can be peacemakers is to manage the possession and use of weapons. The religious community, with all of its diversity, is in a position of power to positively impact the possession and selling of weapons in our country. In doing so, they become peacemakers and instruments of change.

Owning a gun should be a privilege. If you abuse drugs or alcohol, if you commit violent criminal acts, or if you have mental health issues, you should be prohibited from possessing weapons or required to demonstrate your ability to safely possess a firearm. Its time we became peacemakers, blessed by Christ.

Service First.


If you want to hear more about God’s wonderful promise of unfailing love and enjoy a great morning of music and worship, please come and worship with us.

We will worship at the Parker United Methodist Church during July 2023.

We will worship at the Beagle UMC during August 2023.

We will worship at the Fontana UMC during September 2023.

All services are at 10 a.m.

We serve communion on the first Sunday of each month. All are welcome.

Dr. Bascom Ratliff (913-710-5748)

Pastor, Parker/Beagle/Fontana United Methodist Churches

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