I was even an altar boy, in a small Massachusetts town.
Later, I studied theology and graduated from a Jesuit university where the gentle hand of the Lord was always present, especially on 10-cent beer nights, when I'd eventually fall to my knees and ask God himself, in the name of his only son, Jesus, and his parents, Mary and Joseph, to please make the room stop spinning.
Not that any of that will matter.
Because today, as the sadness from the horrible shootings at New Life Church still cloaks our town, I'm going to raise some questions that may sound unbelievably insensitive. Maybe I should have let more time pass. But I have to get it off my chest. If it comes out the wrong way, I am, truly, sorry.
When did it become OK to say God helped you gun someone down?
This is, after all, the same God who burned "Thou Shalt Not Kill" into a stone tablet on the mountain, setting the tone for his existence and, as a bonus, startling the living daylights out of Moses.
And yet we reacted with a shrug to the revelation from a church security guard that, as she shot Matthew Murray on Dec. 9, she "prayed for the Holy Spirit to guide me" and that the Lord did, indeed, stand by her side and offer his support.
Jeanne Assam, the volunteer security guard, is most certainly brave. She most definitely prevented other innocent people from being killed by a young man loaded down with guns and ammunition and a twisted mind. She told us that she "engaged him and took him down. It seemed like it was me, the gunman and God."
We listened. And we did not flinch.
Maybe it's time to break out the "Where Would Jesus Aim?" T-shirts.
Let me be clear. I believe Assam did the right thing. She wounded the gunman, who then shot and killed himself. It was clearly the best possible ending, at that moment, to a day of death and mayhem. That Assam saved even one innocent life, that her brave actions allowed even one child to live, deserves our deepest gratitude.
But the Holy Spirit was at her side, guiding her?
God stood there and helped as she rained bullets down upon the nut?
I don't think so.
I mean, if God was hanging out at New Life Church that day, why didn't he do something to keep a pair of terrific young women sisters Stephanie and Rachael Works alive? And was God in Arvada earlier in the day when the same gunman killed Philip Crouse and Tiffany Johnson?
Does the Lord now need us, and our 200 million handguns, to do his work?
Couldn't he have just sent down a heart attack or made the lunatic's gun jam? How about a good old-fashioned smoting? Have we gone crazy?
We should have spoken up earlier, of course, back when it started, when football players began staring into the TV cameras and thanking God for allowing them to make that 65-yard touchdown run. We should have spoken up when baseball players thanked Jesus for giving them the strength to hit that ball 485 feet into the upper deck a feat we now know was less Jesus and more HGH (human growth hormone) injections.
And we certainly should have taken notice when the first boxer started thanking the Good Lord Jesus Christ and all the apostles and any saints he could think of for allowing him to throw that devastating, knockout left hook.
Really, what kind of savior helps people knock other people out?
I don't know why God allowed such horrible things to happen in Colorado on that dark Sunday. But I do not think he was there when any of the gunfire broke out. I definitely don't think he helped anyone shoot someone else.
I think that was all us. Free will, you know.
I was taught that God is kind and passionate.
I'm that kind of Christian.
Listen to Rich Tosches each Thursday on the Darren and Coba Show on MY99.9. Reach him at email@example.com.
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