Standardizing the Narrative of Violence

liberty-university-gun-range. There's no violence here, I can assure you.
Real Liberty students, real guns! What could be better?

So Liberty University will let students pack heat on campus. As ‘The Blaze’ reports:

“As Liberty built more residence halls, our residents were having to park further from their rooms,” David Corry, Liberty’s general counsel, told Yahoo, adding that students said they “would feel safer if they didn’t have to leave their weapons locked in their glove compartments when walking from their cars to the residence halls, especially at night.”

It makes perfect sense that fundie students should pack heat, especially if they feel less than safe in the dark. The Washington Post adds:

Falwell said that one of the reasons for the university’s aggressive posture on carrying firearms is so that the campus will be prepared in the event of an “active shooter” scenario.

Thinking This Through

A shot rings out and twenty people simultaneously draw a sidearm, how do you know who was the original shooter? Maybe the first shooter a good guy who meant to stop someone [s]he thought was a real mass shooter. It seems to me that the split-second outcome such situations depends on whatever heat-packing person in the vicinity is least stable.

However ‘safe’ this makes some feel, I’d not want my daughter or son there. Still, Falwell reports strong support for LU’s Second Amendment direction. If this seems weird, remember that this is Liberty University.

Colloquial Translations

Others have their thoughts on allowing guns on campus and in residents. this also. These may or may not reflect student attitudes:

liberty-university-dead-end-shooting-range

liberty-university-locked-and-loaded-shooting-range

liberty-university-place-your-bet-shooting-range

Liberty’s Counter-Kingdom Perspective

Mr. Falwell may see himself as an informed expert on Islamic terrorism and how to end it, but not everyone wants to return to the Wild West. And I for one certainly do not want overlaid on the Gospel the sick narratives shapong the direction of LU. Some of us fail to see how the weaponization of society in any way resembles the teachings of Amos and Micah. Some don’t even see how the elevation of Emperor-elect Caligula in any way enhances the Glory/Presence of Jesus Christ in the world.

All around us, weaponry/conflict/militarism/redemptive_violence are normalized and standardized as the central narrative of the life, heart and soul of American civil religion. This all looks much more like conformity to the Rev 13 beastly powers and principalities of this age, than it does the kingdom of God in Christ. I question the wisdom of Liberty’s decision as a means of keeping the campus community safe. And given the poverty that can be found in the region, this seems a poor use of money.

The Heart of It

But my real problem with the Liberty decision is that it offers no challenge to what I see as the rise of beastly powers, and no challenge to overlaying a very backward, reactionary and divisive social-economic political agenda on top of the Gospel message. This obscures the Glory of Christ. What I see is rank conformity to the powers of this age even as the beast/Christ brand is sold as faithful Christian practice under the banner of fundamentalism.

In the apocalypse of Jesus Christ, Saint John the Theologian places the Spirit’s Seal [which is baptism – Ep 1:13, 4:30] and the Mark of the Beast in parody. So it is one or the other. To concur with the existing earthly order of demonic powers bears that mark on the forehead. To labor for the existing earthly order of demonic powers bears that mark on the hand.

Separation that Isn’t Separation

From where I sit, what is often passed off as fundamental faithfulness means paying lip-service to evangelical christology while the incarnation negligibly shapes Christian faith or practice. This is not fidelity to Christ; it is a Gnosticized and therefore blasphemous [per]version of it.

Liberty and the broader culture of which it is a part are tied far too closely to the principalities and powers of this age to make a credible profession of faithfulness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ however their ‘orthodox’ their paraded christology and soteriology otherwise claim to be.

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