First, we discussed why we chose the Violence table talk. We were concerned about the rapid international violence (Isis), the internet violence and the neighborhood violence. The most interesting thing was that we all were from different backgrounds. One was a veteran who was very concerned about the violence and the way the Isis are targeting the Christians. One was a Pastor who was concerned about the internet violence. Two of us from Bridgeport were concerned about the urban (neighborhood) violence. Later a judge joined us. He gave insight into the domestic violence cases that come before him, along with cases that involve alcohol- and drug-related violence.
Question arose: What can the churches do to curtail this violence?
· First, we agreed that we have to value people. When someone has an idea, we should listen thoughtfully to that person before rejecting the idea.
· Next, a suggestion was made to teach our children the dangers of alcohol and drug use at a young age. Don’t just leave it up to school (i.e., Dare Program).
· Churches must lower their tolerance for gun violence. For example, a person who commits a crime with a gun and serves time can have that gun returned to him when he returns to society. The only condition is that he does not commit another crime within a year.
· Churches must make efforts to treat those who suffer from alcohol and drug abuse as victims and not criminals. The church should lovingly show the abusers how their abuse is hurting their family as well as others. Churches should make efforts to find out what is motivating them to abuse drugs and alcohol.
· Children in the churches could benefit from participating in ongoing mission projects so they can learn the importance of giving back to society instead of expecting to receive. For example, children can participate in collecting bottles or pennies and giving it to a missional project. This will give them a sense of responsibility as well as help develop a caring heart for others.
· Because of increasing domestic violence, churches can be the vehicles that can help the victims find safe housing. Many victims return to the abusing spouse before he/she has experienced complete healing.
· Finally, churches can promote non-violence by helping others see how the non-violent movement can make a positive impact on society. Some of the examples to look at are the peaceful marches and activities by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Mahatma Gandhi.
In conclusion, the time is now for churches to act.
(Photo by Scott Ackerman)