17 July 2016

Weapons of War

What's your preferred weapon of war?
Every other Sunday, I have the opportunity to lead the discussion / teach our adult Sunday School class at church. As ours is a lay clergy and we serve on a volunteer (or 'voluntold' depending on your perspective) basis, I've had this Sunday School gig for a few years now and it's one I really enjoy. More often than not, I feel like I've come away as the one who has learned the most. Today was no different.

We focused our study on a group of people who, after their conversion, decided to bury their weapons of war and covenanted to never raise them again. As we discussed this, I asked the following questions:

What are the metaphorical weapons of war are you carrying that you need to bury?
Why is it so difficult to bury them?

I stressed the metaphorical bit because the last thing this needed to turn into was a battle royale over the Second Amendment. I mean that would have been fun, but wrong place, wrong time. Even I know that. Although no one ponied up with their own 'weapons of war,' I was cool with that. It meant as an introspective, thought-provoking question. We did have a solid discussion  about the challenges of letting those weapons go. These are often very personal things can they can, oddly enough, actually bring us comfort. This is especially true when they are used as defense mechanisms.

I started thinking about the weapons of war that we carry. Here's a few of them, and this is by no means an exhaustive list:
  • The Grudginator: Deployed for ages and a personal favorite of many, this weapon is timeless and is prized for its nasty efficient simplicity. Known for its ability to store up power and feed itself over long periods of time, it is expert in dividing friends and family. It has some wicked side effects, including an ability to blind the good judgement of those who choose to carry this weapon. It is also amazingly unpredictable as to when it goes off. It does have an uncanny ability to explode during family reunions and at the reading of wills.
  • The Judge-o-matic XLS: Like the aforementioned Grudginator, this one has been around for ages. It is a wily one too. Once in the hands of people, it embeds itself and gives them a sense of moral superiority that leads in almost every case to the ostracizing of others for the way they act, look, believe, or even love. One of its most profound side effects is rampant intolerance and divisiveness. 
  • The Snark Missile: This is a tricky one. In well-trained hands, it can be a funny little devil, deployed in conversation to point out irony or absurdity. More often than not though, it's an invective laden bomb typically deployed to mask the insecurities and discomforts of its user. 

There are so many more weapons that we carry in our own personal arsenals. Like the countless number of warheads that the US and the former Soviet Union amassed, we've got way more in our arsenals than we'll ever use. I know I'm a real big fan of The Snark Missile. To give it up now, during the greatest gift snark has ever been given - the unholy Trump/Pence alliance and the train wreck that is the Republican presidential campaign - my Twitter feed would never be the same. If watching "The Americans" has taught me anything, it's that the Russians had just a hard a time getting to peace with us (US) as we did with them.

Take a look at what you're carrying. What can you do without? Which ones can you bury?

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