Over the years, it has seemed as if the Lord has led (dragged?) me down a peculiar path, exposing me to just about every type of Christian practice, belief system, and tradition. Growing up in a conservative Protestant home, I attended Catechism class with my friends at Nativity Catholic Church. I have been called upon to participate in very formal "high church" worship, and was once part of a Black-Pentecostal group.
Something of the same could be said of church "socials" and other events put on by various church groups working from various motivations. Overall, I thought I had seen it all.
Then, the Men's Ministry of Christ Community Church announced a "Skeet Shoot." This was new. This I had to see.
My experience with "weapons" is just shy of virginal (can you say that in a blog?). My father, who would never allow a gun in the house, had three hard-and-fast rules about guns: First, Guns are always dangerous all the time. Second, all guns are ALWAYS loaded. Third, Guns are always dangerous all the time. The only time I ever actually fired a rifle was in 1962 in the Air Force. They gave us some instruction and then marched us out to the firing range. There we lay down next to this thing (was it an M-1?) and we shot at a target about 10 miles down range. I don't know whether I hit anything, that didn't seem to be the point. All we had to do was be sure we shot off all the "rounds" they'd put in the gun for us. (Why do you suppose they call bullets "rounds"?)
So I went Saturday to the Men's Ministry Skeet Shoot. They started things off, as men do, by eating. Then there was a required orientation (pretty sure it was more helpful than the Air Force's instruction). Then most of the men, a few sons and at least one daughter went out to the back 30 acres to shoot at some poor, defenseless thing called "Skeet." Everybody got fifteen tries - some of the marksmen even hit something. For twelve years I've believed God has some use in mind for those 30 acres of land behind Christ Community. Skeet Shoots may be what He had in mind, it was not in mine.
I am sure those who went to this church event for the sole purpose of firing a shotgun enjoyed themselves. But, that was not at all what the event was about. It was really about Christian men getting together to do something we could all enjoy, laugh about, and remember fondly -- this in the company of men who had neither to endure "locker-room talk" nor felt necessity to be "macho." All could just be men who loved their Lord and therefore each other. A good time was, therefore, had by all.
I didn't do any shooting. Not what I went for, anyhow (I'd heard there'd be free food). And, it's not that I didn't shoot any "firearms" just because "Guns are always dangerous all the time." No, I simply couldn't bring myself to see harm come to those poor defenseless Skeet things (whatever they are).
David L. Lewis is an observer of and sometimes commentator on life who may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.