Monday 6 November 2017


Kids have shorter attention spans in church the younger they are. In this church you can see the youngest kids ducking out of the pews, fidgeting, but some older ones are listening, because the service is not pretentious, it's not over their heads. The Pastor Frank Pomeroy makes sense. He uses ordinary language, and a nice story about his fishing trip, with a video of the dolphins there to illustrate his point. 

His child Annabelle is since dead.  

The music is relatable, accessible, likeable guitars, you can sing along. There is lots of music. There is no hate speech. 

First Baptist Church, Sutherland Springs, Texas

There are a wide range of ages there, in the little church, including alot of children. Some are likely now dead. Reportedly the youngest dead is 5. A two year old is injured and a pregnant woman is killed.

Even deaf people are included in the video as there is a lady doing sign interpreting. 

First Baptist Church, Sutherland Springs, Texas

First Baptist Church, Sutherland Springs, Texas

First Baptist Church, Sutherland Springs, Texas

As the stated intention is to evangelise, as the congregation are invited to do by the pastor, I hope it's ok to put up these screenshots from their video. The words on the overhead screen seem comforting.

The pastor invites everyone to a church party at the swimming pool and to bring outsiders , so that they can see how normal the church people are. It is only August of this year, the last Summer some of the congregation will ever see in this world. This Sunday that church is yet another target of the church mass shootings in America. First Baptist Church, Sutherland Springs, Texas, USA.

Well it might be the first baptist church, but it isn't  the biggest. It is little, and humble, and ordinary, at least to look at. So is the congregation. Ordinary people just like us. By now, some of them know something we don't know, the afterlife.

As an overseas person, I've got the impression that Texans are proud of their right to carry guns. A civilian outside the church chases the gunman, firing. 
Guns do not help the people in the church, they presumably don't take guns to church. They are armed with faith, community, care for one another.
Should they have taken guns to church and fired back? No. 

"An act of evil" - President Trump.

"This evil act" - Governor Abbott

So I was thinking about the evil that can make people do such things, whether through agents like oerweening anger, mental illness like PTSD, brainwashing, peer pressure, physical changes in the brain through injury such as drugs and alcohol abuse, collisions, etc. 

As I often do I decided to do my research and was led to this clip, taken in the targeted church below, just a few months ago. There's a whole series online taken there this year, as if someone was prescient. It's over an hour, is nice to watch, though eerie, but for anyone with low download limit,I've included a partial transcript of the pastor's sermon.  Anyway, I think the pastor has some reasons nailed as to how we can all be tempted to do evil. 

Partial transcript of the above sermon on temptation :

"Satan is also a fisher of men". "I can guarantee that everyone in this room has been bombarded with some kind of lure. " " Jesus is the only one who has never been caught."

"Satan is an incredibly good fisherman." " Satan is persistent." "Dolphins never take the bait. Why? Because they are too smart to take the bait. They are too smart to get hooked."

" It comes down to you and I not taking the bait."

He goes on to say that Satan tempts us more often at certain times. First, just after we have experienced some spiritual high. 

Second, we can be tempted when we are really physically tired or sick, hungry, or in pain. 

He also said that Satan likes to hit us when we are alone "without godly brothers or sisters to lift us up. "

 "A big old lure on a Satan filled line." 

Photo from Pexels.

"When you get alone that's when Satan tends to surround you."

"The more we cut off our communication to God the brighter the lures that Satan drops in front of us."

"Satan gets us to sin against God....he wants us to sin against God so we will feel unworthy to reach others....he says look what I've done he bit the lure". 

"Satan gets us to doubt God sometimes... Satan knows where and when to catch us, we need to say how can I resist (the lures)." 

He recommends reading the "word of God" (while waving a Bible) that that will give help from the Holy Spirit during temptations. "When you are in the midst of temptation Satan is going to throw a lure out there and say 'just do it' are you doing with the temptations that Satan is throwing in your life?"

" If you don't love Jesus Christ as your Lord and saviour God's knocking at your heart.... I believe Satan is out there fishing every day and he's taught his minions how to fish as well. "

Photo from Pexels.

Sermon by Pastor Frank Pomeroy. 

Parishioner then prays:

" Father, Thankyou for all the great gifts you have given this church. "

The congregation files from the church, taking their time, people hugging ,talking and shaking hands, a baby shifted from hip to hip, children excited, while the band plays on and sings.

The last line of my handwritten transcript says - (Me crying). 

Lord, let me never cease to be shocked by evil like mass killings and please don't let people like the survivors lose their faith because of it. Please help the injured, the families, and the souls of the departed.

Tell me what you think about these mass shootings in the comments below. If you know credits for the hymns on the overhead screen , please post them. 


Rina said...

Thank you for this. You honour the dead and the suffering with your deep feelings. Mass shootings are beyond my capacity to begin to understand. I can get the feelings behind all kinds of petty evils, but not this. I believe these people have no concept of what another human being is. They know only their own miserable selves. Their humanity is incomplete. Whatever religious, political or social motives they claim are not motives, simply excuses.

Running on empty said...

Well he got a dishonourable discharge from the Air Force, apparently, and 12 months confinement, but by then he would have already had high level training in weapons.

People in Australia are saying America needs better gun control.

Running on empty said...


Running on empty said...

I think some of the people visible in the above video were among the slain. The little children had just come in from Sunday school and were sitting in the back pews.

Fizzfan said...

The truth is people are losing patience because they’re tired of hearing about these atrocities but have to reconcile the fact that nothing is done about it. In fact those in power bleat on about the ‘right’ to carry arms and are in fact are proposing (if that link is anything to go by) let’s go out and get some more!

That is insanity right there.

KEthical Politics said...

My opinion is it is insane to keep blaming evil without following it up with actions to do something to stop the evil. America is lax when it comes to mental health care as well as physical healthcare. It has been many years since mental health has been addressed in US. Politicians are using fear of ISIS since 911 to garner votes and the NRA uses fear to sell guns. Lack of mental care, fear of terrorists, and guns, is a combination that is wrecking havoc.

It is not enough to pray....praying for the people to awaken. No, something has to be done to curb these disasters, imho. There is no possible way to stop every evil act but there are things that can be done to reduce the carnage. The NRA has bought many of the politicians. The politicians have voted against any form of gun control and even voted against studying why we have so much gun violence. Everytime gun control is brought up in public discourse many people run out and buy more guns because of fear of guns being taken away or is a vicious circle.

My heart goes out to those families who are affected in Texas.

Fizzfan said...

It's heartening to hear the glib rhetoric spoon fed to the public about the ‘evil doers’ isn’t swallowed by everyone. Neatly packaged garbage that prevents the need to actually sit down and address the real issues which are very complex and would require real effort, not to mention money.
It’s so much more complicated than that and you’ve ring fenced the main problems very nicely.
It’s impossible for me to navigate the notion of guns being a household essential, let alone people thinking they’re the answer to curb the ever escalating number of murders and suicides they enable. It’s a growing monster that just keeps getting fed.

It’s clearly a huge problem but if as you say the NRA has such power and politicians are are too weak or financially dependent on the revenue to enforce strong reforms, it leaves little room for hope of improvement.

It’s a volatile subject and easy to condemn, but clearly many people feel firearms are necessary. That’s the really sad thing.

Running on empty said...

What some Australians are thinking about US gun laws,( in the comments section)

KEthical Politics said...

90% of Americans suppoert universal background checks to purchase a gun. The political party in control is the one against them. After every mass shooting the people ask for some controls and are told not to politicize the issue.....they refuse to address any controls or will lose the millions of dollars in donations given to them by the NRA. If anything is evil,it is the greed for money over the safety of the people they represent.

Running on empty said...

The sermon did say that satan tempts everybody.

Fizzfan said...

Mass shootings make headlines but here’s some numbers that show those killings amount to a rather small minority of a much much bigger problem that has been in evidence for years.
Between 2001 and 2013, 406,496 people died as a result of gun violence in America according to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.

Of this number the majority - 237,052 - were actually suicides as opposed to homicides.

Homicides accounted for 153,144 deaths over this period while the rest comprised 8,383 accidental deaths, 4,778 deaths from police shootings and 3,200 where the cause couldn't be determined.

In this context, mass shootings make up a comparatively small proportion of overall gun deaths in the US, accounting for around three per cent of homicides in 2017 so far according to the Gun Violence Archive.

I don’t know what to say other than it’s too much. Way too much......

Running on empty said...

For anyone considering suicide, don't, I care that you live. Call one of these numbers in your country or look in the phone book, or see your doctor.

Running on empty said...

Revision, the youngest killed in this mass shooting was an 18 month old baby. The shooter is also revealed to have been through the mental health system. Therefore he should have been prohibited from owning firearms.
Earlier this year, President Trump reversed a law that mentally ill people cannot own guns in America. Although that law may have been abused in some instances, it certainly should not have been abandoned altogether.

I also read that people can freely sell guns to each other. That should not be allowed, accountable businesses should be the only sellers, and semi automatic weapons should only be owned by the military.

KEthical Politics said...

There is really very little oversight of guns in US if you add in the factor they are not regulated on the internet. The only record keeping is microfilm which is too slow to access. There is also a loophole called Charleston Loophole which is if a gun dealer does a search for records and it takes longer than 3 Days the gun can be purchased. The records would have to be readily available or many will be sold with that loophole. Also no records are needed between private sellers. The laws are not uniform in every state. 36 states have little or no gun laws. AK15s and other high powered rifles are in great demand supposedly for hunting which is totally false and because many are fearful they will be outlawed so they want to aquire one just in case.
The NRA spends millions lobbying legislators and they are now working in many other countries promoting gun rights to promote sales for manufacturers.

Running on empty said...

It's overkill.

Fizzfan said...

You were right KE.......Greed for money is clearly more important than peoples safety and lives. It’s just too sad and awful and must be incredibly frustrating for right minded people like yourself to have to stomach and live with.