The murder of 26 innocent souls in a Texas church has many looking for answers, both inwardly and outwardly. Politicians want to ban things, as is their way. Others take up prayer and hope for an end to the madness. Still others look at what they can do to protect them and theirs should such trouble cross their paths.
One such person is a Texas pastor who doesn’t intend to be left vulnerable while tending his flock.
SULLIVAN CITY, TX (KRGV/CNN) – A church in south Texas is taking action to prevent an attack like the one in Sutherland Springs through concealed weapons carried by the pastor and some parishioners.
Pastor Jamie Chapa at El Faro Bible Church in Sullivan City, TX, says when he saw the news about the mass shooting in Sutherland Springs, the situation hit too close to home.
“When they said ‘a congregation of 50,’ I said, ‘That’s our congregation,’” Chapa said.
In addition, like the Sutherland Springs church, El Faro is in a rural area.
Chapa has led the congregation at El Faro for 30 years, and he says it’s his responsibility to protect the church.
Let’s note that last bit. It’s his responsibility to protect the church. The analogy I made earlier between a pastor and a shepherd is hardly novel. It’s one of the more common comparisons made to describe how the clergy interacts with their congregation.
Yet what does a shepherd do? He tends his flock, but he also protects it.
Remember this scene from Mel Gibson’s movie, “The Patriot” when the reverend goes to fight? Start at about 3:42
“A shepherd must tend his flock and at times, fight off the wolves.”
While most preachers don’t take that quite so literally, it’s a valid point. Especially when we know churches are targets for madmen seeking to churn up carnage for whatever reason. The wolves aren’t taking the form of British soldiers, but American people who are unhinged.
The result, however, is the same. People die.
Chapa, however, has made a decision that if he is responsible for his congregation, then he’ll act responsibly and do what he can to protect him. Frankly, I’d feel a lot better in that church knowing the pastor takes that kind of thing seriously. Especially since most churches seem to be set up where the congregation has no choice but to sit with their back to a point of entry…but the pastor is facing them all.
He also won’t be alone. Chapa says there will be three other armed individuals serving as guards for the congregation.
Should Chapa have to make that decision? No. In a perfect world, no one would feel the need to carry a gun, despite having the right to do so. We don’t live in that world, however. We live in this one, and this one has bad people who want to do bad things.
Pastor Jamie Chapa seems to understand that and also understands that. He understands it and is acting upon it.
I’m sure he prays he’ll never have to use it. I think we all do, for his sake and ours, as well.