In the Forward to Augustine’s CITY OF GOD, Etienne Gilson describes Augustine’s two loves and two cities. Gilson writes that “the two loves produce two cities.” Quoting Augustine,

“These are two loves, the one which is holy, the other, unholy; one social, the other individualistic; one takes heed of the common utility because of the heavenly society, the other reduces even the common weal to its own ends because of a proud list of domination; the other is subject to God, the other sets itself up as a rival to God; the one is serene, the other tempestuous; the one peaceful, the other quarrelsome; the one prefers truthfulness to deceitful praises, the other is utterly avid of praise; the one is friendly, the other jealous; the one desires for its neighbor what it would for itself; the other is desirous of lording over its neighbor; the one directs its effort to the neighbor’s good, the other to its own…. the one is the City of the just, the other the city of the wicked.”

In 2018, there have been over 300 mass shootings in the USA. A mass shooting according to the Gun Violence Archive, includes four or more people, not including the shooter, are shot and killed. The Congressional Research Service says four or more people killed. Today, 13 people were shot while line dancing in Thousand Oaks, California. A week and a half ago there was the massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue. Last spring there was Marjorie Stoneman Douglas, and again and again and again. 38,000 gun deaths a year. The USA is #1 in the world for rate of gun deaths.

I find the plethora of gun violence in the USA, anathema to following Christ. We who profess Christ: Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Socialist, whatever, must decide what love we embrace, what city we want to create. As for me, I choose the City of Love, the City of God. In the words of Deuteronomy 31:19, “Choose life, so that you and your descendants may live.”

Rev. Ron Letnes