Bishop Julius C. Trimble is the Resident Bishop of the Indiana Area of the United Methodist Church.
Bishop Trimble has the personal mission to encourage all people with the love of Jesus Christ to rise to their highest potential. His commitment to his personal mission led Bishop Trimble to create the “To Be Encouraged” Podcast and co-host Rev.Dr. Brad MIller.
Bishop Trimble says, “Jesus compels me to share an encouraging word or two about Jesus, theology, the bible, the pandemic, the environment, racism, voting rights, human sexuality, and the state of the United Methodist Church.”
To Be Encouraged with Bishop Julius C. Trimble is to be published weekly and is available at www.tobeencouraged.com and all the podcast directories.
Bishop What What's your thoughts on this? Obviously you You united with other leaders to speak to call for a special session of the Indiana legislature to deal with recent legislation regarding loosening of gun gun restrictions. But what do you think could happen in the local church or the local Christian or that pastor who's out there looking for some leadership and direction about this area, or particularly if they see, I gave my quick my quick personal story went to our local Fourth of July celebration. Last weekend, I saw probably there about 4000 people there, I saw probably half a dozen people carrying firearms there. And it just scared me. Okay, it just didBishop Julius Trimble:
visually speak to this issue here about what a local church pastor or church can do? Well, I think, first thing I think, you know, and I don't, I don't mean to sound like a broken record. But But I am, I think the first thing we should always do is pray. But after we pray is, is recently after the Uvalde shooting, a lot of people were saying, thoughts and prayers are not enough. But I think I pray I don't just pray for victims and pray for, for God to do God to do what only God can do. I pray for God to give me the will to do what the things that I want to do. One of the things I think we ought to do is as people of faith, and particularly in the United Methodist tradition, is not to put press the mute button on our prophetic goodness. So we have a prophetic responsibility, even in our general rule is to do no harm to do good. Stay in love with God. So we have to discern what does that mean, to not to press the mute button on our prophetic witness? Well, hey, let's go to the Bible. How about what I thought, what? Exodus 22Bishop Julius Trimble:
The first thing God says is, thou shalt have no other gods before me, God, God is a jealous God. And so part of the issue I see with gun violence and other issues, social issues are that we have become, guns have become an idol god, guns have become, and I'm a part of a family where many of my family members, I'm not telling you what I have, or don't have this don't break in my house. But I'm just saying, I'm not a person who says that people should not own guns or have the right to own guns. But I think that in our country, unlike that guns have become an it's an it's idolatry, that we that we have not we've now we've now expanded our understanding of the Second Amendment to mean a right without any restrictions. Course when that was written, you know, there were, you had a musket, it took you take you five minutes to load trigger, the loads your rifle, in order for you to fire fire one shot. So I think number one hit have have our sense of ownership and our right to do what we want to do now superseded what God intends for us to do. And I wrote about it. I think it was, I can't remember what shooting it was after my article was straight from Exodus 2013. What does God say about Thou shalt not kill? So I have found I have family members who who say, you know, who will say yeah, the only thing that can stop a bad person with a gun is a good person with a gun. So that, you know, if you take that logic, that means everybody has a gun, and then everybody ought to be an expert. And using the gun as well, which, according to our law enforcement professionals say that's just not going to happen. And I can't for the life of me, I think most of our most of our limitations in the church are self imposed. It's not because the DISA Book of Discipline and arch faith tradition prohibits it, or it's not because the Bible doesn't give us guidelines for how we should act. It's we have, we have it, we have embraced the culture so much, that we have stopped using our voice to speak on behalf of children, for example, and the shooting in Highland Park. Many of the students just dropped to the ground when that according to what I read, is because they some of them had recently been through active shooting. What do you call them? drills in school? And you remember when we were used to be in school, we had fire drills, you remember fire drills, so So but now the world The world has changed so much. So as far as the church goes, I think we cannot, we cannot just stand by and watch what I think is unbridled idolatry.Brad Miller:
I love what you're saying about the idolatry and about having a prophetic word in Cameroon. I want to talk to you for a minute about how we get this prophetic word out. I want to call upon your marketing expertise. You've been involved with a very successful marketing programs, especially the Biden Harris campaign, a lot of folks responded to the things that you worked on in that era. And now you're involved with this in the company that you work with now. But you know, we have this divide in our world right now we got some folks who really are adamant in one area, we have other people added on another other area. And it's going to take some convincing or some persuasion there. What do you think are some of the things that we can do in a practical way in order to change people's minds, move people to action, that are practical, pragmatic that we can do?Cameron Trimble:
I think that thing, it starts in a place of agreement. In words of agreement and reassurance, I think we are now we've we've passed the time where you can just simply tell give people a bunch of state statistics about gun violence, and people have heard it, or if they haven't heard it, they're not trying to hear it, what we can do, and I think, especially if we start both with us, and then in the church, and the word there is, is pair God's Word in pairs, some of some of those base baseline Thou shalt not kill. And so many of the, I would say some of the base scriptures in word that we have, and pair them with agreement into a we're all are focused here on on on peace, and life and the ability here to continue to live and thrive with our personal families. And then start to push from that point, I think, more specific tactics in the sense of how do we start pushing for something that I can say most people agree with, even if even if the church just got behind background checks, which again, I understand especially those who are truly impacted by gun violence, realize doesn't solve everything. But people need to see some sense of accomplishment or some sense of, of coming together around something to be able to push for something. And that getsBishop Julius Trimble:
us there was that was that was that included in the recent legislation they passed?Cameron Trimble:
It was not unfortunately did the recent legislation that passed and and the President is actually doing, it's going to be doing a large event at the White House with victims from some of the biggest and largest most recent mass shootings. It closes a few years there legislation referring to is the bipartisan Safer Communities Act that was recently signed into law, which is which is a step it's not it's not the entire step, but is this step but causes things like the domestic violence loan loophole, which people who were convicted of mastic violence crime, from from getting from getting firearms, and then in some money, a little under a billion dollars, to for states to implement crisis intervention programs, and a few other things of that nature. But I will say getting behind some common sense things, whether it's that whether say, hey, we don't need this many bullets on the street, and people do not have money to be able to access this many bullets, and say, Can we work toward can we as a church work toward limiting the amount of bullets that people can shoot, and making sure at least everyone who owns a gun has to go through some level of backroom shift? I think one of the biggest things that as a quick marketing note that has tested well over time is that I have to go through extensive background and get a license and so many things to drive a car, which is also both is a convenience, but very dangerous. And when you look at accidents and deaths and car deaths, is that in Kim, can we put some of that same thinking and information behind to hey, we just want to make sure this person is not been convicted of a crime is not a risk to themselves or others, or has a proven criminal record.Brad Miller:
What do you what do you think Cameron and Bishop about kind of public events such as an old camera, you're involved with? The march for our lives, at least we're aware about that. How's that a part of what we're talking about, you know, public displays of, of interest in policies andCameron Trimble:
let's say the public displays of interest serve a couple purposes. The biggest one is a it is a show of force, both not to just elected lawmakers, but also to to other people that may that that may want to join, but there may they may not be as inclined as church leaders or church folks to get to get out there. But when you see others, it's the act of positive reassurance and positive reinforcement when you see others stepping up. It encourages or at least gives us strength to others to be able to also add their voice. I would say that thing that the church can do, given that you have such, you have such a national connection, but you really have a local community focus with a church as a pillar of its local community, wherever we are Indiana, or across the country, when you're able to, and as I said, at the beginning, when you're able to impact your local, your local city, town and state legislative bodies, they react to move a lot quicker, it doesn't, if you get a few 100 people together to consistently show force in a town. So you're Noblesville, Indiana, or Indianapolis or in Cleveland, Ohio, where I'm from, or even even smaller suburbs or towns there. But you're able to show I can get 100 people a couple 100 people out there, those people are only elected by a couple 1000 votes, they realize if a few 100 people show up at our city, at our at our city hall. Oh, wow, this is actually going to impact this is a they're probably a lot more people who couldn't make it. So this is the thinking of a large part of my community. And I'm, I'm more apt to listen and be able to push. And then the other thing I think the church can really do in terms of those those public displays is continue to showcase them and really push them out across digital and social media, where that is the beauty of being able to be connected online, across all these various platforms is that now other folks from around the country that may not be there, but they may want to send their support, they may want to send their dollars, they may want to understand what you all did here in one community and say, You know what, I can use that as a blueprint of what I can do in my community. So I would say, yeah, those are the two thingsBrad Miller:
to ask you one more thing that I've wanted to give Bishop kind of the last word on our conversation here. But I always like to ask a question kehrmann. And every time Bishop I get together for podcasts. And the theme of this podcast is to be encouraged. You know, we live in some discouraging times with all the things we'll be talking about here today, when loss of life and some crazy legislation as far as I'm concerned. But what is encouraging to you right now and the topics we've been talking about what gives you a note of encouragement,Cameron Trimble:
I'm always encouraged by the Lord. I mean, and even in the darkest times, I lean on lean on my faith, I lean on the word I lean on, and lean on history. So I'm always gonna have a bright and positive outlook, even if even if that even if that goal is not reached for for some time off, I'm always going to be encouraged. But I understand everybody doesn't have the level of faith or as strong faith as I do. So I think what actually encourages me more is that this is a conversation. The legislation that did pass and was signed into law by the President encouraged me and encouraged me more of the fact that in the face of so many things that happened, at least something I've done, not a lot. I'll be the first to admit it is not a lot. But it's something that had happened. And there's there's conversation there. And then also the thing that is encouraging and what I think is missed in some of the national headlines, as I mentioned it being able to I went on a 100 plus city tour the summer of 2018 with the martyr allows students I rode the bus and we popped out two or three places in almost in over 25 states, cities and big cities and small towns. And I got to see groups of five to 8000 down to a couple 100 in churches, local community centers, who stood up and over 60 different local and state laws were passed. Coming out of that summer, coming out of that summer that were passed to help curb in in gun violence. It didn't maybe get all the national headlines, but it encouraged me to let him know that there's progress finishBrad Miller:
up wrap up our conversation here. Anything you want to ask Cameron about, what's your last word?Bishop Julius Trimble:
So I just want to just make sure I get my facts. Right. Kevin, you mentioned in March for our lives buster. So those last these were students, am I correct? Are these high school studentsCameron Trimble:
who are high school and collegeBishop Julius Trimble:
stars? These are celebrities that we you know, know about our elected officials. These were students who were actually driving, driving this change that did take place of this movement in 20. Whether it's still going on now, is that correct? Yeah, so So I'm encouraged Brad and Cameron, I'm encouraged by by the fact that there are always people who are who are hope, torch bearers, torch bearers for Hope, who are who are ambassadors for change. And this has been true throughout history who Whether it was apartheid in South Africa, the civil rights movement, often it were children and young people who brought about change. Of course, we think of the big names of people, historically, and we quote them often. But it's a lot of the unsung people who were bringing about change throughout, for I'm hopeful, because I think about if I were a local pastor in the United Methodist Church, or any church, you know, where would I lean into, if I was in Indiana, I lean into the fact that in our annual conference, we celebrated children matter most they gave what I thought was a very impactful response in your conference, addressing trauma in our communities and addressing, most people would agree even in small towns, you know, that our children should be able to go to school and be safe. I don't think you get people that will speak against that, how that happens. So you know, and I've said this on more than one occasion, a child shouldn't have to pretend to be dead, in order not to come home in a body bag. And so what happened in Uvalde, and what happened in Sandy Hook, and what's happened in schools and, and places all across the country, we should just declare that as unacceptable. And if we start from that vantage point, you know, while we, we might be in places a lot of our communities, Cameron, our communities where people maybe have to defeat the other, they lean more on the other side of the argument that you know, are the right to own arms, you know, triumphs over all other rights. And what I've argued, is that, that's just really, we've come to a point where that's just idolatry, where we have abandoned the, the Moses, this message from God, that God has to be put before everyone else, and, and the commandment that thou shalt not kill. And I certainly don't want to leave without seeing and obviously, all of the commandments are important, including die show, Honor thy father and thy mother might be lucky, since I have my son who's on I want to make sure theyBrad Miller:
get through the whole conversation, at least some sort of Father, Son, son, father moment here, and what a way to what a way to the other year, just what a great opportunity and privilege, it's been to be a part of this conversation. Thank you. Regarding some things that really matter, some things are really matter in our world, in our churches,Bishop Julius Trimble:
you know, there's evidence, they are evidence based solutions, everybody says nothing can be done. I'm not an expert on this. But there, I can't remember what university was from. There's a professor that's a psychology professor of brains, analysts, who's done studies and said, that person's until your brain till you reach the age of 25, there's certain decisions that you have a harder time making in a time of crisis. So his argument was that if we raised the age from 18, to 25, before a person could buy an assault weapon, I'm in favor of banning all the assault weapons. He said that if you look at the statistics of those who've actually utilize assault weapons in, even in these mental health situations, or mass shootings, they've tended to be within a certain age range. His study is this is that, again, evidence based solutions was that if you understand really the development of the brain and so forth, that that when it's when it's time to make decisions, that we're not capable of making a certain decision to reach a certain age, some have argued about, well, you know, if you're 18, you can serve in the military. I've talked to military and many of my family members who serve in the military say, Well, you know, you you you have an assault, but that weapon doesn't even belong to you. That's government property. So if you're, if you're in the military, that the weapons belong, aren't your weapons, you don't take them home on the weekend for your own usage, so I think they're evidence based solution one, one Congress person who's no one's gonna follow, his recommendation was, there'll be something like 1,000% tax on like we, we put taxes on cigarettes, and the higher we put taxes on cigarettes, it reduced the, you know, the consumption and so forth. But so I think evidence basically should read it. But as far as from the theological and pastoral perspective, I think we ought to, we ought to embrace the notion that we should be able to live in peace and prepare for the common good and no child should have to go to school and be afraid to play in the playground.Brad Miller:
Living in peace should be just kind of standard shouldn't and especially for those of us who fall into principes so it's been a real honor privilege today Cameron treble our special guest today on the two on the to be encouraged podcast with Bishop Julius treble, and Bishop, would you like to close us with a prayer here today, then we'll close our podcast, I'd beBishop Julius Trimble:
glad to and then a blessing to those who will be watching us and those who listen to the podcast. You know, sometimes we're looking for a sign this may be your sign that God loves you. There's nothing you can do about that. but receive that love and God forgives you, Lord God, we just ask that you bless those who, who have participated in the podcast and, and those who will receive this podcast through the various platforms, we just ask that you in these difficult days, grant us joy and peace and optimism. And let us be the change that we want to see. And we pray all of this in the strong name of Jesus Christ, a friend, a liberator, our Savior, amen. Amen.