- When the story first broke, all that was being said, to my knowledge, was that the gunman was reacting to something that had happened to him twenty years earlier. So it appeared to be a revenge thing. Does anything illustrate the desperate circumstances that the world has fallen into better than the increasing tendency for people to lash out in lethal rage against people who have never harmed them, people whom they don't even know? How is it that people have such intense hatred in their hearts? How is it that we are assimilating this sort of thing into our collective consciousness more and more readily?
- Later it developed that 20-year-old issue that the gunman had dealt with was his own molesting of family members (by his own admission; it has not been confirmed), and that his intent had evidently been to rape and torture the young women whom he held captive. He had kept these desires hidden for years, only to explode in vicious destruction. And yet, many persist in trying to make sexuality separate from all other morals or ethics. Anything is permissible, it seems, as long as it is kept locked in the imagination or between consenting adults. But as we see here, by the time it does explode into violence, it is too late to do anything about it. If only he had found salvation, healing, and deliverance through our Lord!
- This kind of attack on what the man probably assumed were the most innocent victims he could find can only be regarded as demonic. Can there be any doubt that we are truly in a spiritual war, and who our enemy is? Nero fiddled while Rome burned; will the epitaph on the contemporary church be that we navel-gazed while our civilization crumbled and the bearers of God's image all around us perished without a knowledge of the truth?
- It is impossible for us as believers to cloister ourselves away so that the world can't "get at" us. The Amish are about as far removed from contemporary society as you can get, and yet it crashed in on them. I am not specifically indicting the Amish in this; they, in fact, see tourism as their opportunity to show the outside world a stark difference. But we all have our ways of cloistering ourselves away, socially if not geographically and culturally. Our business is to be in the world as an influence, not safely huddled away from it.
- An interview I saw with an Amish man was quite revealing. He talked about the importance of forgiveness, and mentioned that the gunman's wife and children were also victims in this tragedy. He was, of course, right--that family is scarred for life by the actions of that husband and father. Can you imagine being a child and coming home from school to find out that not only is Daddy dead, but that he was a murderer and everyone in the world knows about it? We seriously need to pray for that family. But I was deeply impressed that one of the victims of this tragedy could have the perspective to recognize the need of another, very different sort of victim.
- This brings into question the type of theological discussion encouraged by this blog and many others. How much difference does dotting one's theological 'i's and crossing one's theological 't's correctly matter in a world that is this lost, this corrupted, fallen this low? I still think that discussion of various theological issues is of value--how could reflection on what God has revealed in His Word not be of value?--but it is clearly of secondary importance to the overall war that all believers face against the enemy of our souls.
We all have different gifts, different interests, different parts to play in the Body of Christ. We don't all have to do the same things or react the same way to momentous events like this. But I hope whatever reactions we have, whatever we do, that we will allow events like this to remind us of the larger fight that we are engaged in, and the larger purpose for which we are placed on this earth. We are called to make a difference, wherever we are, whatever we're doing, to draw people to our Lord. That is what being salt and light means.