Today at the beginning of chapel the campus pastors took a moment to share about some new prayer thing that was happening, and they shared a quick story about praying against the Marilyn Manson concert that was in town this week. Sherry made a slip of the tongue and said something about, “When Marilyn Manson comes to Bethel.” Everyone laughed and thought it was funny, and Sherry’s face turned red and she laughed for a minute before continuing.
But I wasn’t laughing. I obviously didn’t listen to much they were saying about the prayer meetings. I was thinking about Marilyn Manson. He’s taken a lot of flack lately. A lot of people have been picketing his shows because of whatever connection there may be between the “goth” followers of his music and the Columbine shootings. As rumor has it, at the Minneapolis show somebody put a big yellow smiley face somewhere on the stage, and when Manson saw it, he stopped the concert mid-song, and stormed off the stage. Sherry related this story as a victory story for the group that was praying for the presence of God to be in that concert hall.
Continue reading Inviting Marilyn Manson Over for Dinner
Lately I’ve read several articles about the Columbine shootings, and it’s really made me think. In some senses, I rejoice, because these articles have been confirming the fact that a girl was martyred in that school, something the news media ignores. Not that I’m rejoicing in death, but when someone dies like that, it deserves to be heard. Her action can inspire thousands. But what I feel is sadly lacking from these articles is a call to action. I found this quote rather ironic, “Another student, Rachel Scott, seventeen years old, had just days before performed in the school play, cast in the role of an outcast, a student searching for herself in a world of peer pressure and popularity contests.” The writer was trying to show what a real person Rachel was. And yes, it’s sad that she died. But playing the role of the outcast? The very words ring in my ears. Outcast. Who were the outcasts? Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. I’m not trying to justify their actions, but it seems that people need to realize just how important it is to reach out to people. If Jesus Christ had been at Columbine High, who do you think he would have had lunch with?
Continue reading Columbine Shootings
This morning the church service was held outside. What a beautiful way to worship God. As a side effect, I now have a sunburn.
“So what’s on your mind?” she asks. You again, huh? Hmmm. Where do I begin and what do I say?
Projects, tests and papers bear down on me, and finals loom on the horizon. The sun has finally come out, and the warm weather is beckoning me away from my work. 15 people died in the Columbine massacre, and people struggle to understand. Bombs fall in Yugoslavia as the ethnic cleansing continues in Kosovo. Conflict guts my church at home, my mother breaks down crying as she tells me, and I’m 700 miles away and can’t do a thing. And my heart finds a new love that the old won’t understand. “Why, O Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” the Psalmist cries out (10:1), and I understand the pain he feels. But I also know that “You are my Lord, apart from you I have no good thing,” (Psalm 16:2).
The pain she feels is tremendous. I can only imagine. “No, you can’t.” she retorts. Well, maybe I can’t. But I think I can. Do you think I planned this? Do you think I meant it to be this way? It’s times like these that I can only cling to God. I didn’t write the script. No man could write a plot so complex. I’m just stumbling along, trying to read my lines and adlib the ones I forget. Somehow He gives me the cues I need. I know it hurts. Your tears pierce my soul. You don’t want to believe that, because that would mean I have compassion, and you can’t hate me if I have that. But enough of that. It gets us nowhere. I don’t want to see you hurt, but this is the way it’s working out. There’s a plan behind it, and it makes no sense now, but someday it will. I’m following the way I know. I showed care and concern for you, and still do. And now I must move forward. I’m sorry. Don’t bury your rage in a ball. Don’t hate yourself. This is more than that. This is beyond all that. Can’t you see?
And so I step forward, knowing the past is shaky, but confident in the present. I hold your hand, and I know that only God could have put it there. So we walk forward, and move on to the next scene, “Line please.”
As the horror unfolds, it seems I can only ask questions. What is wrong with this country when such a thing can happen? What is wrong with people when they stoop to such a level? What is wrong with the rest of us that we let them stoop so low, and never stop to think of them?
Cassie Bernall, Steven Curnow, Corey DePooter, Kelly Fleming, Matthew Kechter, Daniel Mauser, Daniel Rohrbough, Rachel Scott, Isaiah Shoels, John Tomlin, Lauren Townsend, Kyle Velasquez, and William “Dave” Sanders, we cry for you. It breaks my heart to hear the 911 tapes, and hear the shots in the background. The shots could have been the bullets that ended your lives. They could have been the bullets that wounded someone. The more I hear of this tragedy, the more it breaks my heart. The picture of a bloody, wounded student pulling his way out a broken window will never leave my mind. When humanity stoops to this level, we must stop and ask ourselves what is happening. When young children can see the graphic carnage on the evening news, we must ask ourselves just what we are doing.
Here’s some more thoughts on the shooting in Colorado. I wrote the following piece for the Table Tent:
I sat in the quiet of my room, enjoying a chance to stop for a moment. How was I supposed to know that somewhere else gunshots were shattering the silence? With anger, rage, and confusion, two students strode through the hallowed halls of their school, firing shots and throwing bombs. Blood flowed, people cried, and part of me died. Now the questions are being asked, and everyone’s coming up short. How do you know someone would take their life, and the lives of 13 innocent? The answer seems painfully clear to me. They were outcasts. Alone in their thoughts, they struck back in the only way they could. Did anyone stop to reach out to them? The blame is now being cast on lax gun control laws and violent TV shows, which certainly share the guilt. But what about you? What about me? Did we stoop from our righteous lives to show love to the outcast? Or did we ignore them, leaving them to wallow in their hate? Seven school shootings in the past two years. And those are only the “safe” suburban schools that the news media cares about. The problem isn’t desensitized violence, easily available weapons, and deadbeat parents, although they all contribute. The problem is the Christian who refuses to make a difference.
“Is there anybody out there? Does anybody care? Are the people really there? Is anybody seeking? Does anybody see? Or are they deaf and dumb like me?” (‘Anybody Out There’ by Burlap to Cashmere)
I took a moment today, well a half hour really, to be quiet. I had a very busy day today, and at the time I was folding my laundry. My townhouse was empty, and for some reason I didn’t put a CD in or turn the radio on. I just folded in silence. Although my mind kept racing, it still felt very peaceful. Who would have thought that elsewhere gun shots were shattering the silence?
The increase in student violence in the past two years is shocking. It’s hard to believe that the worst killing spree in United States history was done by high school kids–to their fellow students. I know that people everywhere are in shock. Some people will blame deadbeat parents, violent movies or video games. But ask yourself, could you have prevented something like this? No one expects their children to do something like this. Do you know yours wouldn’t? People treat people like crap nowadays, and this is just one of the repercussions. God have mercy on us all.
Ever feel like you’re putting your head down on the chopping block? At times it feels that way, but somehow I know that God has it all under control. I can feel a hand on my shoulder, and despite all logic, I know he can make it work. Some how, some way, the peace will come. Rest your head on my shoulder, and it really will be alright.