Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Turning Off the Television

I am in shock. How irresponsible and flat stupid are people? A madman took 31 innocent lives and now he is being made infamous. The media is actually showing the disturbing manifesto he left behind. He mailed it to NBC in between two shooting sprees. How much more of a clear message did he need to send that he wanted attention for this act? He is ranting his "message" to the world, giving him the voice he did not feel that he had while he was alive. WHY ELSE WOULD HE HAVE MAILED IT TO A MEDIA CENTER??? He knew the media moguls would feed into society's desire for sensational news. He knew that he would have the opportunity to get the attention he apparently desparately wanted. He is getting to share his message and took 31 lives for this opportunity. And the American culture fell right into his plan.

The most upsetting- on many news websites, they are displaying a picture of the killer aiming a gun at the camera. It shocked and disturbed me but I absolutely cannot imagine the reaction of the victim's loved ones who see that picture. The mother who just lost her child will be faced with the last image that her child saw before they were killed. Those pictures are absolutely immoral and irresponsible.

My husband is of the thought that he and other killers should never have their name released to the world. I'm beginning to completely agree with that. The media and public are not responsible enough to not immortalize him.

I am writing emails and comments to many news outlets voicing my opinion. I know my little voice will not mean much but it is important to me to at least tell someone at those studios of my opinion.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Reality of Sin

I, like the rest of America, have been shaken by the horrific events at Virginia Tech. There are so many emotions that arise from watching the news coverage.

The stories coming out about the people who died are hard to listen to. The pictures and bios make the "32 died" a much more devastating reality. I keep thinking of my little sister at her college campus. I think of the young girls her age whose lives were shockingly ended. I ache for their family and loved ones. I hurt for the students who will have images in their minds that will never cease.

As with most people, I am brought back to other events in my life that seemed to just stop time and shake my reality. The first event I remember was the Branch Davidian standoff and fire. I was young but I remember that event being the first to make me sit down in shock when I turned on the television and saw the events unfold. The first event that I remember really understanding that an evil and horrible act had been done was the Oklahoma City bombing. I can remember exactly where I was when I learned of these and other tragedies. I was sitting on my parents bed watching the fiery devastation of the Branch Davidian complex. I was in the kitchen when I heard of the bonfire falling and killing students at the college town I grew up in. I was sitting in a Saw You at the Pole rally in my own town when I learned of a deadly shooting spree at another city's rally. I was driving my little sister to school when I heard about the first plane crashing in the World Trade Center and on my shortcut road to my college campus when I learned of the second plane and the likelihood that it was terrorist attack. I especially remember the fear I felt as a student when Columbine and many other school shootings happened when I was a high school student. Each event has the same memory a sinking feeling in my stomach and the thought of "this is not okay- how does this happen?

I think that is a question that all of us ask in some way. I know I do. I think we want to know why or how these devastating events, caused by other humans, for many reasons. There is a natural curiosity. There is a desire and need to make sense of the incomprehensible.

My Christian psychology professor addressed this today during our prayer time. He said something to the effect of "psychology can offer explanations as to how a person could do this but psychology can only address the processes." Science, psychology, criminology and religiosity cannot answer why. CNN, NBC and Charles Gibson cannot answer why. The real issue is that there is sin in this world and it is pervasive. Paul in the New Testament writes of groans coming from not only Christians but creation as well, as we wait for the realized completion of salvation when we live in God's kingdom. Christ has already been victorious over death but believers still live on an earth where evil pervades and sin is still rampant. This most recent event is a clear reminder of that reality. It is a result of the worst of human nature and the sin that exists.

Even living amongst this sin and fear, Christians are able to find comfort. One of my favorite verses is Isaiah 43:2-3: When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. We are not promised to be spared from the rushing rivers or the fire...but because of who God is we will not be overcome by any of it.

This is my prayer for the families, friends, students...I can't begin to comprehend the pain they are experiencing. But I pray that even in the worst moments of their life they will be able to trust in the God who will not let us be overcome by the sin of this world.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

A New Song

Our Easter service was a really wonderful time of celebration. Everything about the service was great and I was really proud of my husband. He is definitely doing what God created him to do. We spent the morning singing praises and songs of celebration for the life that we can have because of the life of Christ and were challenged and humbled when thinking of what His life meant and what our lives should be in response.

One of the songs we sang was a hymn called "Jesus Paid it All." It is the words of the traditional hymn but we rock it up a little bit and it is a blast to play on the piano. I like the song but it has a special place in my heart for more than it being fun to play.

The song begins I hear the Savior say, "Thy strength indeed is small; Child of weakness, watch and pray, find in Me thine all in all." A few weeks we were practicing this song for the first time and it was during the point of the semester that I was just tired, stressed and really unhappy. That first verse struck me and brought tears to my eyes. Those words perfectly described the absolute weariness that I felt but they were so freeing at the same time. That moment was the start of a change in my heart, outlook, mood...whatever it was, I was changing. I began praying for God's peace in a different way. I had to remember that I am a child of weakness. I had been trying so hard to rely on my own strength and knowledge and that just wasn't going very well.

Again back to Easter morning...we had not played this song in a few weeks and we were rehearsing it on Sunday morning. Again, tears came to my eyes when we sang that first verse. This time it was tears of great appreciation for God's unending faithfulness and the sweet peace He has provided since that night. I remembered that night of practice where I just felt miserable and I am so grateful that He has given me a "new song."

The hymn is actually speaking of the power of God in bringing salvation. We as sinners could not achieve salvation on our own but are given the opportunity of eternal life through the power and sacrifice of God. I understand my weakness as a human and my utter reliance on God for my salvation, I just sometimes forget that I need to rely on Him in this life. It is so strange to me that I can trust Him to be true when it comes to my entire life and salvation but yet I don't think about trying to trust Him to take care of something as simple as a busy semester.

It took me awhile but I am grateful that I finally got the fact that I am weak but I really can find my Lord to be my all in all. What a sweet peace that is.