Monday, October 02, 2006

An Amish Nocturne

Peter Berger calls it a signal of transcendence--an experience in this physical reality that hints that surely something more is out there. He names five: order, hope, play, humor and one other that seems to strike a chord today--damnation.

There are certain actions among humans that seem to demand more than mere justice can provide. Crimes that beg for a punishment greater than we can deliver. Crimes that make us long for a greater justice.

I know, that makes for a lousy theology of Hell and it implies that I am somehow less of a disappointment to God than a man who murders little Amish girls, but days like this at least clarify what Berger meant. That he chose girls is unfathomable. That he bound them and executed them with a 12 gauge is difficult even to type. That he is the third school shooting in a week weakens my resolve. That he took his own life and bypassed a trial is hollow and unsettling.

When we were children, we drilled for an atomic war. We would all joke of the lunacy of sitting beneath a desk to be safe right after we had seen video footage of exactly what a blast would do to us. But there was never a war. We feared it, but it never came.

For our children, life is so very different. They drill for lockdowns. Teachers know how to evacuate a room in secrecy. Administrator speak in code to avoid panic. They know what to do when the first gunshot is heard. And they use it. They used it in Colorado last week. They used in Wisconsin. I'm not so sure about Pennsylvania. This community of pacifists didn't have a lockdown drill in place....

It is quite sobering to consider what our students must feel when they walk into a building that seemed so safe when we were young. It affects the way I teach, or at least, it will.

God told Habbakkuk that it is in mercy that He withholds judgment, for if He so moves, He will judge all, not only those whom we would choose. But there are days when Habakkuk's request is hard not to utter. "How long, O Lord...."


Wendy said...

Neat thoughts and well said, How long, O Lord!

HANNAH said...

Hi Steve how are you?

HANNAH said...

Hi Steve can you give me your
E-Mail? Soon

Brennydoogles said...

Steve, my wife and I were just talking about you, and we realized that the two of you have never met. I don't think I am ok with that, because you have had such a huge impact on my life, and so has she. When are you coming to JC, or when do you want to convince your church that they want to pay for me to come and play music for them? Let me know.

HANNAH said...

Gues what my birthday was last week

texnartist said...

What do you think of this?


Steve said...

I think it makes Rob Bell a strawman and oversimplifies his ministry in ignorance (the video links says "Bullhorn Response;" I assume that's a reference to Bell's video of that title). He spent the first year of their church teaching the book of Leviticus--he's not afraid of the law and our relation to it. Bell's video condemns shouting at people from a distance, not at all condemning a genuine love that addresses their real need and eternal destiny.

texnartist said...


Is shouting at people from a distance loving? It depends on the circumstance, doesn't it?

If a Blind man was walking toward a cliff what would you do to warn him of the danger?

Would you tell him, warn him, plead with him?
But what if he insisted he was ok, and he had it under control.

Would you raise your voice? Would you tackle that person?

I think of Israel and how she stoned her prophets, when they spoke out against the culture, and mentioned sin, and the coming judgement. I think of how the Jewish leaders must have thought at the time they knew of a better way.

Because Satan has blinded they eyes of this world, and the cliff that every man is walking toward is Hell, I prefer to yell at people if I have to, instead of doing nothing.

I agree that I don't have the authority to condem anyone. Love demands that action is taken.


texnartist said...

I forgot the word, however.

However, Love demands that action is taken.