Thursday, April 26, 2007

Tragedy at VT - what to do about evil?

On Monday we hosted the funeral for one of the victim's of the Virginia Tech tragedy on Monday. His family belonged to a church here in the area. Their sanctuary wasn't large enough, so they asked for our help. It was a moving ceremony as 900+ packed the house to honor this promising young man. I'm looking at the program from the funeral and his winsome smile is looking back at me.

There really aren't words for a tragedy of this magnitude, or any magnitude for that matter. So here are some random thoughts on evil in general and this evil in particular.
  • "Evil", as Scott Peck's child noticed, "is live spelled backwards." The essence of evil in any form? Taking life. See Scott Peck's chilling work on the psychology of evil: People of the Lie.
  • Cho emerged to fit the profile of all the other shooters. Loner, ostracized, unresolved junk from the past. This only shows the dark side of our being made in God's image: Without good relationships, society suffers. Community benefits society.
  • John Donne was right: "No man is an island. If one part of Europe falls into the sea, the rest is affected." There are no "isolated", "private" acts. That's an illusion perpetrated by radical individualism and an illusion we all too readily buy.
  • Whether or not we suffer is not the issue. A life skill is that we must learn to suffer better. Christians as a rule don't know how to suffer and grieve, which is ironic given that the majority of literature in the Old Testament was written in and to a context of suffering. (And never mind that our savior suffered and told us we would too).
  • God is not responsible for suffering. If God were, we would be puppets in some divine play (and I know some think this is so). We are free moral agents--able to choose. This is a reflection of being made in the image of God.
  • Tears are the price of love. If we love, we hurt. The two aren't separable.
  • We are "but a mist that appears for a while then vanishes" as James, Jesus' brother reminds us.


Tevis said...

Appreciated your thoughts. I also liked your previous blog on "Big Things Can Be Scary." I might use that as an illustration. I will be visiting with Dave Curtis this coming weekend.

Scott said...

Tevis -
Say hi to Dave for me. How are things in your neck of the woods. And where are you from Columbus? A couple in our small group is moving there and I want them to find a good church family.