July 30, 2014

Silence. Please.

I am convinced more and more every day — and especially in the light of tragic events yesterday — that the wisdom Christians in the U.S. need to learn is found in the Book of Job.

Now when Job’s three friends heard of all these troubles that had come upon him, each of them set out from his home—Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. They met together to go and console and comfort him. When they saw him from a distance, they did not recognize him, and they raised their voices and wept aloud; they tore their robes and threw dust in the air upon their heads. They sat with him on the ground for seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his suffering was very great.

- Job 2:11-13, NRSV

Contrast that with this topic sentence from a story at the Christian Post:

“Christian leaders were quick to offer their reaction to the deadly shooting Friday at a Connecticut elementary school in a small town where within minutes 26 people were dead – 20 of them children.”

There is a time to speak.

Now is not that time.

Comments

  1. Thanks, Chaplain Mike, for giving a space to address this issue. I’ve been stewing on it. My grief is causing me to want to speak out prophetically – not to blame, cast judgment on any particular group, or get God off the hook (or put him on the hook for that matter). My desire is to see the Church address the deep systemic issues that underlie such a tragedy, such as the culture of violence; the lack of a mechanism for teens and young adults to find their positive self-identity outside of peer relationships; the cult of celebrity and popularity…. etc., etc… and for the Church to seek out where it has been complicit as well and repent.

    I actually see this as an opportune time for issues to be raised and for the Church to take responsibility for being so enmeshed in politics, culture wars, and attention seeking that is has lost its right to speak words of comfort and hope during such tragedy.

    I’m afraid that many who are content to quote “weep with those who weep,” and yet are far removed from the tragedy, will remain passive, rather than critically reflect on how they have contributed to our broken culture and seeking to embody the solution (the presence of Christ) wherever they are in society. That is not to separate those who pray and comfort from those who are activists, but rather to see them complement one another.

    And have I mentioned the capricious way many people are wielding their theology right now? It’s intolerable. Foundations need to be addressed.

    Is this a legitimate appropriation of my grief, or should I shut up too? (honest question). Maybe it’s merely a matter of timing, like you said. I’ve been stewing for 24 straight hours (the shooting happened 20 mins from my hometown), and while the prophetic aspect is haunting me, I certainly don’t want to hurt anyone with my words or deligitamize anyone’s way of grieving. So thanks again for the outlet. Now I can be quiet for a moment.

    • Jobs friends wept and wailed and were present. At this time that is our human and divine duty.

    • The other Graham says:

      Sean, can we just weep before the Lord now for the loss of those lives, particularly the kids, and what our culture has become? And then, after the funerals, engage in deep prayerful reflection on what God calls us to do about this and how to go about it?
      I am so struck this Sunday morning by Mt. 2:18, Rachel weeping for her children, when Herod ordered all boys age 2 and under in Bethlehem slaughtered.
      I have grandkids in the same age range as the ones who were murdered in Newtown.
      God help us.

  2. Amen. The comments on Facebook and other places seem predictable: those on the “right” talk of taking God out of schools (What kind of God do we have who isn’t everywhere anyway, despite efforts to exclude him?), breakdown in morals, standards, etc., while those on the “left” push gun control as an answer (I don’t care for all the guns that we have available, but laws won’t really keep people from getting guns–look at drugs). So, let’s keep silent and pray for all concerned.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Friend of mine says school massacres like this go down on a regular basis in China, except there the weapon of choice is a butcher knife instead of guns.

      • On the same day, there was an attack on a primary school. Someone attacked 20something children. There weretwo major differences. The attacker used a knife and he killed nochildren.

    • Don’t forget video games, divorce, mental health rights, and healthcare policy. One can easily spot the worst sorts of moralists though, on the left and the right, by who runs to the TV cameras to blame every tragedy on the world’s failure to measure up on whatever arbitrary mores the moralist most prioritizes. Huckabee had the biggest fail of the day, in my view, with gun control advocates coming up a close second.

    • ++++1

  3. Huckabee as his ever-Baptist self suggests that it’s related to our taking God out of the schools: http://www.mediaite.com/tv/huckabee-to-fox-should-we-be-surprised-about-school-carnage-when-weve-removed-god-from-schools/

    As Rahm Emanuel said, you never want a serious crisis go to waste. Gotta turn everything into an opportunity for an altar call.

    • br. thomas says:

      Eric, I’m afraid you are so correct in using the Emanuel quote in this context. Huckabee and others like him, reflect that ideology (or correct theological doctrine) are more important to them than compassion and mercy, especially during times such as these.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Just like all the Gun Control Kyle’s Moms coming out of the woodwork — “WHAT AN OPPORTUNITY TO ADVANCE OUR AGENDA!”

        Because 27 dead is nothing more than a Wonderful Opportunity to Plug Our Agenda, whether that agenda is Saving Souls or Banning Guns. Doublepluswarmfeelies for the Concerned Activists involved, and THAT’s what’s Important.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Usually “Taking GAWD(TM) out of Our Schools…” is the first half of the statement. The second half is “…and put Sex Education/Evolution/Homosexuality in.”

      Though I’m surprised Pat Robertson or John Piper didn’t shoot his mouth off first.

    • Yeah, Mr. Huckabee… the guy that ‘went there’ when Edward Kennedy died. I never listened to another word he said after that.

  4. My online friend Mindy nails it with this post:
    http://princessandthebeads.blogspot.com/2012/12/just-shut-up.html?m=1

  5. So well said. It was not my child who was shot, my friend who suffers, or my community in pain. I think it’s so important to check our motives for “grieving” too… I have never lost a child but something I am sure of: A person who suffers such a tragedy does not need to carry the grief of others as well. Am I sorrowful for them? Or am I sorrowful because I fear such things happening to my own child? I pray that our prayers FOR them, would truly be FOR them.

  6. I’m sorry Chaplain Mike, but silence is not what we should do now. There should be outrage, absolute indigence at how this happened.

    What happened yesterday wasn’t a mere tragedy, but a result from our own failings as a society. A defunct mental health system and an indifference towards the proliferation of guns are the causes here, we all know it. If we truly cared about what happened yesterday, we should do all we can to prevent another similar event from ever happening again. Sadly, I know that we probably won’t do any of that, and instead, only shed tears and reside in silence…

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Again, “WHAT AN OPPORTUNITY TO ADVANCE *MY* AGENDA!”

      See CM’s posting at the top, dude.

      • I did, the idea was that I disagree with the Chaplain.

        • And, that you’re an ass.

          There’s never a better time to stand on your soapbox and preach your moralism at us, than when a bunch of kids are murdered, right? And then when I call you an ass, you can say something about blood being on my hands because I’m not arrogant enough to believe my views of public policy can fix everything that’s wrong with humanity

          • Really, is that what you’re response is? Instead of name calling why don’t you grapple with what I’m actually saying? I never said what I’m calling for will fix “everything that’s wrong with humanity.” But let’s be mature for a moment and really think, was what happened Friday really just another tragedy that couldn’t have been prevented? Aren’t we called as Christians to stop the bleeding and rampant violence dominating our society?

          • Professor Failure says:

            “And then when I call you an ass, you can say something about blood being on my hands because I’m not arrogant enough to believe my views of public policy can fix everything that’s wrong with humanity”

            How about if you just shut the hell up too?

      • Yeah, how dare people try to advance their agenda of having fewer people killed in massacres like this? They are obviously the scum of the earth. Everyone knows that you should not talk about practical ways that you could keep people safer just after a mass shooting. And luckily for the NRA and other gun nuts, it is ALWAYS just after a mass shooting in America, so nobody should EVER talk about this. Ever. Just keep going on and pretend
        that this is a random act of god that has no connection to the fact that people can walk into a shot and but semi automatic guns.

    • Huol, in one sense you are correct, such a crime IS a reflection on today’s society, but your conclusion is misguided. The despicable perp (may his name be ever expunged from memory!) STOLE the weapon, he broke into the school, and it was his OWN sick mind that conceived the crime. There is little we can do to prevent such a sick/evil mind. Passing restrictive laws may make it harder to carry out such a crime in the physical sense but they cannot change a person’s heart. Just look at all the measures that have been taken in previous years to ensure security!

      When Columbine took place there was endless breast beating and agonizing. Questions were asked and extensive examination was made of the anatomy of such an event, but the result was…? Now, here we are again, after other such crimes, now commenting on a much more horrific scenario: Grade school kids!

      I have to ask: What good did all previous examinations and questions do to prevent another sick/deranged/evil mind from carrying out such devastation? The answer is, of course, NOTHING at ALL! Only the return of Christ will, ultimately, solve the problem: Redeeming mankind’s fallen nature.

      I am not suggesting that nothing be attempted to prevent a re-occurrence, but I DO agree that what we do NOT need is more moralizing. How about what Chaplain Mike suggested?

      • I’m not calling for an examination. There needs to be actual action here. Stricter gun law and more promotion of mental health services. I’m outraged at how those people who so piously call for a time of mourning will do nothing to stop such massacres from happening again. Tears and heartfelt prayers won’t stop the next nihilist with a gun.

        • Tears and heartfelt prayers are more likely to stop more attacks than any proposal I’ve read in the past couple days.

          • Of course they are. After all, its not as if America is the most religious western country, and yet has the highest rate of murders and mass killings. Prayers have worked so well so far, surely you just need to keep at it.

    • A defunct mental health system and an indifference towards the proliferation of guns are the causes here, we all know it.
      Wrong. You haven’t got any evidence to back up those claims at all, and there are many educated people on this forum who would disagree with you. Please heed CM’s advice and give the victims time to grieve.

      • Oh yes, give them time to grieve and then what? We do nothing to stop the next catastrophe from happening? When will we get it? What happened in Connecticut wasn’t a mere anomaly. No where else in the developed world are gun massacres this common.

        • There’s no saying whether we’d stop a catastrophe from happening or not. Bad things happen, and many times we’re powerless to stop them. Certainly we should put reasonable efforts into doing what we can, but hindsight is always 20/20. People don’t know what signs they’re missing until it’s too late.

          That’s what makes these events so unsettling. The idea that they’re completely random and we had no clues they were going to happen just make us realize it could happen anywhere. The man involved in this tried unsuccessfully to purchase a gun on his own but couldn’t. But he was able to get guns through his mother. I fail to see how gun laws in and of themselves could have prevented this incident.

          • The fact that these things could happen anywhere in America is our nation’s greatest failing. In other countries, there are just as many nihilistic young men wanting to harm others. But only in American do they have such an amazing access to guns.

            I refuse to accept this event as something that is simply “random” and unforeseeable. We’ve had warnings, but we as a nation chose to ignore them.

    • Marcus Johnson says:

      Huol, how about silence based on the fact that the massacre happened on a Friday, and no amount of ranting and raving will get the right people to address a problem on a weekend? Granted, there are better reasons why we should be silent (i.e., the bodies of the children have not even been buried yet; in our silence, we can hear the word of the Lord more clearly, etc.), but if those reasons aren’t working for you, let’s fall back on the fact that nothing, especially nothing having to do with federal or state government policy, will be adequately addressed on a weekend.

  7. What good if silence if we do nothing but wallow in our misery here and do nothing to prevent another fiasco like this from happening again? If we are truly moved by this event and want it to never happen again, we would take solid steps right now to undo the main culprits behind the massacre. Fix our mental health system and introduce much stricter gun laws. Tears and silence is good and all, but they aren’t going to stop the next psycho from shooting up another classroom.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      And you don’t even need a gun to massacre a school. According to a friend of mine, school massacres like this (except using a butcher knife instead of a gun) are common in China, almost as regular as clockwork.

      • True, but all of those attacks combined killed less people than this one incident.

      • As Witten remarks also, the irony in your comment is unsettling. Now imagine if all Chinese had the same access to semiautomatic rifles as we Americans do. Thank God they only have knives there.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          Actually, the body counts are about equivalent.

          And it’s “Semi Automatic Assault Type Weapon(TM)”. Use proper Newspeak, Comrade Huol.

          • No, the body counts are not equivalent. In China, no one was killed at the school.

          • According to a friend of yours?

            Except that it is not even close to being true. We pretty much settled the debate of what is more dangerous, a gun or a knife when the British invaded dozens of African countries.

          • A series of uncoordinated mass stabbings, hammer attacks, and cleaver attacks in the People’s Republic of China began in March 2010. The spate of attacks left at least 21 dead and some 90 injured.

            So, that is, in a period from 2010 to the present day, China has seen 21 or so people dead in school attacks. Want to add up how many were killed in a similar period in the USA? How about how many people were killed in school attacks in the USA in the last week?

            Really? You want to actually say that the body counts are about equivalent? REALLY? Or do you want to shut up and stop repeating lies?

    • “Fix our mental health system”? It is in the shape it is in because of two things: lack of funding and scrupulous adherence to personal rights. Many are put on the street because they are not an immediate danger to themselves, but self medication is assumed. I guess we will discover if the perp had shown any signs of mental illness that would indicate a need for treatment, but my guess is that 20/20 hindsight is the only clue, and THAT is worthless! Please be open to the possibility that he was just plain EVIL.

  8. Huol, there will be a time for that, but the Biblical witness provided by Job is to mourn first. That would be much preferable to the knee-jerk reactions so far – lots of assumptions are being made without knowing the facts.

    • I don’t disagree that there is a time for mourning. But my biggest fear is that mourning is the only thing we will do. If we look at past massacres in recent history (Aurora, Arizona, Columbine, Virginia Tech) mourning seems to be the only thing we are good at.

      • The whole point is — we’re NOT good at mourning. We don’t do it. We start shooting our mouths off immediately.

      • Huol,
        Violent counterculturist Huey Newton in the 1960′s said “Violence is as American as apple pie.” The facts are straightforward: somebody with lots of firepower went into a school and killed a lot of people, for the umpteenth time. With VERY FEW (notice, I didn’t say no) notable exceptions, these things don’t happen in Europe because most European countries don’t have citizens armed to the teeth with guns. And that’s also why those same European countries have very low murder rates compared to ours. It’s not that people aren’t any more prone to violence there than here, or that there are fewer unhinged individuals in Belgium than in Anytown, USA; it’s just that its a lot harder to wreak as much carnage as quickly with your fists, or even with a knife, than with a gun. That’s just common sense. If you want to limit the carnage, you have to limit the firepower. But because of our Constitutional history, and a very strong pro-gun lobby in this country, it is very difficult to make headway in limiting firepower. I believe pulling alongside those grieving is of utmost importance; I also believe close on its heels in importance is identifying and naming the practical realities that make evil even more destructive than it already is in the life of a people. The seconds are ticking down to the next incident like this one. The fact is that as we move away from these incidents we tend to forget rather than do anything about them, even though they happen with ever more frequency, because we are becoming inured to them. Grieve, name and resist this time while its still fresh in our sensibilities.

  9. flatrocker says:

    Interesting how noisy this post has become lamenting our lack of silence in a time of grief.

    With all due respect CM – your volley started this.

  10. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”.

    Folks, why are we bickering about the “correct” response. Lets build each other and our neighbors up in Christ and quit bickering about responses. I love you guys, no matter your response. :)

    “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us.”

  11. I think the people who are the fastest to point the blame are yelling so loudly to convince themselves more than anybody else. The human heart demands an answer for it’s pain, but cannot bear the responsibility. The more we can objectify evil as something else, a substance outside of us with which we have nothing to do, the more we can shout down our own guilty consciences and enjoy a hard earned numbness as a substitue for peace.

    We cannot stand the not knowing. We want to figure out the problem of evil and suffering, and especially when it causes us so much personal pain. So we reason with scripture and bend our theological principles until they address our specific concerns. But we do not have an answer that will satisfy our aching hearts. There is no ideological silver bullet that will bring us instant resolution for the trauma at hand. No matter how carefully we try to explain it “Biblically” or how loud we scream our “solutions,” the world is under a curse that will not go away, and we cannot take the cross from off our backs. In Christ there is grace to endure, but grace is not the answer we are looking for.

    And so with such disclaimer, I hesitatingly offer my own dismal ramblings with this suggestion: Either God is cruel, God is impotent, God is dead, or we are wretched, cursed sinners in desperate need of divine intervention. Lord, have mercy.

    • “Either God is cruel, God is impotent, God is dead, or we are wretched, cursed sinners in desperate need of divine intervention. Lord, have mercy.”

      Christ have mercy.

      Yes yes and amen Miguel, Your words are articulate & ring O so true.

    • Thanks Miguel for sharing. I agree with Gail in that your words are very articulate and ring so very true. The older I get, now 43, the more the Bible makes sense to me. I believe it to very clear on the condition of men, and I believe it to be very clear on the solution that we, as individuals, and we, as a society, needs. Jesus.

  12. Josh in FW says:

    Thank you for this thoughtful reminder CM.

  13. David Cornwell says:

    This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says:

    “In repentance and rest is your salvation,
    in quietness and trust is your strength,
    but you would have none of it.

    (NIV)

  14. Heather Angus says:

    My emotions are all over the place with this one, and I imagine that’s true of most of us. Like Huol, I want to *do* something, not just sit and mourn. But what is there to do? I’m one of those whom Sean described as just being passive. I don’t even “critically reflect on how (I) have contributed to our broken culture,” because it seems quite abstract and useless.

    I loathe the NRA and everything it stands for, but, miserably, I have come to agree with William Falk, a magazine editor who wrote several years ago, “You could say, as some do, that these killing sprees prove the need for better gun control. But …there are now 200 million weapons in circulation in the U.S.; no one can unspill that milk, even if elected politicians had the courage to try, which they do not. You could say the answer is to put more guns in the hands of citizens, so that whenever a psycho started firing inside a crowded classroom, students and teachers would take cover behind an upturned desk and start shooting back, like in the good old Wild West. Or you could admit the godawful truth, which is that this mutant meme has wormed itself into our nation’s DNA. Every few weeks or months, some tortured soul will arm himself to the teeth, find a crowd of people, and show us all exactly how he feels. And we have no more power to stop it than we do tornadoes in Kansas.”

    The only candle gleam of hope I’ve managed to find for myself is what some commenter said yesterday: “Look for the helpers.” I don’t believe we are all “wretched, cursed sinners” — sorry, TULIP-folks. We are all sinners, yes, but what happened yesterday was the work of one horribly sick man. If we just keep our eyes focused on him, it does feel like time to give up, but think of the hundreds of others. The teacher who grabbed two kids from the hall and pulled them into her classroom, where they hid successfully. The teacher who read to her little students, to focus them away from the horror outside the door. The first-grade teacher who told all her students to be quiet, as the shooter went through the building: ‘If they started crying, I would take their face and tell them, ‘It’s going to be OK.’ I wanted that to be the last thing they heard, not the gunfire in the hall.” People stepped up, comforted, protected as they could, even at the risk of their own lives. They are the ones to focus on. Good people outnumber bad ones exponentially. We have to remember that to stay sane.

    As far as us being “in desperate need of divine intervention” — We may we be so, but I do not bet the rent on divine intervention occurring. We may pray, “Lord, have mercy,” but in earthly matters, I see very little evidence of God actually stepping in and turning a bad situation to good. I won’t deny that miracles happen sometimes, but most of the time they don’t. I do believe that God inspired the good people to act as they did, but He didn’t stop the bullets, and it’s not worthwhile, IMO, for us to expect Him to. We can theologize all we want about *why* God doesn’t stop the evil and save the innocent, but the fact is, for the most part, He doesn’t. So if we look for His presence, it has to be not in supernatural interventions, but in the love and courage of our fellow human beings, and there was plenty of that yesterday.

  15. Last night I read the following piece of crap at The Gospel Coalition… (Man the way they use THE irritates me…)

    http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2012/12/14/a-day-for-hatred/?comments#comments

    Of course like many posts at TGC my comments are deleted or never have a shot. In my comments I actually was thinking along the lines of what CM said, and I called them out on it. Doesn’t Ecclesiastes say there is a time to mourn? Doesn’t Romans say to weep with those who weep?

    Why can’t Christians do this? On a plus note I was encouraged to see that John Piper wrote a half way decent piece at Desiring God. I wish he would do that more often… But enough of ranting for now.

    Why can’t Christians weep and have the victims foremost in their minds?

  16. We should grieve and mourn with those who have suffered such horrific loss. There is no way we can begin to understand what they are going through, so being silent is the only option at the moment. It has to be.
    But afterwards, we need to look at what caused this. All I know is that almost every bloody incident like this has a link to these psyche medications out there. All I can say from personal experience is when the docs put me on two of these drugs in 2000, it almost cost me my marriage and did cost me a very good job and some good friendships. I take responsibilty for my actions and the harm they caused, but under the influence of these so called wonder drugs thoughts entered into my mind that seemed perfectly rational and acceptable to me, even if they were crazy and harmful. So if it comes about that this poor man was under their influence, it may explain alot. They open doors that should never be opened mentally.
    Yes some help does come from the meds for certain people, but they have to be carefully monitored by the prescriber, because the patient is not going to report these thoughts 99% of the time it appears ok to them.
    We can talk about the availabilty of guns and they are too easy to get at times, but we have to look overall at everything that goes on to stem this increasing problem.
    We will never stop all of these things from happening, but a concerted effort prayfully will make a difference down the road.
    I understand there is even more to this than what I have stated, but this growing issue will have to be addressed.
    For now, we need to pray for the comfort of the Holy Spirit to be with them.

  17. Marcus Johnson says:

    I couldn’t believe how fast my Facebook page blew up with diatribes from practically everyone in my network. True, there were some simple, tasteful prayers and statements of support from respectful people. For the most part, though, I read rants from people for and against gun control, for and against revisiting our mental health system, for and against Obama, and on and on. We are so conditioned to react that we don’t take the time to reflect. You’d think that we would at least give it the weekend before we start up the gun control debate; it’s not like the issue will be seriously addressed before Monday anyway.

    Chill, everyone; go to church, pray, go home, hug your kids, pray some more, ask for God’s guidance and serenity. Then, and only then, can we say or do anything of any real substance.

    • Marcus,
      I’ve been to church already where in an ecumenical community vigil service we were given a sermon by one of the ministers addressing both our very natural human reactions and the spiritual realities involved, and later exhorted by our city’s mayor, who happens to be a member of the host church, to make our numbed reaction of “Oh, no, not again…..” into the resolve: “Oh! No! Not again!”

      I don’t know any of the survivors involved. If I did, I certainly wouldn’t approach them with some agenda in mind. All I could do is grieve with them, and pray, and share their pain. Close friends, like Job’s, have a special function in the midst of this grief, and the counsel to empathetic, prayerful sharing in the burden of grief is for them. As a stranger, who has seen this same situation play out repeatedly, and who can’t physically and intimately come alongside those directly effected, I find the gap between my grief and need to actively respond is very narrow indeed. That’s what I can do in lieu of what an intimate friend can do. I don’t need to hover inactively in my grief, and part of dealing with my own fear and grief is naming the evil, what I call the powers and principalities, and their instrumentalities, and doing what I can to address them.

      What exactly does it mean that we don’t know how to grieve? What would successful grief look like? Grief is never complete, and it’s always open-ended. If we wait until the right moment, we end up waiting until the next shootings.

    • “We are so conditioned to react that we don’t take the time to reflect.”

      Comment of the day.

      I would add to that this: Next week we will have forgotten all about this and move on to the next rant.

      • Hey CM, I say this in love dude. But weren’t you quick to get on FB Friday and quickly react to how our churches aren’t condemning violence enough? I’m just sayin….

      • And I’m not condemning you either. I think it’s true. But why can’t we give a little leeway in how they are reacting to this?

      • Heather Angus says:

        Well, you’re not going to forget this, Chaplain Mike, and I’m not going to forget, and I’ll bet nobody who posts here regularly is going to forget. So that’s a start. Just because the media moves on to the next disaster doesn’t mean we haven’t taken this to heart, as I’m sure you know.

        We all grieve differently (for instance, see my heartfelt but maybe too-long diatribe above). But we’re all grieving, and you and the posters here probably more than most. And our grief will continue.

        I remember reading, in an Advent study, about the account of Herod’s slaughter of the baby boys in Judea, and the writer’s comment: “It was into this surprisingly modern world that Jesus was born.” That came back to me during this weekend, and the haunting Bible passage: “…Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be comforted, because they were no more.” Neither evil nor the suffering of innocents has changed much in the past 2,000 years. But also, as Paul noted, “If in this life only we have hope, we are of all men most miserable.” We have to believe — or anyway I have to work to believe — that the evil shooter in Connecticut did not have the last word in those children’s lives, that they now stand or sit or run around and play in the sunshine of the presence of God. And who knows, maybe the shooter does too. Who am I to say.

        I’m just fumbling along with words here, and I have no wisdom to offer, but I didn’t want my own expression of grief, which often comes out as despair, to be the last thing I wrote in this thread.

        Maybe God bless you, Mike, and may He give us all some light on this dark path.

  18. The fact that most of those who died in this massacre were small children seems to be hurting many people. No one expects to lose their six year old to this sort of evil. The thought did cross my mind that if these six year olds had been murdered seven years ago, it would be just another day at an abortion clinic.

    Sorry if this is the opposite of being silent, but the murder of the Innocents rips my heart out every single day.

    • I grieve with you Pattie over both… such horror & loss for the six year old children who died & their families. And yes, the innocents in the womb. What a world… Truly rips the heart out.

  19. You are so right. No speaking. Love, prayers and grief. Silence! Too much blabbering from all sides. Thank you for stepping forward and saying it.

  20. Thank you Mike.

    I refused to read and/or watch the news until I could stop and pray.

    I think agenda in every situation is to go before “our” God in prayer ans ask Him how we can be channels for his compassion and comfort. We can follow Jesus’ (at least try to follow Him) and remember how He took time to weep with and for His friends, even tho He knew had the power to “fix things”.

  21. This is one of the finest things I have read in quite a while. Too bad your call for silence generated 6636 words.