Monday I cried.

I remember reading something recently, by whom I’m not sure, that said something to the like of, “People will not believe in something until it becomes existentially real to them”. So that’s what happened to me.

On 9/11 I didn’t cry. I tried to force myself to, and when I couldn’t, felt guilty. Well, I guess Adam and I making jokes about Flight 83 being shot down by the U.S. right after they overthrew the terrorists didn’t help my conscience either. I didn’t cry at Columbine, I really have never, ever cried when hearing of public tragedy. I don’t cry when I read about torturous rape on Drudge-Report, or when I hear of a UNLV professor having over 25,000 pictures of child pornography on his computer. Why?

None of it is real. Well, at least not to me.

See, when I read Monday about these killings at VT, something happened.

I saw a gunman on the 7th floor of Terry shooting Andy, Kelvin, Allison, Morgan, and Charles.

I saw Cory, I guy I discipled in 2004, in his class at VT unable to leave becuase the doors were shut (note: Cory’s fine, I was simply explaining what was going through my head. Calm down).

That was real to me, and I cried.

In a very ego-centric, introspective way, I have felt very guilty over the last few days. Guilty that a girl in New York was raped and left for dead, and I didn’t care enough to ask God to comfort and heal her. Guilty that I don’t care that a reporter is being held captive in a place far away from home. Guilty that thousands of families don’t have daddy’s and mommy’s anymore, because of our presence in Iraq, and I haven’t prayed for a single one.

Guilty, that I have not given these people the respect that someone bearing the image an likeness of God deserves. So I cry and mourn. For the students who died, the families who suffer, and the sinfulness in me.

Is this really existentially real to me? To a certain extent maybe, but life has pretty much gone on as normal. My prayer is that this would be the impetus of change in me. From being so self-absorbed, to actually realizing that other image bearers of God exist.

VT Killings

I spoke tonight at our young adults group about the killings at VT.  I had prepared a message on the gospel of John chapter two, but that all changed when I got to the airport in Las Vegas yesterday.  I did not hear anything about the shootings until that time.  I had a wonderful day hanging out with my in-laws that was turned into a surreal one once I sat in the terminal watching the television tell me of the horrors that had taken place.  I got home around 10pm and watched the news for about two hours.

Being in Littleton Colorado I knew this issue would be one of great relevance to our young adult group.  Many of them have very vivid memories of that day and personally knew those who had been killed.  I knew that I would need to teach on it tonight, or it would have just been a giant elephant in the room as I tried to press on with our preachings schedule.  There is so much to say about the subject, but I think the thing that makes it hard for all of it is just the drastically senseless nature of it all.  If Mr. Cho had just killed the girl he was angry with (the object of his wrath) we would’ve understood.  We would have just called it a crime of passion and moved on.  But to go into a building and coldly execute dozens of people is senseless.  There is something terribly wrong with that and all see that.  The atheist even feels it, but has no real reason to understand why he/she is so bothered senseless mass murder.  Yet the feeling remains, they know that life is valuable and that people have worth, but they just do not know what that worth is or where it comes from.

I have so many thoughts on all of this and I preached about much of it tonight, but I can not get around that fact that it seems we are a culture that has forgotten we are made in the image of God (Gen. 1:26, 9:6).  This alone gives us worth.  We mirror our creator and join him in his activities and works.  We procreate, just as he creates, we govern just as he rules over all, we love just as he supremely does.  We reflect our creator in our very being.  This is what gives life such great worth and dignity.  This is why we grieve and feel such saddness at horrible murders; the blatant disregard for life even though we are made in the image of the one true God.  Yet we grieve with hope, because we know that this is a time of sorrow but not the end of the story.  Our hope is in Jesus and because of his finished work on the Cross we understand that while things like this do not make sense, God is in the business of putting ALL things back together again.