From The Pastor At St. Paul's UCC, Freeburg, IL

Pastoral Shooting

The news yesterday of the shooting at First Baptist Church in Maryville was certainly a shock and source of sorrow. Last night, though, as I was watching the TV news on the story, I found myself turning away from it, almost revulsed. Maybe it’s just that I have this thing about the media – the 60-second mock sympathy and concern before turning to the next story, the gathering of media vultures around the grieving body of the congregation, the sound-bite blurbs from members of the church, the exploitation of human pain and terror – it all bugged me.

It’s Lent, and I’m easily buggable. I’m sure there will be tons of analysis. I won’t do that here because it’s WAY early to analyze anything. Nor is my opinion about things important to anyone. But because this is my blog I want to post some miscellaneous thoughts in response to this story:

  • does it strike anyone else as ironic that a people who follow a guy who said “whoever would save his life will lose it” would even think about “security” issues in response to this shooting?
  • do you notice the media’s aversion to understanding this incident from a religious viewpoint? If this were to happen to me, I would not want people to say “what a great guy”, but “what a great God he pointed to”; I wouldn’t want people to say “he wouldn’t want us to feel bad” (actually I would want you to feel bad!), I’d want them to say “God is big enough to hold all my feelings, even these”.
  • does it strike anyone else as ironic that the media pretends to report people’s feelings with sympathy, but in such a distancing, inhuman way, like televising an email from “frogman1969”
  • I despise turning human pain and misery into grist for making a buck; so you have my permission, if this were to happen to me, to punch any reporter in the nose who comes near you to ask you “how you’re feeling about this” in order to get a story on the tube.
  • Rather than analyzing, “oh-dearing” or even blogging, I think the proper response to an event like this is to a) thank God for his shelter and whatever it is he means to communicate in this event; b) honor and respect the pain and sorrow of the people involved by praying for them; c) get real about loving the people around you today, for they may only be around you today.

Rant over.


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