This morning, I heard the distressing news about yet one more shooting, this time at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Just a few days ago, someone killed a bunch of people, apparently for no good reason in an Oregon mall. Today in Newtown, Connecticut, we have innocent children being killed. All Americans should be distressed by this horrible news. Who kills children? We have seen the face of evil today.
What should be our response? In my recent reading of and writing about a book of N. T. Wright, Evil and the Justice of God, some insights surface (I’m writing a review of it for the book’s Chinese publisher). Facebook responses can range from blaming others (i.e. the other guy is a bad guy, more or less gun control etc.) to blaming ourselves (i.e. we’re equally violent and evil). I’ve seen the range of responses this morning, all of them filled with angst, anger, and sadness. Many, surprisingly, are highly moralistic.
Wright does not give any standard answer in his brief book. He solves no problem as far as the problem of evil and justice of God is concerned. He talks more about responses. Instead of philosophizing, he talks about how we can do better as a faith community to curtail the evil in this world in the footsteps of Jesus. Rather than merely blaming, each believer can pray, certainly, especially for those who lost loved ones. After we get over our anger and sadness, we can take practical steps besides prayer. Every person might take a different response, but perhaps, somehow we can put our efforts together, in community, and make sure no more life is lost in this manner (at least, if we can help it). Prayerful action is the only solution to this kind of evil. Tonight, I’m going to hug my children, pray with them, and talk about safety in this terribly flawed world. Peace, all.
PS. This is a note I saw for the residents in that area. Please pass along. Emergency mental-health services, in the community, can really give support to families in a tragedy like this one. One organization providing them in Newtown is this one: Contact: Candice Bohr Newtown Youth & Family Services Phone: 203-270-4335 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE December 14, 2012 NEWTOWN YOUTH & FAMILY SERVICES OPEN FOR EMERGENCY COUNSELING NEWTOWN, CT—Newtown Youth & Family Services, Inc., will be open Saturday December 15th and Sunday December 16th from 9:00AM-4:00PM for emergency counseling for families, community members or staff involved in the Sandy Hook Elementary school tragedy.