God's Politics

God's Politics

Jim Wallis: A Time for Silence and Prayer

The shooting deaths of 32 students and staff of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia, is the latest example of the senseless violence that seems so often to enter our daily lives.

In the midst of the shock such events bring, it is difficult to know what to say.

So, I was moved by an editorial in the Los Angeles Times this morning:

IN THE BIBLICAL Book of Job, the anguished hero is visited by three friends who attempt to comfort him by drawing airy and sententious lessons from his agonies. Of course, they end up adding to his troubles; Job endures not only the real pains of grief and sickness but the indignity of having his suffering milked for rhetorical effect.

If only it were true that Monday’s mass murder on the campus of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University was the kind of tragedy that moves us to quiet reflection. In fact, the shootings that killed more than 30 people and wounded nearly 30 others occasioned a blizzard of hasty conclusions, instant position-taking and the rehashing of old arguments. For the sake of the dead, for the sake of the living, and even for the sake of honoring this grim milestone — the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history — we should remember that there are times when silence is the best response.

Events like these are almost impossible to react to sanely. A group of people you don’t know have been killed in a senseless crime. Too young to have established much of a past, they’ve been robbed of present and future; the weight of the offense, the rotten meaninglessness of it, makes it awkward not to have something to say.

The editorial notes that there will be discussions about gun control and other political issues, but concludes: “There will be time for both in the days to come. But now is a time to respect, quietly, the tears and the pain of this terrible event.”

Along with the rest of our country and the world, all of us at the God’s Politics blog send our condolences and prayers to the families and friends of those who died, and to the entire Virginia Tech community. We pray that the comforting presence of God will be felt in the midst of this unexplainable tragedy.

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posted April 17, 2007 at 10:15 pm

May God’s grace be upon them all, and may God’s presence be made manifest even in the midst of the darkness of the night.

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posted April 17, 2007 at 10:24 pm

Along with the rest of our country and the world, all of us at the God s Politics blog send our condolences and prayers to the families and friends of those who died, and to the entire Virginia Tech community. We pray that the comforting presence of God will be felt in the midst of this unexplainable tragedy. DITTO! Later – .

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posted April 17, 2007 at 10:30 pm

Just a thought that occurred to me today listening to some sacred songs on the radio – if the shooter had been treated kindly; if he had been told just ONE time, “Jesus loves you, and so do I;” if someone had recognized his pain, this might not have happened. There are sooo many lost souls, and so many believers who are needed to reach out to these people BEFORE they take the law in their own hand. “Guns don’t kill: people do,” is hardly an issue here, but the media and the government will make hay out of this disaster. I, too, add my prayers and comfort to the families of the slain and injured students, and hope that they can find peace, if not closure, out of this. My late husband, my Dad, and my father-in-law, all graduated from Tech. This puts such a stain on that fine University. I hope sometime, some where, we can forgive…

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posted April 18, 2007 at 1:02 am

Silence here.

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posted April 18, 2007 at 7:32 am

On behalf of Sojo’s friends and comrades in Canada, I send sincere condolences and prayers for healing in response to this most recent horror to savage the U.S.

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posted April 18, 2007 at 5:50 pm

amen. … p

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Rick Nowlin

posted April 18, 2007 at 7:23 pm

During our regularly scheduled prayer meeting at work, we not only lifted up the campus but also prayed that Christian students, churches and chaplains (after all, this is the South — I’m sure they’re everywhere) be mobilized to do ministry. If there’s a time for God, it’s a time such as this.

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Carl Copas

posted April 18, 2007 at 7:43 pm

Canuckelhead, a classy and thoughtful posting. Thank you, from a fellow North American and Xtian.

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posted April 19, 2007 at 1:26 am

Suzanne-a sobering, and motivating, thought. As Christians, we all need to consider how we treat our fellows…since they could be Christ returned to Earth, or someone teetering on the brink of insanity. How often does the kind word, the extended hand, lead someone away from darkness and backs towards life. We won’t know until the next life. I pray we all will stop, for a brief moment, offer our prayers for those how died and those who survive them, and prayers for all of us, that we make the effort each and every day to extend God’s love to a stranger in our lives. Peace.

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