Victims Forgive a Mass Murderer in the USA

Courage surprises us when we stumble on it unexpectedly. Compassion and love wash over us like a refreshing breeze in August, when we find them where we anticipated searing hate and vengeance.

On October 3, 2006, heavily-armed Charles Carl Roberts, 32, commandeered the one-room Amish schoolhouse at Nickel Mines, a farming community in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, about 60 miles west of Philadelphia.

The Amish are descendants of Swiss-German settlers from the Alsace-Lorraine region. Their Christian denomination places importance on the Gospel message of forgiveness. The Amish forbid the use of electricity in their homes, will not drive automobiles or tractors for fieldwork, and follow a strict dress code.

Roberts, who was not Amish, let the boys and adults in the school leave. Some speculate he planned to sexually molest the 10 girls he kept prisoner, but the police arrived too quickly for him to put his plan into action.

He shot all the girls, whose ages ranged from 6 to 13, killing five of them. Then he killed himself. He said he was mad at God, according to the surviving girls. He even asked them to pray for him.

But something astonishing happening before the carnage, according to Rita Rhoads, a midwife. Thirteen-year old Marian Fisher asked the killer to shoot her first, apparently hoping to let the younger girls survive.

Her 11-year old sister Barbie told the story to her grandfather who related it to Rhoads. Barbie appealed to the shooter to shoot her next. The younger sister survived. Continue reading

Giving Up My Right To Revenge

Police shows have succeeded cowboy shows in our imagination. Roy Rogers used to leap on his faithful steed Trigger and barrel away after Black Jack Jenkins or Black Jack Somebody-Or-Other. A hoof-pounding horse chase followed.

Today Tom Hanks jumps in his Ferrari and squeals and screeches through the streets chasing Black Jack’s cinematic children.

I think one reason we like cowboy movies is that they give us such a sense of fulfillment, at least the cowboy movies before 1965. The bad guy always gets it in the gizzard at the end and he’s paid back for all the evil he’s done. Things are evened up.

In high school our glorious team got stomped 59-6 by the Murfreesboro Rattlers one year. I may have already told you that but I was really marked by that beating. The next year we came back and beat them 44-0. You can look it up in the annals of the Nashville News. Our theme that year was, “We ain’t forgetting!”

What a good feeling to even up the accounts like that.

Except when I analyze it, it’s not really what the Lord taught. Vengeance? Continue reading

Vote for Me As King of the World!

Compared to God’s righteousness we’re all crooked.

They should name me king of the world. Why? Well, don’t broadcast it widely but (shhh, keep this to yourself)–I know everything. If you don’t believe it, just ask me.

Want to know who is right or who is wrong? Ask me. Want to know how it should be done? Ask me. Want to know the answer to some deep moral dilemma? You’ve come to the right place sweetie. Continue reading

Are You Forgiven If You’re Planning On Doing It Again?

Check out the podcast at the end of this article: Romance!

Depending on your perspective, one of the joys or curses of growing up down South was country music. You couldn’t escape its influence.

Daddy used to listen to the Grand Ole Opry Saturday nights on the radio, which wasn’t too bad when I was four. You can stand almost anything at that age. Later, when I was in college, you basically chose your camp: ‘goat-roper music’ or ‘rock and roll.’

Church music was basically gospel, southern gospel (which was kind of a hybrid gospel/ country) or hymns. That’s the world that was.
Continue reading