CADRE Comments

A Rational Look at Christianity; Basing Reason in Truth

By now, many of you will have heard of the recent shootings in Colorado (and were probably wondering when someone from the Cadre would try to make hay about it...)

In case you hadn't heard, Matthew Murray, a young man (early 20s) who seems to have been mentally disturbed, attacked and killed two workers at a youth missionary training camp in Arvada, CO, from which he had been previously rejected (for mental instability, according to the director). Several hours later, he attacked a local megachurch (New Life Church in Colorado Springs), where he shot three people in the parking lot (a father and two daughters; the daughters died) before entering the building and being crippled by security guard Jeanne Assam (herself a devout Christian who had just completed a three-day religious fast. I can't tell yet from news articles if she was officially on duty at the time.) Matthew then proceeded to kill himself with a shot to the head.

Matthew himself was raised and home-schooled by a very religious family (his father also happens to be a neurologist); but evidence now indicates that he had left the fold rather completely some time previously, and even had warned some websites that he was about to do this. (There is also some evidence that he had told what he had done on some websites after the first shooting, promising to go out and attack Christians again.)

I've already said as much as I care to say about it elsewhere, a link to which I may put up later. And of course there are numerous theologically (and anti-theologically) chunky topics that could easily be discussed from this incident. But in principle they wouldn't be any different, really, from what has already been recently discussed in this journal concerning some other recent shootings here and abroad.

Instead, I would prefer to open up the comments for visitors (and members) to give, and perhaps discuss, any word of hope they may have for Matthew Murray and his family and victims. (Specifically, any word of hope concerning their eventual reconciliation with each other.)

I realize that this could be a strong temptation for sarcasm, but please try to be serious. Ideas have consequences; it may be that someone has no hope to give for Matthew Murray, but still believes that realism requires an acceptance of this lack of hope. This would be a good opportunity to soberly compare positions as a community, with an eye toward practicality: what do each of us (or any of us) have to offer as consolation and hope to his family and victims, especially in regard to Matthew Murray himself?

Thank you for your considerations, in advance.

Jason Pratt


I would just like to say that as a member of the Mennonite tradition, which is close kin to the Amish (who like those church victims had to recently deal with a shooting among them and their response to it), and our history itself which is very familiar with assassination of its members (by Christians)...we have already been in conversation about these events.

We have praised those who were praying for the shooter himself and the shooter's family while the events were occurring. We have discussed the presence of an armed security guard in a place of faith which, according to our tradition, is anathema to it. And we are now talking about what it might look like for us as a congregation to use our history as well as events like this as a way to form a proactive plan of nonviolent response to violence (including deadly violence) against congregations and/or against members of congregations wherever they might be.

The hope therein is that we as people who have the desire to follow Yeshua (which includes things like A. doing good to those who harm you and B. becoming the inheritors of land through peace instead of war) will not only be able to come up with something that helps us maintain our faith, but allows us to provide something positive and faith-affirmaing to other congregations.

If the shooter or his family can have any hope in all this, the hope will be that we as Mennonites and those who follow in our steps will be putting together a plan of action that will deal with you not as one who falls into the hands of men, but as one who falls into the hands of God. And God is nothing if not a god of mercy, who desires that none should die, but that all should come to repentance, and who deals with men not how they deserve, but according to his son, who gave his life so others might live. He who who attacks us and those who follow our guide will have much to hope for becasue we will be the ones who, like in our past, will pull our pursuer out of the pit when he comes for our lives. And we will even harbor that one from those who wish to do to him what he wished to do to us.

Thanks, Slav. Nice to hear from you. {s!}


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