Last night, my wife and I sat on the couch enjoying a relaxing evening in front of the TV, watching some of our favorite shows that we had recorded in the last week. We finished the last one we were going to watch for the night, and the TV switched over to the regular TV stations. It happened to be tuned into CNN, which was showing Anderson Cooper 360. And, rather than the obligatory coverage of the tight Democratic primary race, or the changes in New Orleans since the show’s last visit to the city (Anderson Cooper was on site in N.O.), the show was showing breaking news coverage on the shooting spree that happened inside a lecture hall at Northern Illinois University yesterday.
The two of us just sat numbed, in shock. It can’t be good when such stories have become routine, when the images of people fleeing for their lives is as normal in real life as it is inside the suspended disbelief of a movie theater. What is it that has happened in the last ten or fifteen years that has brought us to the point of wondering whether colleges could ever be safe, whether a trip to a mall for a day out could ever be relaxing again, whether any public place is really safe again. I know many places in the world deal with this, and have dealt with this for long years. But it’s new here, to me.
I wonder what we can do for my generation and the one after (those born post 1975) to curb the pain, the frustration, the loss of grounding that is spinning us out of control. It’s not for want of the knowledge of the message those of us who follow Christ know we need to share. There’s something else missing. Whether it is what we are saying, how we are saying it, or some other thing, I don’t know. Publishing houses make money off of those arguing to figure it out. But something has to change. Our ministry as a church must change and meet the needs of those who are hurting and broken. We aren’t doing it now.