December 12, 2007

Let Them Be, Even In This

When those with him saw what was happening, they said, "Master shall we fight?" One of them took a swing at the Chief Priest's servant and cut off his right ear. Jesus said, "Let them be. Even in this." Then touching the servant's ear, he healed him.

(Luke 22:49-51, The Message)

On Sunday, five (5) people were killed and another five (5) were wounded in Colorado. If this is news to you, here are some articles I will pulling information from.

I want to start this off by clearly stating that my thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who were killed, and their respective communities. I have personal ties to Denver, Youth With A Mission, and Colorado Springs. A tragedy like this is difficult to endure and I pray that the families affected can find peace, hope, and solace in the comforting arms of their communities. I start with such hesitation, because I have major qualms about the events that perspired on Sunday, and I want to differentiate between defending my faith and the defending Mr. Murray's actions. The latter is definitely not the case.

When Matthew Murray entered New Life Church on Sunday and began shooting, security guard Jeanne Assam emptied her clip into his body. Senior pastor Brady Boyd credited Assam with saving one hundred (100) lives. Assam and her fellow security guards are all volunteers. All have law-enforcement backgrounds (Assam worked in Minneapolis), and carry weapons. The church has detailed evacuation plans for "hustling worshipers into secure zones" during emergencies. Other churches, such as the local North Phoenix Baptist Church have similar security protocols. In fact, T.D. Jakes at The Potter's House in Dallas, employs a private team of armed, uniformed guards that keep watch over the congregation.

I have a problem with all of this. The Jesus I believe in was killed for his beliefs. The Jesus I believe in rebuked his disciples when they retaliated in violence. The Jesus I believe in left the ninety-nine (99) for the one (1). Interesting and ironic then, that Pastor Boyd recognized his security guard for saving one hundred (100) lives. The Jesus I believe in, seeing the violent end of his life near, said, "Let them be. Even in this."

There's really nothing else I am able to say. But your comments are appreciated.

"People around here are serious about protecting their own."
Patton Dodd
(Former New Life staff member speaking on the security presence)

Note: The two victims from the YWAM center in Arvada, CO, do not have memorial funds created yet. Below is a link to fund set up in honor of the two sisters shot and killed at New Life Church in Colorado Springs, CO.

Works Family Memorial Fund


Kevo said...

Well stated Sam. I wrestled with the whole issue as I drove around in my car listening to the story on NPR. I appreciate your preface and echo your thoughts regarding the families and the loss they have suffered. I also agree that living in the way of Jesus is a life of creative nonviolence and this story raises very interesting questions about our security and where it comes from.

brittany said...

i agree with you completely in this. before i had started attending oneplace, better yet, before i had ever had a serious conversation with kevin, i had never seen things in this light. although, the church i was raised in was fairly liberal, they did choose not to get into this concept of jesus at all. i never learned about jesus being a peaceful person until later in my life. i know it sounds silly that i didn't pick up on this on my own, i just saw jesus as being the ultimate sacrifice, never connecting these two dots.

this is extra frustrating to me, because i also went through a thing in my life where i was obsessed with saints. more people living peaceful lives, and me not understanding what i was being shown.

now that these things have been pointed out to me, it's hard for me to understand how i have missed this for so long. it's hard for me to see how people are seeing jesus as someone who would find it necessary for security during service.

when i talked to my mother about this she told me they must have had an issue in the past. the first time i brought someone to oneplace, someone came in off the street and started talking about vietnam war veterans. i remember sitting there in a panic, thinking to myself that the one time i brought someone to church shit was going to go down. then, i really thought about it. i thought about how if shit is going to go down, i would want it to be there if i could choose. obviously, shit did not go down, but since this anytime anything weird happens i've been more willing to let things take their course.

Lewis Cash said...

First off, Brittany, I think I was there that night when that guy came in talking about the War (unless this has happened on multiple occasions). It was extremely strange, and I tensed up instantly. I just hope and pray that in the future my (rather, our, the Church's) reaction to this types of situations will be rooted in love.

Visit my friend's Garret's blog at for more discussion on the issue.

v.taimani said...

hey sam..

good to hear from u.. i feel like i knew u went to oneplace but dont know how i knew that.. ive been wanting to visit there for a while now but havent been able to.. shannon and i r comin to az next week, fri.. if i can make a service i will.. anyway, yeah man glad to hear from u.. take care..


Liana said...

Powerful reflection, Sam, what indeed does it mean that we are willing to live amongst armed persons who are armed on our behalf? It's one thing to respond nonviolently to a person screaming racial epithets in your face and that person happens to be packing a weapon. Another thing entirely to carry such a weapon "just in case." What happened to "do not be afraid?" What does that mean coming out of Jesus' mouth, a person who was victimized by some pretty brutal violence? It means to me that he puts up yet another challenge to us to live fully into the life he modeled!