Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Sanctuary - Part 1 Two days ago, another school shooting took place in nearby Lancaster County, PA. This time striking at the peaceful heart of a town that virtually did not know crime. A 32 year old milk truck driver entered a quiet Amish school house and committed unspeakable acts. It appears that 10 young girls were shot execution style and 5 are confirmed dead; the others are in critical condition. It's the third school shooting to happen nationwide within a week. The Amish lead a simple life, an unplugged life. They move with the rhythm of the sun and the seasons. But for this community, the rhythm has been broken by the madness of our age. What do we do in the face of such terror? I think of the children in that school who survived, trembling in that darkness, that place of terror. Though they've survived, still, something of their childhood has been forever lost. They are wounded in a way few can understand; only grace can heal such pain. And I pray that it descends now with all tenderness and light. What has happened in the minds of such men who can do such terrible things to their fellow travelers, especially the helpless and the innocent? I don't know where we begin to stop this madness, but the lasting cure cannot rest only in legal realms or gun laws. This infection runs deeper. The heart has been poisoned, the heart of our culture has been numbed by so much senseless violence. Many of our movies glorify violence; television shows are increasingly pushing the envelope... How many times has the TV shown us stories of homicide, brutality, and torture, "entertaining" us with plot lines that delve into the minds of psychopathic killers? If this is what we drink in day after day on our couches after work, after a day of real encounters with the miracles around us, how can it not have a desensitizing effect? Soon we miss the miracle, and have left only a mass of blurred faces in our daily walk. I think we need to cry sanctuary. We need a retreat. We need the soft rain to come, and the quiet cool of the evening to still us, heart and mind. Wash our souls clean. I think we too need to be unplugged for awhile. Maybe we need to turn to the mountains again, like Francis, and empty ourselves of the baggage that our broken culture is pouring into our hearts. The media seems to thrive on spinning darkness like a web. How do we escape it? What is the baggage I carry even now, the images from our violent culture, the films and the shows I am drinking in perhaps heedless of the darkness they carry? Can I turn something off? Is there a place that I can go that is only life? That breathes life and not death? That points to the good and not always the twisted and the terrible?

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