If Death Comes, You Deserved It
Steven L. Anderson of Faithful Word Baptist Church, Tempe, Arizona is no stranger to us. Registering in the extremist/insanity category, Anderson’s screeds and conspiracy theories have amused and abused many. Today, we surmise that death comes to those who deserve it. Given how they lived, what could those who died in the Paris attacks expect?
But Piketon, OH hosted no Eagles of Death Metal concerts. Yet eight Rhoden family members died in their sleep. Perhaps this family will be linked to the marijuana plants found in the vicinity. One supposes that would certainly offer Mr. Anderson a tidy explanation of their demise.
But then, suppose that God isn’t like that at all. Suppose that when his children in France or Belgium or Ferguson or Boston or Charleston or Piketon are snuffed out, God’s own heart grieves. Recognizing that this is indeed the case, United Methodists prepared these resources for lament. Nor are Methodists the only people to recommend community laments.
The Boston Catholic website has uploaded this document. There, we find such statements as:
‘The scriptures provide us with ways to express our hope that God’s intervention will change our feelings of emptiness, fear and sadness while we become even more aware of the events and how they occurred. We need to place our losses and the losses of the French people into the context and framework of faith.’
‘There is a need to come together for prayer.’
‘Safety and stability is given when communities respond in prayerful ways.’
There is a tremendous need community instruction from the perspective of Christian faith in God. But providing it will require courage. Such issues as these and other documents name will not go quietly into the sunset. But on the other hand, the conditions that give rise to tragedy make this response by the church all the more imperative.
The Rhoden family tragedy is yet another call for church to remember who she is, to whom she belongs, and for what end she exists in the world. Mr. Anderson is a good example of what we are not to be. Can we now find grace to minister positively when tragedy strikes?