Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Double Tragedy in Maryville

Read about it here.

The first and most grievous part of this tragedy is that a pastor was shot and killed at his church this past Sunday morning.

The second tragedy is that at least initially, the congregation couldn't tell the difference between worship and and a murder.

Sad and tragic on both counts.
Lord, have mercy.


Mimi said...

May his Memory be Eternal.

And, I agree, the fact that it was unnoted at first is definitely a tragedy. Lord have Mercy.

s-p said...

Double tragedy indeed. You couldn't write fiction like that...if you did evangelicals would probably have screamed "unfair caricature!"
Lord have mercy.

DebD said...

I had heard about this, but didn't realize about the 2nd part... how sad. This is not very far from my sister. I'm thinking that one of the Orthodox parishes I visit while out there is very near Maryville.

Verdugo said...

This is ridiculous. The congregation clearly was not expecting to witness the murder of their pastor. When you witness something that horrendous, so far out of the ordinary, naturally your brain will initially try to force the images you are seeing with something that makes sense. I had a similar experience once when I witnessed a gruesome traffic accident. It's just a normal mental process, it has nothing to do with anything "tragic" in the congregation themselves.

The murder, of course, was deeply and horrifically tragic. No need to compound the suffering and grief of a traumatized congregation by such wild and unfounded speculation.

-C said...

Of course it's ridiculous - beyond that, it's insane.

"We thought it was part of a drama skit ... when he shot, what you saw was confetti," said congregant Linda Cunningham, whose husband is a minister of adult education at the church. "We just sat there waiting for what comes next, not realizing that he had wounded the pastor."

Nothing anyone can say can make this situation any worse than it already is.

-C said...

Additionally, I would say that this is not simply an indictment of this particular parish, but of all of the church, in general.

It is the job of the Church to teach the Church to recognize Church when they see it (which means that it's the job of the church to teach the church to recognize Christian worship when they see it). That they just "sat there waiting for what comes next" is to say that they didn't know what comes next. And in this, they are in good company all across America every Sunday morning.

What happened in Maryville convicts us ALL.

Verdugo said...


Your comment about passivity in worship again, seems completely irrelevant and extraordinarily inappropriate here. Sure, the Church needs to teach believers to "recognize Christian worship when they see it." But to assume that that was NOT the case here is absurd. We don't know that. We only know that people were NOT expecting to see their pastor gunned down in front of them, and responded with understandable disbelief.

The "double tragedy" here IMHO is how extraordinarily callous and unloving Christians can be to their traumatized and grieving bros and sisters.

-C said...

Well, it is perfectly appropriate here because it's my blog.

My point is that it is the liturgy which teaches Christians how to worship. It's absence leaves all sorts of room for confusion about exactly what is going on at church on Sunday mornings.

I am not a callous person nor unloving. Neither are any of the first commenters here. It is a sad and tragic thing happened - nobody's denying that.

That much of American Christianity has dumped the liturgy of the church in favor of skits and rock bands, etc. is also sadly tragic, and it has been done at great cost to the church. And that was the point of my post.

You don't have to agree.

Verdugo said...

well, obviously I don't. Not that I don't agree with your point re: liturgy and contemporary trends in worship, but with your leap to the conclusion that it is relevant to this tragedy. And drawing that conclusion based on the shocked, immediate comments of traumatized congregants seems, again, insensitive, callous, and inappropriate. If you weren't making that highly speculative connection, I'd be much more appreciative of your concerns re: contemporary worship.

IMHO, of course.

-C said...

It is relative to this tragedy in the important fact - published in several articles about this incident - that what everyone saw that day at church was not at all unexpected (it sure should have been!). It LOOKED like what they were accustomed to seeing in church. It was only learning what was really happening in what they saw that was unexpected.

You also don't have to appreciate what I wrote (many American Christians wouldn't).

But I'm standing by it.

Verdugo said...

Once again, my objection is not to your critique of contemporary Christian worship, but rather to leaping to the conclusion that the congregants were "used" to violent dramas based on their immediate reactions to a completely unexpected, traumatic event.

You also don't have to appreciate (or even post) what I wrote, but I'm standing by it-- at least until we have some confirmation that they were "expecting" a violent skit.

-C said...

Suffice it to say that I am not alone in my conclusions, as I have noticed that others in the blogosphere have drawn similar ones (and the making of this same point by 2 Lutheran pastors with whom I have spoken this week is partly what prompted me to post about it).

Thank you for maintaining a mostly respectful tone in your disagreement with my post.