"then wilt thou not be loath to leave this Paradise, but shalt possess a paradise within thee, happier far. Let us descend now therefore from this top of speculation; for the hour precise exacts our parting hence" Paradise Lost, Book XII, lines585-590

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Killings in Norway

Reading about the killings in Norway was heartbreaking.  My sympathies and prayers, admittedly insufficient, go out to all who died and to those whose loved ones and children were killed.  It saddens me even more to learn that the killer based his actions, at least in part, on his Christian faith.  A police spokesman Deputy Police Chief Roger Andresen would not speculate on the man's motives but told a news conference: "He describes himself as a Christian, leaning toward right-wing Christianity." 

In reading the story of Jesus it's hard to find justification for ever intentionally causing another person harm.  I also know that there's plenty of counter-examples in the Bible, but the trajectory of the overall story, culminating in Jesus, is about coming to accept that the ways of humanity, ways that are broken and destructive,  are ultimately self-destructive and counter to the divine will of wholeness and healing.

This young Norwegian man, who visited so much destruction upon his neighbors, is sadly mistaken about how people should settle their differences and live together with integrity.  Sadly he is also likely suffering from some form of mental illness.  Mental illness is also a part of the broken-ness of our world.  If we, as Christians, seek to follow Jesus and to live as he lived then we should seek reconciliation and not retribution, empathy and not judgement.  As hard as it might seem to us,we need to find a way that holds him accountable that isn't just our desire to wreak our vengeance upon him.  We must treat him with sympathy even though every part of us calls out for hatred, and find a way to include treatment to restore him to wholeness rather than a way to diminish his humanity even further.

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