Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Virginia Tech CT article

Yesterday, Virginia Tech's Norris Hall was reopened, but the Universities authorities decided that it will no longer be used for classrooms, despite the new paint and cleanup. Perhaps the tragedy was too painful. Perhaps the memories they trigger are too depressing.

Here is one of the best reflections I come across, which is richly honest, pastoral and comforting. In a truly honest to self, and honest to God manner, Yancey starts off on two threads: what he would like to say, and what he would term the truth. I suppose it is a rhetorical method. Theologically, the two are supposed to be asserted together. Truth is truth. How can one thread be true and the other not? The proper understanding will be how do we express that truth, as truthfully as possible. Rhetoric or not, such methods work pretty effectively.

I like the way Philip Yancey puts it in ChristianityToday:
"In grief, love and pain converge. Cho felt no grief as he gunned down your classmates because he felt no love for them. You feel grief because you did have a connection. Some of you had closer ties to the victims, but all of you belong to a body to which they too belonged. When that body suffers, you suffer. Remember that as you cope with the pain. Don't try to numb it. Instead, acknowledge it as a perception of life and of love."
We all have connections we cherish. Imagine a childhood friend who gets hurt in an accident. We feel much closer to them, especially when they resemble too closely our own lifestyles and preferences. Compare that with a distant person from another culture, another language and another sociological context. Certainly we feel more for the one where there is a personal connection. Connections are primary keys to relationships. It can warm one's heart in nostalgia. It can release tears during tragedy. Connection. Where are the connections in our lives? Where are our connections in the community of God? What about our connection to God? Imagine God seeing the presence of tragedy all over the world all the time, if our connection to God is tight and firm, when God weeps, we too will weep.


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