Regarding the Virginia Tech shooting, and the possibility that the same scenario could play out at a Southern Baptist seminary, one of our presidents had this to say in chapel yesterday:
“Now if you’re a male student, will you just lift your hand for a moment so I can see you? Thank you for that commitment. God forbid that anything happen like this here, but each of you that just raised your hand said, ‘Never be more than two or three shots before I’m on him. Doesn’t matter how many of us he takes out. ‘ See, all you had to do was have six or eight rush him right at that time, and thirty-two people wouldn’t have died. Now folks, let’s make up our minds. I know we live in America where nobody gets involved in anybody else’s situation. That shall not be the rule here. Does everybody understand? You say, well I may be shot. Well, yeah, you may. Are you saved? You’re going to heaven. You know, it’s better than earth . . . Now one more time, how many male students are there? I’m counting on you.”
Excuse me? Did he just say that Virginia Tech students are to blame for the deaths of all their fellow classmates because they didn’t “rush him?”
Interspersed with the president’s comments was laughter from the student body. I’m sorry, folks, but I just fail to comprehend how appealing to masculine bravado and insinuating that Virginia Tech students are wimps serves much of a pastoral purpose. Because that’s what happened. Students who were afraid, faculty members who blocked doors to protect their students and took bullets themselves, dozens of innocent dead all serve as a homespun lesson in the value of the Second Amendment at Southern Baptist seminaries. This is beyond bizarre. It’s beyond callous. It’s just plain freakish. I can’t imagine how parents of the victims are comforted knowing that a gunslinging seminary president is making sure that the next generation of Southern Baptist pastors will be much more courageous than their children were.
What pastor would ask men in his church to raise their hands and volunteer to tackle a gunman? I’m sorry if I fail to hear the tender mercies of Christ in this odd macho mix of guns and God. I apologize if I find other valuable topics of pastoral instruction from the Virginia Tech massacre. But perhaps I’m the only person who feels this way. Maybe I’m the only one who thinks a seminary that is teaching etiquette to women and tactical terrorist intervention to men has lost its focus.
Imagine if Jesus’ teaching followed this line of reasoning:
Luke 13:1-5: “Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, ‘Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! They weren’t worse sinners, but they were pretty lousy men. Total wimps, those Galileans. I mean, c’mon fellas. If Pilate had tried that stuff around here, I’d have pulled out my .357 and sent him to Hell in God’s name.'”