Saturday, September 23, 2006

Shots Fired

Yesterday, I came in to the office on my day off to support my wife in an event that she was coordinating for women. The parking lot was filled with police officers and one flagged us down and informed us to go directly into the building, there was a hostage situation in a nearby home with an armed gunman.

In all, over 100 rounds were fired at the police during the 10 hour siege. The 41 year old man who had barracaded himself into a home three blocks away from the church building was eventually subdued with a minor gun shot wound to his arm. Police used the grounds of the church to mass and stage their forces in an effort to bring the crisis to an end. All homes in the neighborhood of the home were evacuated. As the siege lengthened we offered our facilities for the police officers to use the restrooms and I informed the police that I was available if there was a need for a pastor.

Many of the woman who were here for the woman's ministry event prayed for a safe resolution to the ordeal. I and others prayed for the same thing and as we left we told the officers that we were praying for them.

I slept fitfully, waking up often and wondering what was going on the heart of the man who had started the incident. Numerous times I prayed.

This morning's news revealed how our prayers had been answered. There had been no hostages. The un-named man is in stable condition in a local hospital.

Questions are climbing all over my heart.
1. This house is three blocks away. What responsibility do I/we bear for failing to reach this man with the gospel?
2. What drove this man to such desperation and evil?
3. How could we have better cared for the officers?
4. The officers dismissed the need for a pastor. Isn't this a huge picture of how secular our culture has become?
5. How easy it is for misinformation to get disseminated? (We were told by the police that there were hostages. Later a rumor circulated that the man was a father and held three children.)
6. Some bystanders in the community seemed genuinely excited (as opposed to grieved and broken) that such "exciting events" could be taking place in our "backyard." What does this tell us about our culture?
7. Some bystanders in the community were near panic with fear. What does this tell us about ourselves?
8. What is our duty and responsibility to the community now that the immediate crisis has passed?
9. How do we reach out the neighborhood in which this happen with the comfort and love of Christ?

Shots have been fired in the neighborhood, how are we to respond?


Anonymous said...

Yes, how are we to respond to that neighborhood, as we most certainly should? What sincere, authentic and tangible way could we respond without it looking like a gimmick? I will be praying.

Patricia said...

Pastor Marty,I am sorry that you were in the middle of such a sobering incident, but I am glad that you cared enough to think about the implications of this incident and about the offender that started this whole thing.Most people would not, unfortunately. We, as a Christian community, need to be better doers of the word, and be less concerned by if the gay activists are going to "take over" the media, which they don't and by our image. Sadly, most pastors/priests I have encountered/heard about (not you, of course)have been primarly been concerned with only 2 things: 1.)their church's image and 2.) their own image. It is nice to see that there are pastors though that actually care about PEOPLE, and not just IMAGE!!!!! I will be praying for you and this situation.

Craver VII said...

Wow, that does not sound like our nice neighborhood.

First, let me say that I am NOT that 41 year-old. My house is eight blocks away, and I was at a Selah concert downtown, Chicago. There are LOTS of witnesses.

When I was single, some guy went around shooting people with a crossbow, and it seems I fit the description, even though I do not own a crossbow (or gun) and would not kill anything except paper.

I am not against owning such weapons, it's just that I grew up in Chicago, and it's easier to get my meat at the nearby grocery store. Plus, my wife is really scared of guns.

Seriously, I think we should talk about this more. But I do not blame our church that Adam bit the fruit. That man sinned because he was a sinner. Our church is making a good effort to reach the community with the truth from God's word, but we cannot be responsible for the actions taken outside the church. Still, if we care about our community, we cannot stop at saying we're doing a good job, but we must ask, "What more should we be doing?"

warriorrob said...

The question becomes what are we so busy with that we do not have the time for our assignment? One of the last things that Jesus said before returning to his rightful place was to GO. We have a habit though to sit, stand, sing, listen, read, give and go home. We are then at a false comfort level that we have done what God has commisioned us to do. We are dreadfully wrong! We are to go and preach the gospel to the masses. We are our brothers keeper! Our job is to tear down the kingdom of darkness. As you have said Pastor, we should invade the devils kingdom such that our names are known in hell. I just wonder, have I ever passed this man at Walmart or in the streets and if so what was I busy with that I did not share the gospel with him. How many people do I pass by with out even saying hello. I used to go witnessing about four hours a week. If anyone wants to go witness on Saturday, and give the devil a black eye, I'm available.

clc said...

the questions you raise remind me of the often quoted phrase, "people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care." i think we need to be better and more practical about caring for the people around us. you made an excellent point at church about going to the people around us and not expecting them to come to us. i noticed several men in the church reading "conspiracy of kindness." i think that might be a good place to start, by caring practically for those around us and not being surprised when those moments of caring become moments of sharing, ministering.

Anonymous said...

Make fliers saying that

"We are sorry that last Friday night was so upsetting for us all. We would like to make this weekend more pleasant and peaceful for you. This flyer may be exchanged for two free tickets to the play, "The Curious Savage" this weekend at New Song Church" .....Briarcliff Road....

and send the jr and sr high our to distribute them this week

Anonymous said...

How about if we, as a church, pray for the people in that neighborhood and the man's family. Commit that neighborhood to prayer for the next 6 months (or more), from the pulpit once a month, down the prayer chain once a week, challenge the congregation to prayer walk (or drive) that neighborhood. Leaving no door hangers or any evidence of what we are doing. Let's see what God does. Let's totally rely on God moving in that neighborhood. I come to this idea because of the laziness in the area of prayer in my own life. The conviction in my own heart for my lacking prayer life.

ChosenRebel said...

We have already started prayerwalking the neighborhood, but I like your suggestion. We will talk about it in staff. Keep praying.