Monday, October 09, 2006

Walking the talk

There are people who talk about being Christian, and then there are people for whom being Christian steeps their very lives to the point where they instinctively do and say things that I think I would really have to reach for.

I've been thinking this all week about the Amish response to the killings last week in Paradise, Pennsylvania. Here's a sampling of the news coverage:

Amish grandfather: 'We must not think evil of this man.'

A grieving grandfather told young relatives not to hate the gunman who killed five girls in an Amish schoolhouse massacre, a pastor said on Wednesday. "As we were standing next to the body of this 13-year-old girl, the grandfather was tutoring the young boys, he was making a point, just saying to the family, 'We must not think evil of this man,' "the Rev. Robert Schenck told CNN. "It was one of the most touching things I have seen in 25 years of Christian ministry."

Amish girl asked to be shot to save others

One of the girls who died in Pennsylvania's Amish schoolhouse massacre asked the killer to shoot her first in an apparent bid to save the younger girls, a woman who spoke to the victim's family said Friday.

Amish mourn gunman who killed 5 girls

Dozens of Amish neighbors gathered Saturday to mourn the quiet milkman who killed five of their young girls and wounded five more in a brief, unfathomable rampage.

[Roberts'] wife, Marie, and their three small children looked on as Roberts was buried beside the pink, heart-shaped grave of the infant daughter whose death nine years ago apparently haunted him, said Bruce Porter, a fire department chaplain from Colorado who attended the service.

About half of perhaps 75 mourners on hand were Amish.

"It's the love, the forgiveness, the heartfelt forgiveness they have toward the family. I broke down and cried seeing it displayed," said Porter, who had come to Pennsylvania to offer what help he could. He said Marie Roberts was also touched.

"She was absolutely deeply moved, by just the love shown," Porter said.

For some spiritual commentary on the Amish response, check out these links:

I continue to be very moved myself by these examples of core Christianity that requires self-sacrifice, turning the other cheek, forgiveness, and love. We could learn a lot from the Amish.


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