Margaret Koontz is in her sixth year as a full-time faculty member in the College of Theology. Originally from Bakersfield, CA, she earned her MDiv at Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary in Fresno, CA. She has served in children’s, youth and cross-cultural ministries as well as pastoring small churches in California, New York and New Mexico. She has been married to her high school sweetheart, Hal, for 43 years, and has four grandchildren.
Each semester, my classes look at a variety of topics, including “Who is God?” and “Who are we created to be?”
For just a little while we get to stay in the garden, where all the relationships are as they were meant to be: God with His people, people with each other and people with the creation itself.
And then, like Adam and Eve, we leave the garden and begin to try to understand the reality of the fallenness and separation that we live with now. Sin entered the world, and we all inherited it. Not just the consequences, but that change in our nature.
The students are given a list of examples (abuse, addiction, suicide, murder) and work on a group presentation to show how these things are evident in the world today. We’ve had the “trigger alert” talk. They’re researching statistics and causes. They’re looking at possible solutions.
I can always count on the news for a real-life, real-time illustration of the consequences of the fall.
But this one is tough.
As we gather bits and pieces of information, we know the basics:
Lone shooter. College campus. Small, close-knit community. Quick police response. Students hiding. Ambulances and helicopters screaming away. Frantic families trying to find their kids.
We hear more bits and pieces: He asked them their religion and then killed them; he died in a hail of police bullets; names won’t be released for 24 hours.
It’s all too familiar. We’ve heard this before … and before … and before.
And even before we know the names, the responses come. We’ve heard them before as well.
I suspect they will divide themselves between gun control and mental health – both important topics that need discussing. I suspect that the proposed solutions will divide themselves between more of/less of, as well as awareness/understanding the cause.
What we will not hear is the word “sin.” What will not be discussed are the “consequences of sin.” What will be completely overlooked is the “solution to the problem of sin.”
As Christians, how do we respond? We’re very good at praying, providing needed help, caring and support.
But are we willing to name the source of the problem and to help those seeking answers find the cure?
To read more from Margaret Koontz, check out her recent blog post.