Last week I was following the story of a church of Christ minister in Tennessee who was killed by his wife. My morbid fascination was fueled by the fact that this couple met at Freed Hardman College — the college my Dad attended, and that one of their daughters is named Mary Alice. But other aspects of the story interested me as well — I felt the congregation’s reaction to the trauma was very admirable, and I just wanted to know why this woman, who members of the congregation described as “lovely” and “precious” did this horrible thing.
Because of my interest, a friend of mine showed me part of a transcript from a CNN program. It seems they had a Baptist pastor on to discuss the shooting death of this minister and the church of Christ in particular. His comments were, from what I read, very slanderous, and, from my experience, inaccurate (I was going to include the link or some direct quotes here in my blog, but I feel no need to spread the slander). He made claims that the church of Christ is cult-like, closed-minded, and legalistic. Some of the things he said may have been true of some members at some time, but from ALL my experience with churches of Christ in Ontario and the United States it is NOT TRUE of the majority.
After I got over my initial feelings of ire, my questions were, WHY? WHY? WHY? Why use this as a platform for hate propaganda against one church? Why, in a world where a man was nearly executed in Afghanistan for converting to Christianity can’t those of us living under the umbrella of “Christian” in North America find some common ground? Why can’t we see that this kind of division hurts the Kingdom? Why can’t we see our similarities instead of our differences? We are not that different.
I guess my last question was, How can you say that? How can you say that about a congregation that has rallied around this wife who confessed to killing her husband? They have responded in love and support. They have been there at her court dates. They have stated they will get her what she needs. All without knowing her motive. In fact, they have discouraged speculation and gossip about the details and motive for the murder. They have posted pictures of the entire family on a bulletin board. They have come together to support the three daughters of this couple. They have come together to get through this. That just doesn’t seem like a congregation that belongs to the church described in such a hateful way on CNN.