Mass Shootings

Listen to me read “Mass Shootings”.

This afternoon there was a shooting in the middle of a major shopping mall near where I work. At least two people have been confirmed dead so far. What do such shootings say about our society? Random violence? Random lives? Random meaning? How do we respond?

So often we approach one another simply as mass, where we have no inherent meaning or value. Kind of like the stuff we buy at Christmas—no inherent meaning, only the value we give to it. Of course, people are more than mass, as a collective and as individuals. Next time I am in that mall, I am going to look at each person I pass by not as a mass, and not simply as one of the nameless mass of people shopping, but as those whose lives are by no means random. They count far more than the stuff we buy.

About Paul Louis Metzger

Dr. Paul Louis Metzger is the Founder and Director of The Institute for the Theology of Culture: New Wine, New Wineskins and Professor at Multnomah Biblical Seminary/Multnomah University. He is the author of numerous works, including "Connecting Christ: How to Discuss Jesus in a World of Diverse Paths" and "Consuming Jesus: Beyond Race and Class Divisions in a Consumer Church." These volumes and his others can be found wherever fine books are sold.

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  • Derek C

    Thanks for sharing this reflection. I appreciate your calling attention to the fact that by calling this a mass shooting fails to capture the impact of what has occurred in and to our community. People are not a mass. To my chagrin, I am reminded that these are people with infinite value, and I see or, more accurately, pass by them everyday — on the train, bus and sidewalk. I am convicted because I forget the truth of their distinct personhood except when a tragedy like this jars me out of my alternate reality back into an eternal perspective.

  • John Lussier

    Given the recent and tragic number of mass shootings in the last few years, I think now, when the thought is fresh, is a perfect time to reflect on the importance of someone’s humanity. Dr. Metzger rightly reminds us of something that could have stopped this shooting or other tragedies like it: loving interaction. W need these reminders more than ever. May God grant us the holy and loving vision he has upon all humanity, and the grace to act upon it.