Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Empty Space

My father had dinner with my eldest son on Friday before he was to leave for a music school up north. Our first good bye to a once little boy that used to collect dinosaurs. He is now taller than I am and at the end of this next school year, my wife and I will be faced with the painful thought of his leaving for college.

After dinner with my father, dad called to tell me what a good boy we have raised. I replied that he is and will be a much better man than I could ever be. I believe this to be true as his mother has surrounded him with things that are good. What I mean by this is she has made such great efforts with all of our boys to see that they are centered within a Christian environment. So much so that when my youngest came home from Vacation Bible School, he announced that he had learned enough about God and couldn't possibly fit any more in his brain.

Which leads to another topic of conversation and that is what happens to a man, or a society for that matter, that leaves space in himself for other things rather than God?

I think the answer can be found with Darrell Scott who lost a child in the Columbine High School shootings in Littleton, Colorado. He was invited to address the House Judiciary Committee's subcommittee after the shootings and what he said was certainly not typical of what a parent might say after something so tragic.

The following is a portion of the transcript:

“Since the dawn of creation there has been both good & evil in the hearts of men and women.. We all contain the seeds of kindness or the seeds of violence. The death of my wonderful daughter, Rachel Joy Scott, and the deaths of that heroic teacher, and the other eleven children who died must not be in vain. Their blood cries out for answers.

“The first recorded act of violence was when Cain slew his brother Abel out in the field. The villain was not the club he used.... Neither was it the NCA, the National Club Association. The true killer was Cain, and the reason for the murder could only be found in Cain’s heart..

“In the days that followed the Columbine tragedy, I was amazed at how quickly fingers began to be pointed at groups such as the NRA..(National Rifle Association) I am not a member of the NRA. I am not a hunter. I do not even own a gun. I am not here to represent or defend the NRA - because I don’t believe that they are responsible for my daughter’s death. Therefore I do not believe that they need to be defended. If I believed they had anything to do with Rachel’s murder I would be their strongest opponent..

I am here today to declare that Columbine was not just a tragedy -- it was a spiritual event that should be forcing us to look at where the real blame lies! Much of the blame lies here in this room. Much of the blame lies behind the pointing fingers of the accusers themselves. I wrote a poem just four nights ago that expresses my feelings best.

Your laws ignore our deepest needs,
Your words are empty air.
You’ve stripped away our heritage,
You’ve outlawed simple prayer.
Now gunshots fill our classrooms,
And precious children die.
You seek for answers everywhere,
And ask the question “Why?”
You regulate restrictive laws,
Through legislative creed.
And yet you fail to understand,
That God is what we need!

“Men and women are three-part beings. We all consist of body, mind, and spirit. When we refuse to acknowledge a third part of our make-up, we create a void that allows evil, prejudice, and hatred to rush in and wreak havoc. Spiritual presences were present within our educational  systems for most of our nation’s history. Many of our major colleges began as theological seminaries. This is a historical fact. What has happened to us as a nation? We have refused to honor God, and in so doing, we open the doors to hatred and violence. And when something as terrible as Columbine’s tragedy occurs -- politicians immediately look for a scapegoat such as the NRA. They immediately seek to pass more restrictive laws that contribute to erode away our personal and private liberties. We do not need more restrictive laws. Eric and Dylan would not have been stopped by metal detectors. No amount of gun laws can stop someone who spends months planning this type of massacre. The real villain lies within our own hearts.

“As my son Craig lay under that table in the school library and saw his two friends murdered before his very eyes, he did not hesitate to pray in school. I defy any law or politician to deny him that right! I challenge every young person in America , and around the world, to realize that on April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School prayer was brought back to our schools. Do not let the many prayers offered by those students be in vain. Dare to move into the new millennium with a sacred disregard for legislation that violates your God-given right to communicate with Him. To those of you who would point your finger at the NRA -- I give to you a sincere challenge. Dare to examine your
own heart before casting the first stone!

My daughter’s death will not be in vain! The young people of this country will not allow that to happen!”

The words spoken by Darrel Scott are a painful truth and unfortunately represent a road that we have let ourselves travel down as a society. During this fourth of July holiday, let us all remember that we're celebrating the Declaration of Independence. A document that founded a society around the belief of God Himself.

Believe me, dear Sir: there is not in the British empire a man who more cordially loves a union with Great Britain than I do. But, by the God that made me, I will cease to exist before I yield to a connection on such terms as the British Parliament propose; and in this, I think I speak the sentiments of America.

—Thomas Jefferson, November 29, 1775


  1. What a blessing that you are an instrument of peace and prose. I'm glad I read this blog this morning. Thank you.

  2. Thanks Brother Edwin. Good thoughts to carry with me today as the family celebrates our nation's birthday.

    Hope you and your family are well and happy today and always. Hope to make it back to visit again soon - been too long.


  3. I love Thomas Jefferson.

  4. This was a wonderful article. Sent it to several people. Also, the Aretha Franklin album, I have owned for many years.It is fabulous, especially her version of "You've Got a Friend".

  5. Freedom prospers when religion is vibrant and the rule of law under God is acknowledged. Ronald Reagan

    Great read Edwin...wondering when the silent majority(assuming there really is one) will wake up. Richard Dent