Is there more hostility to authentic biblical Christianity than a few decades ago? Probably. But people are still people. They don’t want to be scared, and they don’t want to die. They need forgiveness, they need comfort, they need hope. They need Jesus.
It certainly wasn’t the first deadly shooting on one of our college campuses, but this one just happened to be the college campus I know best. On Monday night, while I was taking my nine-year-old to a Hornets game for his birthday, my phone erupted with texts from my friends in East Lansing. There was an active shooter on the campus of Michigan State University.
We’ve all seen these stories before. Maybe your school or child’s school has faced this grief already. It was a little over four years ago when a similar tragedy took place at UNC Charlotte, just 20 minutes from where I now live. On Monday it happened at MSU—three dead, five seriously wounded, and a whole community in mourning.
Before moving to Charlotte, I pastored in East Lansing for 13 years. If you’ve never lived in a small city with a major university, you may not be able to fathom how virtually everyone and everything can be connected to a single school. I didn’t go to Michigan State, but it was hard to pastor University Reformed Church without bleeding green and white. I could hear Spartan Stadium from my home and see the blimp overhead for big games. So as I followed the news on Monday night, into Tuesday morning, I knew all the buildings and all the streets. I heard from friends with children locked in the basement of the library, from friends who opened their home for college students to sleep on the floor so they could get off campus, from friends with relatives who were running across campus in the dark because the police told them the shooter could be nearing their location.