Biblically Informed School Shooting Reaction

Apparently one mom who spoke to the news has said, “We praise God in all situations, good and bad.”

I get it. Believe me, I get it. Many evangelicals are told to use these moments to point people to God, to tell people about Jesus.

And then there is the whole worry, “I said something publicly—will I have sounded churchy enough??” that many Christians live with.

We also can’t deny the idea that many folks are genuinely dumbstruck when evil hits close to home—especially when all along they thought they were supernaturally protected, either.

And let us not forget that communication is hard. Some big hearts and repentant worms are genuinely befuddled when the microphone comes their way. So this mother of apparently healthy kids (just talking to investigators still) rattles off something as stupid and trite sounding as, “We praise God in all situations, good and bad.”

Finally, this is a news story, a story meant to provoke and add hype—no matter the situation. It has obviously worked on me because here I am typing away. So I concede it is possible this mom is a terrible sample of modern Christian reaction to school shootings.

However, she is actually right in line with what I have all be hearing and reading after mass shootings for the last several years even from folks I know. So I think we can count her reaction as typical.

Here’s the thing. It isn’t honest.

Pop! Pop! Pop pop pop!! Blood. Screams.

“We praise God in all situations, good and bad.”

Speak from the heart, people! Pray!!

David, in recorded scripture that you all cherish soooo much, said, “Look and answer me, O Yahweh my God; Give light to my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death…”

Now we can debate whether suicide is the threat (“Answer or I do it!”), or just plainly stating that the enemy is about to kill him (You gonna do something here?), but the point remains, David had no issue speaking from the heart.

That was Psalm 13. Psalm 94 has, “O Yahweh, God of vengeance, God of vengeance, shine forth!”

Or “Kill ‘em all!” as Metallica might phrase it.

I don’t mind sharing here that my “prayer” since Sandy Hook got my attention has pretty much been—with surprising consistency—“My god! Where is it safe for my kids?”

In 2012, I didn’t know “my god” by name. After conversion to Christianity, I now specifically call to mind the god of the Bible, whether Yahweh/Jesus as the antecedent to “my god”. But in every case, the sequence is 1. School shooting. 2. “My god! Where is it safe for my kids?”

And that’s enough. Enough for me. And enough for Him.

Praising God for a school shooting? Gimme a break. No one believes that shit.


    • Pete Deakon

      Good question.

      Rereading what I wrote, I think I had “all traits that a Christian from any other time period couldn’t possibly possess” in mind when I chose “modern”. By way of example, I have always enjoyed the Sacred Harp hymns. One asks the question, “Am I Born to Die?”, this just strikes me as something honest. “Modern” hymns rarely touch that sentiment.

      It wasn’t this mom’s child/children. (They were still in with the investigators.)

      Thanks for replying.



        • Pete Deakon

          Was a member of Zion Baptist Church in Denver for several years. Went to one men’s retreat where I believe I witnessed something that has actually since died when some of the men sang spirituals. I agree that older spirituals match perfectly the Sacred Harp honesty. But even the newer stuff of that genre is lacking. (I’m not saying that I’m making a new claim. Most people agree that something is missing in new church music.)

          My wife told me my response recorded here in this post is the “dad’s” reaction and she is more understanding of the one I’m criticizing. I argue with her too. Ha. (And my own mom. I’m very particular about these things. We need to do better.)


          • J lomax

            I’m afraid you lost me on this blog. 😆 I don’t understand your issue with her response. I may try to look for the interview. I get your old school and that’s ok. I feel you have cross the line about the mother. It’s all good though. It’s your opinion.
            As far as music goes both times have much to offer. Take care

            Liked by 1 person

            • Pete Deakon

              Issue: “God of the Bible nowhere indicates that He wants praise after wicked events.” This mom and the sentiment she said, upon reflection, did not lament biblically. I want her (us) to study better and do better.


  1. Withstand the Noise

    While I understand the sentiment and the frustration I can’t say that this persons’ reaction wasn’t sincere. It’s unfortunate though that it ends up on the news because that’s what unbelievers walk away with. It’s confusing. These situations are always sad, and this hits home for me because it was a Christian school. We know that Jesus is the answer, but how then shall we answer?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pete Deakon

      My declaring that this person’s reaction wasn’t sincere is not only an accurate assessment, but necessary. I’ll prove it to you.

      Because I wrote this little blog, you related, “…because it’s a Christian school.”

      Does any part of scripture ever suggest Christians or Christian institutions, or the People of God in general (Jews/Christians throughout scripture) are on this planet with any special protection? No, no it does not. Never.

      Is this “no special protection even though we’re on the winning team” a problem? Nope. It’s good theology. (Literate theology.)

      So some lady offers a BS/superficial response, I truthfully call it out. Now you truthfully respond. Let’s keep the truth coming.

      Do you actually believe we should praise god that murder occurred? No, no you don’t. So just say it. “God, I love ya, but I’m not in the mood for praising you right now. Not when these kids are getting killed. Not when these freaks are killing kids. I’m confused. I thought a Christian school would be safe. Why won’t you protect even a Christian school? You have my attention Lord. Answer!”


      • Withstand the Noise

        I never claimed there was any special protection, just that I related. I have to say that it’s easy to condemn this lady, but it still seems possible that she was sincere. No one knows the right thing to say. That said, maybe it wasn’t the best thing to say. Still you haven’t offered proof of what was in her heart, you asserted your opinions.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Pete Deakon

          I know the right thing to say. So do you. “The truth.” Just say the truth. (Not you, you did say the truth.) The newsworthy mom repeating the superficial and ultimately untrue (or wildly uninformed) platitudes needs to avoid the topic if she isn’t ready to say the truth.

          Liked by 1 person

            • Pete Deakon

              So this lady is quoted as saying, “We’re waiting to be reunited with our kids,’ Grippo told ‘This is just hard to understand or put into words. Let me try it like this. “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked I shall return there. Yahweh gave, and Yahweh has taken away. Blessed be the name of Yahweh.”’”

              Wrong. She didn’t say what Job said. Job actually made an argument by analogy—used his human brain—to explain why he wouldn’t curse God.

              This lady—somehow garnering defenders—was an automaton. No reasoning. Just meaningless non-truth. If I was a parent who wasn’t picking up my kid that day, and I saw this statement, there’s no way I don’t challenge it to her face. “You’re praising god?”

              Game over.

              Again, my unsolicited advice is, “If you didn’t lose your child, if you can’t tell the truth in a profound way, don’t talk.” Whatever happened to “no comment”? No, sorry. This lady was wrong for talking, wrong for saying what she said, and taken together, she was not sincere and would be wrong to maintain the posture with sincerity.

              Not sure why the defense of this woman’s tone-deaf quote is blinding you to obvious distinctions between speaking from the heart and speaking from the superficial. Christianity and its adherents are the only people that can stand up to any and all criticism. All I’ve done is call out her bs and asked her to do better. People are dead and they deserve better.


              • Withstand the Noise

                “Though He slay me, I will trust in Him”.

                It’s interesting, I’m often accused of condemning people because I believe in the whole word of God, but the focus here is on this lady instead of the tragedy. I like to think that she’s doing the best she can, but you want to go after her. Okay, that’s fair game, but what victory is there to be gained from it?

                How does it improve the circumstances?

                I have a child, I would hope that if she were taken from me that I would remain loyal to God instead of cursing Him.

                Liked by 1 person

                • Pete Deakon

                  For me, what’s interesting is that neither this lady, you, nor I, lost a child. Yet I keep reading that you think I’m criticizing someone who lost their child. She didn’t lose a child. She picked her kid up from school and couldn’t resist her fifteen minutes of fame.

                  Like you never said there is no special protection, I have never suggested cursing god. I have suggested repeatedly to tell the truth. Pray the truth. (Or keep quiet.)

                  Christians aren’t protected from saying stupid things. This lady said something stupid. It’s not the end of the world; it’s just stupid.

                  What victory is there to be gained from “going after her”? For one, it’s put you and I on a little journey into scripture. Two, I enjoy thinking about these things, IE, what kind of god wants to be praised after murder? Do I believe in that? Does scripture suggest that? (In order, “not the god of the Bible, no I don’t, and not in any way.)

                  How does [going after her] improve the circumstances? Well, school shootings aren’t going away. That you relate more to this one because it was a Christian school has highlighted that you’ve been living under an illusion.

                  Since Columbine (and earlier if you do light research), we have known that schools are not guaranteed to be safe. Why did we think they were to begin with? Was that delusional of us?

                  All these questions and more are now on the table because of “going after her”.

                  Does any of this help make my intentions clear? (Not asking if you agree with me. Just curious if we’re nearing understanding each other.)


                  • Withstand the Noise

                    This is all assumptions and opinions. Why is it assumed that I believe Christians are afforded special protection? Because I am particularly saddened? That makes no logical sense. I’m saddened because I particularly relate to the Presbyterian Christian parents because they’re a lot like me. I relate them far more than the average Joe because we share a common bond.

                    I also don’t make any assumptions about this woman’s heart, because I don’t know it. I do know that many Christians do say to praise God even in tragedy, and it is possible that she sincerely believed that she was following that teaching.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • Pete Deakon

                      The lady I quoted did not experience a tragedy. She got a call, went to school, and picked her kids up.

                      Of course it’s all assumptions and opinions. Doesn’t mean I’m wrong.

                      I didn’t say you believe Christians are special—I tried to acknowledge that I misspoke when I alluded to that idea earlier.

                      You’re right: it is possible that she was sincere.

                      I do not believe you have anything to gain by using your particular doctrinal beliefs to make this tragedy more real for you.

                      The big rub between our to perspectives is I am willing to make an assumption and you are not. Good for you. I am happy too.


                    • Withstand the Noise

                      It’s not that I have something to gain. It’s a natural to relate to someone who has a similar background especially in the face of tragedy and hate. But I think we’ve both made our sides clear.

                      I appreciate this conversation and hope we chat again sometime soon

                      Liked by 1 person

  2. ✿ Lovely Panda Mom ✿

    In my opinion, I don’t think parents should be interviewed immediately after such a horrible event. Time is needed to process those raw emotions. If it were to happen to me personally, I know I would be too emotional to speak rationally so soon after all the horror. Heck, it didn’t happen to me and I was too emotional to speak rationally or gracefully! Your blog post was very candid and direct, and that’s a breath of fresh air.

    Liked by 1 person

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