Friday, March 13, 2009

The Job No One Wants

I've been sort of quiet this week about the shooting at First Baptist Maryville, IL that occurred last Sunday. I'm sad every time I hear about a shooting that reminds me of what happened at Wedgwood Baptist 10 years ago. It's been ten years, you know? Honestly, there are times when I think, "now we can just move we can finally be done with it all." But the minute I heard about what happened to Fred Winters last week, I immediately knew that my dad would be in the spotlight. And that troubles me - only because it seems depressing at times that he is sort of the go-to guy for shootings. I honestly don't like that my dad is known for being the pastor of the church where one of the first large-scale shootings occurred, for several reasons: it cost us quite a few precious lives to gain that kind of notoriety. Also, it somehow seems to taint his ministry - to make his shepherding be about trauma & crisis instead of the longstanding passion and commitment that it has been. This kind of recognition is weird - I feel uncomfortable when folks say, "Wedgwood? Al Meredith? How do I know that name?" People are unnaturally drawn to tragedy - and I include myself here - like each one of us rubbernecks as we drive past an accident.

If September 15, 1999 had never happened, Dad would still believe that God is present, near, and faithful in tragedy. Were you to know him like I do, you would know that he came to believe this not due to the shooting, but due to his own personal pain. He would tell you that he isn't a good counselor, that he often lacks in mercy and compassion. But he loves to preach the Truth. And he is just messy enough as a person to be approachable as a pastor.

So, I am really grieving for the family of Fred Winters, and for his "flock." There is an imperfect fellow headed their way this weekend. I know he never wanted this job of being the expert on church shootings...but then again, that's the thing about signing up with God.

If you've stopped by here, say a prayer for them all.


Rachael said...

I thought of this as soon as I learned via your Mom's FB that your Dad was preaching there this Sunday. I am praying for him. I will never forget being in my first apartment with Michael and seeing aerial views of the church and realizing it was wedgewood. I started frantically dialing your phone then and pestering whatever roomates you had at the time. I can't eplain the immense relief I felt once I knew you and your family were not there that night (as bad as that may sound). All I know is that God has placed an incredible mantle on your father and he hs a great anointing to minister, especially in this area, You Meredith's are precious to me ... and I will be praying for your dad this Sunday.