Tag Archives: jesus

Thoughts on the Theater Shooting

You won’t find any humor in this entry.  Seriously.  Stay tuned and I’ll try to be amusing in the next entry.  I was moved to write the following, so thanks for indulging me.

Since I was traveling for my work to Denver, specifically Aurora, I decided to visit the site of that horrible unexplainable event that happened on July 20th, 2012: the movie theater shooting.  I wasn’t going there to because I wanted to satisfy some morbid curiosity.  I was going because I had a feeling I knew what I would find there.  And I wasn’t disappointed to find an immense memorial setup by the family and friends of the victims, employees of the businesses surrounding the area, and complete strangers from all over the country.

When I arrived on the site I found the movie theater completely blocked off with police yellow tape.  The entire area remains closed off and there were at least four police cars patrolling the grounds in order to keep the scene free of those who might attempt to get inside the theater.  Across the street is where the memorial stands and continues to grow.  As I was reading the signs and notes, I took a count of the people that were mulling about just like me.  Even two and half weeks later there were at least thirty-five people there during the brief time I was visiting and they were all doing exactly what I was doing.  I was reading the handwritten notes, looking at the thousands of candles, looking at the faces of the victims in pictures and news articles, and saying prayers for those who were left behind to grieve as they try to pick up their lives and carry on.

Theater Shooting Memorial

There is no good rational reason that can be used to explain what happened in the mind of the shooter.  Was he crazy? Was he insane?  It kind of doesn’t matter—no explanation can undo what was done.  But what I saw when visiting the memorial was this:  One man caused a horrible event—and then thousands of people constructed a memorial in tribute to those who perished.  The memorial clearly shows a strong and shared belief in Jesus Christ.

There were permanent markers hanging from the large banners.  These markers were used to scribe the words written by a countless number of people.  Their words scribbled out phrases like “God Bless”, “Jesus Loves Everyone”, “Our prayers go out to…”, “You are remembered in my prayers”, and on and on.  I wrote on one of the banners “God Bless everyone” and signed it “Cincinnati”.  I saw similar writings from cities in Iowa, Florida, California—a showing of faith spanning coast to coast.  So I am certainly not claiming that there is any way to justify what happened on that night not so long ago, because there isn’t.  Nor can I even begin to understand why.  But what I did observed is how one lost misguided soul became the means for thousands of people to publicly and openly profess their love for their faith in Jesus Christ.

God is good.  God bless everyone.

The pictures from my cell phone don’t capture the love displayed

Jesus, That Was Awesome

So when Jesus spoke directly to me, I was like, “Huh.” Mainly because he blindsided me. You would think that I would have been a little bit more prepared.

Here’s the thing. I have never talked about faith, religion, or any of that stuff in recent times. So why put it into a blog? Simple. I can’t think of anything else to write currently so this is today’s topic: God Speaks. My blog will continue to be filled with amusing stories that I’ll continue to write, so keep following me. Up to this point, Jesus hasn’t been noted anywhere in my previous entries. But here is something I truly and honestly believe: Jesus laughs with me and probably at me sometimes. My God made me with the gift of wit, sarcasm, and humor.

So I thought I would take a stab at explaining why I believe in Jesus and attempt to keep you reading until the end of this entry. You still there? Hello?

Ok, good. Are you feeling awkward? I am a little. I mean, what if your friend leans in and sees you reading about Jesus? You’ll probably get ridiculed and tagged as a “bible banger”, “Jesus freak”, or “holy roller”. Although, I think when someone calls you a bible banger, you are permitted to thump the over the head with your bible. I think you can find that in Leviticus somewhere. I may have the interpretation a little askew, but it’s close.

Here is my religious history timeline. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Wait, too far back. I was born in 1970 and I grew up attending a Catholic church. Let’s quickly summarize the childhood years because they are exactly as you would expect. I was baptized as an infant. I remember getting the holy water in my eyes and pitching a screaming fit. Not really. I was an infant and have no memory of the event. I made my first communion soon thereafter–several years later, really. We decided to wait until I could walk on my own and was no longer pooping myself. Following that nothing worth noting occurred until I went to college.

During college I made next to no effort at all to attend church. Time passed and I got married. I don’t think you missed anything important there. There was about a seven or eight year gap where you can make up your own story. Just make sure you don’t make up anything too crazy because I was a typical normal average guy who stayed out of trouble.

Upon settling down with a wife and a house, we attended a Lutheran church. The wife and I, not the house. That would be weird to bring your house to church. “House of God, I would like you to meet House of Marcus.” They shake hands, or maybe shutters. Odd. The church kept me happy for a while. But something changed over the handful of years that I attended. To this day, I still don’t know why I stopped feeling comfortable. But I grew tired of attending after a while and stopped all together.

The next decade or so of my life included a long period of doubt. How can there be a God that cares about this messed up world? I became a non-believer simply based upon the notion that there is no one alive today that can possibly understand the after-life. No proof good enough for my scientific logical brain. So I floated through life in that fashion. Now mind you, I wasn’t a bad person. My wife told me on several occasions that I was the most Christian non-Christian person that she knew. I helped people whenever they asked and did what I could to make people smile whenever possible. So time passed and I carried on in my nice guy kind of way.

Then one day as we were living in our second home, my wife decided to attend a new non-denominational startup church. I basically wished her luck as she went by herself. My house and I stayed home this time. She attended for about a year or so by herself.

I’m not sure what made me decide to get up one Sunday to see what this new place was all about, but I did. Oh, I should also mention that the pastor of this church lived across the street from us. I know what you’re thinking: awkward. But I already knew him to be a good guy, so it wasn’t like that. I have no recall of what was being discussed during that particular Sunday, or even the handful of Sundays that followed, but something started to click with me. The pastor-neighbor-guy simply had a way of conveying God’s words to those people who chose to listen. I decided to listen.

I wish I could tell you how I went from being a non-believer to someone who wants to hear, learn, and grow from God’s teachings, but unfortunately I didn’t notice when it started happening, so I guess I have no good advice for those who are stuck. Sorry. Perhaps it was just lucky that I got to hang out with someone who knows about God and has a lawn that is colored the same shade of brown as mine.

Forward a couple of months. I’m attending this faith-based community church regularly, and praying alongside those attending. And for the record, my prayers are short and simple. I’m not knocking them, but there are those people who can pray out loud for whatever the topic for twenty minutes straight! And they sound smooth and eloquent the entire time. And they can incorporate quoted scripture on the fly. It’s beautiful. My prayers are almost always one-liners. For example, “Hey Awesome God, can you watch over my friend with cancer? Keep an eye on her family too. Thanks Jesus.” Too simple? At least it won’t fill up God’s voice mail.

One Sunday, while the pastor was sharing something interesting, I had this thought in my head, “Thank you God for bringing me to this place. I like being part of this.” Then out of nowhere, this guy that I did not recognize dressed in a white loose-fitting shirt comes up to me (in the middle of the service), shakes my hand, and says, “I’m glad you’re here.” And then without another word, he leaves the building. Really? So I sat there for a minute and then quietly to myself said, “Huh.”

A couple of Sundays later I saw the same guy sitting on the opposite side of the room. He was not dressed in white that day and as it turns out, he wasn’t God either. I never asked him why he decided to interrupt me that day while I was listening to the service, honestly, I’d rather not diminish my memory of how awesome that timing was.

In conclusion, I would have to point out that God hasn’t taken the direct approach with me like that since. And I still don’t have a great grasp on hearing him or interpreting his signs for me. But God spoke to me directly that day—and how cool is that?

One last thing.  I think it is OK to share this and you can continue to read my other blog entries too, even though they don’t mention Jesus.  I’m pretty sure Jesus reads them too–and laughs.

Jesus, says to buy my book! (not really, but how great of an endorsement would that be?)