Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Eschewing violence as redemptive

With due acknowledgement to Alex, who, on his blog, Vitus Speaks, alerted me to this new article over on Godspy by Dr. Susan Windley-Daoust, I, too, wish to draw attention to Anger Management: Looking Back on the Amish School Shooting. Toward the beginning of the article, Dr. Windley-Daoust paints the horrific picture of what happened slightly more than a year ago in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania in a tiny Amish schoolhouse:

"A grandfather crouching by slain Marian Fisher, 20 bullets in her body—one of two girls who pleaded with Roberts to 'shoot me first'—and telling the other children, 'You must not hate this man.'

"The Amish community—including the parents of those who had died—visiting the killer’s wife and child, offering forgiveness and financial help. Many later attended a memorial service for Roberts.

"An Amish woman interviewed by CNN, stating quietly but confidently, 'Oh no no no, definitely not, we’re not angry. We just don’t do that here.'"

I do not mind pointing out that Susan is a professor of theology, who is never to be mistaken for a liturgist, with whom I have had the privilege of studying. She is a professor and a person who has taught me a lot, both in the classroom and out by her unfailing kindness, patience, and encouragement. Among many things, she is the person who introduced me to Dr. Cynthia Crysdale's book Embracing Travail: Retrieving the Cross Today, some of my classmates might say the book was inflicted on them (bad theology student insider joke). It was this book, along with another book recommended by her as a corrective to my being too uncritical of certain aspects of Crysdale's theology of the Cross, Archbishop Rowan Williams' Resurrection: Interpreting the Easter Gospel, that formed the basis of my lecture delivered as part of our parish observance of the Feast of St. Mary Magadalene, our patroness. In Crysdale's lexicon, what Susan takes aim at in this article is something that is all too prevalent in current U.S. society- the myth of redemptive violence.


  1. Susan Windley-DaoustOctober 11, 2007 at 9:32 AM

    Thanks for the very kind words, Scott. Very cool that used *Resurrection* on the feast of St Mary Magdalene--that's my favorite section of the book.

    And the "not a liturgist" line made me laugh for two minutes straight. For others--I love liturgists. I just academically know next to nothing about liturgy...I just know what I like and where to stand. So when those questions came up in class: "...for the 567th time, I am NOT a liturgist...." etc.


  2. I thought you'd find that funny. You can blame Msgr. Clay for all the burning liturgy questions!

    Yes, Crysdale and Williams proved very timely.


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