I have the best of intentions for this blog, and often write amazing long-winded eloquent posts in my head while feeding the baby, or while trying to fall asleep at night.Â Of course, since I’m never sitting at the computer during those times, you’ll have to take my word about the “amazing” and “eloquent”.Â Lately when I do sit here to write, the scrapbookin’ obsession takes over, and I use that as an easy out for posting.Â Of course I want to share the layouts and my hobby, but it seems this blog has turned into not much more than a showcase lately.Â I’m mostly ok with that, but would prefer to write more posts of substance, at least occasionally.
So, a departure… a bit of substance, if I can muster it.
This has been a week full of sadness, discussion, anger, more discussion, and more sadness.Â And lots of prayer.Â Why?Â Well, it’s somewhatÂ difficult to explain, because we don’t fully understand our emotions about it all,Â but Allan and IÂ have been heavily affected by the killing of a minister that we don’t even know from Selmer, TN.Â Matthew Winkler was found shot in the back, and a day or so later his wife Mary allegedly confessed to killing him.Â Their three daughters are now in the custody of Matthew’s parents, and Mary is in jail, looking at first-degree murder charges. This is a tragic story from many angles, but why does it affect us so much?Â Again, we didn’t know them… but yet… we feel like we could have.Â We are members of the Church of Christ.Â Matthew was a minister for a Church of Christ in Tennessee.Â
It probably seems silly to folks not affiliated with our churches, but there is a deep kinship that exists among members of the Churches of Christ, whether you know one another or not.Â And there also exists a kind of “six degrees of separation” within the church family, even though our churches are considered autonomous and individual.Â More often that not, if we are travelling or visiting a congregation other than our home church, we find someone we know.. or meet someone who knows someone we know.Â I don’t think this kind of thing exists as muchÂ in the larger denominations, at least not to the extent it does in the Churches of Christ.Â Some would argue,Â probably quiteÂ fairly, that this exists because we have a tendency towards being “exclusive”.Â That’s a possible reason, but I prefer to focus on the positives (with the hope and prayer that we are continually evaluating our exclusive tendencies, and becoming more inclusive in the ways Jesus would want us to be). We don’t have a denominational “head” somewhere, but we have deep kinship all the same.Â That’s a pretty amazing quality, and for all my frustrations (a post or two for another day), I am proud to be a part of this family.Â
And I have to say this – we believe, (as most other cofc’ers do) that we are notÂ theÂ ONLY Christians.Â Our fellowship has been blasted by certain “media personalities” this week, and it’s been a source of frustration, sadness, anger, and resignation.Â I’ve read some quality posts and comments on various blogs and sites, and I hope this attack will be a wake-up call.Â To paraphrase a post I read, we aren’t doing a very good job representing, if mainstream America doesn’t know who we are or what and who we stand for.Â There is a lot we could be doing better, as individual churches and as a community as a whole.Â
On a more positive note,Â I am so proud of the way the church family in Selmer is handling this horrible tragedy.Â With every news article we read we have felt comforted by the loving reactions and caring, thoughtful, wise comments made.Â I can’t even begin to imagine the depth of emotion running through that little town and through that congregation, but they are being Christ to the world right now in this situation.Â I pray that they can continue doing just that through the coming months as this drags on.
There is much more to say, but my brain is jumbled.Â Perhaps another day…
May God bless Mary Winkler,Â MatthewÂ Winkler’s family, their children, the church family, and everyone affected by this.Â