Guest / Limited Access /

We're compelled to figure out why Matthew Murray shot and killed five Christians in two separate shootings this past Sunday. Bloggers and pundits have already begun exploring his Christian homeschool upbringing and the zealous nature of Youth With a Mission, a group he was involved with in 2002 — implying that extreme religiosity was a contributing factor. (All that rigid legalism and judgmentalism — no wonder he got mad!)

Others are satisfied that the explanation goes no further than mental instability — that Murray was clearly and simply deranged.

(An exploration of this issue might bring us to an assault on high-powered weapons, which this writer hopes will be successful. I'm no anti-gun crusader; as unchristian as it may sound, I was glad that Jeanne Assam, the New Life volunteer security guard, owned a handgun and used it to take Murray down. Still, I can't imagine why our country allows private citizens to own weapons whose primary purpose is not the defense of human life, but the taking of many lives as efficiently as possible.)

At any rate, while we ponder the families, schools, volunteer organizations, and other institutions that shape individuals to do what they do, we should also think about the larger social structure in which these institutions exist. While we wish to unlock the key to the mystery of Matthew Murray (and we should never deny his own responsibility for his actions) we should also try to understand the system — the principalities and powers, as the apostle Paul calls them — that helped create an order that made it relatively easy for Murray to commit murder. We should think, then, about advanced democratic capitalism.

By that I mean the order that most of us believe has been ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

SoulWork
In "SoulWork," Mark Galli brings news, Christian theology, and spiritual direction together to explore what it means to be formed spiritually in the image of Jesus Christ.
Mark Galli
Mark Galli is Editor of Christianity Today in Carol Stream, Illinois.
Previous SoulWork Columns:
Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current Issue
Subscriber Access Only
Should Your Favorite Ministry Become a ‘Church’?
Why more parachurch groups are telling the US government they’re not like other nonprofits.
RecommendedGlobal Evangelical Leaders: Trump’s Win Will Harm the Church’s Witness
Global Evangelical Leaders: Trump’s Win Will Harm the Church’s Witness
Conference call explores election consequences on evangelicals overseas.
TrendingWhy Do We Have Christmas Trees?
Why Do We Have Christmas Trees?
The history behind evergreens, ornaments, and holiday gift giving.
Editor's PickThe Bible Never Says ‘All Men Are Created Equal’
The Bible Never Says ‘All Men Are Created Equal’
How the New Testament offers a better, higher calling than the Declaration of Independence.
Christianity Today
Soul Searching After Mass Murder
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

December 2007

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.