Today's Top Five

1. Amish again in spotlight after school shooting
After Monday's murder of five students at a one-room Amish schoolhouse in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, media outlets are full of articles about how different the Amish are. The op-ed pages, meanwhile, are full of comments about much this shooting makes the Amish just like the rest of us. ("The Amish 9/11" is a phrase we're starting to see, but this also ties into the other two fatal school shootings this week.) It's good to see so many articles on Amish belief and culture that truly try to understand what happens in a religious community and why. Of course, in this situation, "why" answers are often hard to come by. Take the shooter, Charles Roberts, for example. Reports say he was tormented by his molestation of two young relatives two decades ago (when he was about 12). And his suicide note suggests that he was also tormented by the death, nine years ago, of a daughter who lived for only 20 minutes.

"It changed my life forever," he wrote. "I haven't been the same since it affected me in a way I never felt possible. I am filled with so much hate, hate toward myself hate, towards God, and unimaginable emptiness. It seems like everytime we do something fun, I think about how Elise wasn't here to share it with us, and I go right back to anger."

"He was angry at life and angry at God," Pennsylvania state police commissioner Jeffrey Miller told reporters in a widely quoted comment.

"The man who did this today is not the Charlie that I've been married to for almost 10 years," said Marie Roberts, whom the Philadelphia Inquirer says is "involved in Christian groups," in a written statement. "He was an exceptional father. … Please pray, especially for the families ...

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Launched in 1999, Christianity Today’s Weblog was not just one of the first religion-oriented weblogs, but one of the first published by a media organization. (Hence its rather bland title.) Mostly compiled by then-online editor Ted Olsen, Weblog rounded up religion news and opinion pieces from publications around the world. As Christianity Today’s website grew, it launched other blogs. Olsen took on management responsibilities, and the Weblog feature as such was mothballed. But CT’s efforts to round up important news and opinion from around the web continues, especially on our Gleanings feature.
Ted Olsen
Ted Olsen is Christianity Today's executive editor. He wrote the magazine's Weblog—a collection of news and opinion articles from mainstream news sources around the world—from 1999 to 2006. In 2004, the magazine launched Weblog in Print, which looks for unexpected connections and trends in articles appearing in the mainstream press. The column was later renamed "Tidings" and ran until 2007.
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