aint the way it’s supposed to be – engaging the virginia tech tragedy

remembering vtech april 16i woke up this morning feeling off. i peeked outside my bedroom window. great, snow in april. flooding on the news.
and the biggest mass shooting not just school shooting in US history. what a day! something is terribly wrong here.

it is interesting that because the shootings had happened on a major college campus information and stories were quickly widespread over cell phones, instant messaging, the blogosphere and social networking sites. much of it in realtime. waiting and looking for news from friends there on the net. for now, i’m fixated on this massacre at vtech through the eyes of a former youth group student of mine who i had just reconnected with last week. how divine. he was in the reported classroom that barricaded the door with their bodies.

here’s his story.

It’s really sad how sometimes we take everything that we have for granted, until the day you’re laying there and realizing that all that means absolutely nothing. Nothing is ever for granted and you don’t know if you’re going to make it through tomorrow.When the “popping” started, it was unreal…it sounded more like construction banging rather than gunshots. I thank God that my classmates and I had the courage and boldness to do what we did this morning. My TA and a fellow student went out into the hallway to see what was going on and immediately rushed back and shut the door. A student ran and sat against the door to try and act as a barrier. The “popping” continues and we eventually realize that sooner or later…this…guy is going to try and come into our room. We ran up and stuck a table in front of a door as well as one of the student desks. Four students layed on the ground holding our makeshift barracade against the door. Gunshots keep ringing up and down the hallways. At one point, he tries to shoulder his way into our room and when he found out that he couldn’t, he put two bullets through the door and proceded on. It sounded like forever until the police finally came to clear the scene.

I thank God for the courage that we had and the intellect to know what to do in a situation like this. We were SO blessed this morning and we did everything right. If we had missed one step…my classroom would have just added to the casualty count. God was definately watching over us today.

You see situations like this on TV and you always think “that’s never going to happen to me” and you keep saying it…..until the day it actually happens. Laying there on the ground, I had a good time to think about my life and what I’ve done and I realized that I have not lived life to its full potential yet. God has blessed me with so much and most times, I take it all for granted. You hear about the witness stories of people who were shot and lived through it and you see the eye witness accounts…but despite all that, I am just glad that I and ten other of my classmates, are safe.

I’m just asking, as somebody who had to go through this, to start putting things into perspective. Sometimes we, as the younger generation, think we’re invincible, but we’re really not…we are really fragile…and we don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow or the day after.

Please continue to pray for the students who were affected and their families as they try to move past this tragedy. Pray that God will use this dark time for His light to shine through to people. I’m doing alright and I’m one of the lucky ones…I didn’t have to deal with seeing anybody killed or anybody shot. Continue to pray and keep praying and keep praying.

i’m still processing all these events in my tired little brain while wrestling through the complexities of being an american born chinese pastor in my particular context. there’s still more information to come as we don’t know much else besides the rampage. the details are still sparse. some witnesses [nytimes] had reported that the gunman appeared to be a young asian male wearing a black vest.

“He was just a normal looking kid, Asian, but he had on a Boy Scout type outfit,” one student in the class, Erin Sheehan, told the newspaper. “He wore a tan button-up vest and this black vest — maybe it was for ammo or something.”

as of 9:34am, tuesday morning.
the vtech president confirms that the shooter was an asian male living in their dorms.

as of 10:00am, the shooter is identified

The 23-year-old South Korean and resident alien lived at the university’s Harper Hall, Flinchum said. He was an English major, the chief said

now race shouldn’t matter but this could potentially really shake up our asian american community more than we realize and will require a real thoughtful response from AA spiritual leaders and many leaders overall. it will shape our pulpits this week. many will ask of course, why? tim keller’s 9/11 memorial message answers that question ever so eloquently (thanks dj for the link).


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[american born chinese pastor]
seeks to be that third place for those who are american born chinese [abc] in ministry.
here we may explore issues unique to the chinese church and doing ministry in that context
expand the intersection of asian american culture and christian faith
or simply expose what goes on in the mind of this abcpastor

this may be a bit ambitious or even naiive but i do hope that through the posts we can bring together different faith communities, passions for the advancement of the Gospel and the equipping of the body of Christ.

if you are an abc pastor or have any suggestions or would like to contribute to make this space evolve, just comment.

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