Some trauma is disturbing enough to become etched in our life as the marker between life before, compared to life after “it”.
A significant incident in a church is painful enough to do that. We don’t expect to see blood, hear gunshots, smell smoke or feel the concussion of explosion in a house of worship. Our church is our sanctuary. When evil invades it, that day marks the separation of life before and life after for those who were there.
The entire town of Daingerfield Texas changed on Sunday morning June 22nd, 1980, when a man invaded the sanctuary of the First Baptist Church. That sanctuary was shattered when he yelled “This is War!” and began shooting into the congregation. He was armed with an AR-15, an M1 carbine (both with fixed bayonets), two handguns and plenty of ammo in a bag he carried around his shoulders. Before being stopped by men who carry the scars today (or are counted among those killed), he killed 5 people ranging in ages from 7-year-old Gina Linam up to 78-year-old Thelma Richardson. His surprise attack left Daingerfield residents asking not only why — but how.
An 80-minute documentary is available regarding that incident. I was a consultant on the documentary which will bring you face to face with the reality of evil, but more importantly will renew your faith by understanding the significance of redemption and forgiveness. I encourage you to review it with your team at https://heartstonenetwork.com/title/faith-under-fire
Think About It…
Watch the documentary as a group activity with your team. The lessons learned go beyond the smoke and blood, telling of more than 40 years of after-action relationships.
The perspectives we take away from such an event can change our lives and others. Will we let tragedy destroy us or make us better? The choice really is ours. As David Works (father of two innocent girls killed at our church) asks, “When tragedy strikes, will you be left standing”?
A criminal never thinks his act clear through. If he did, he wouldn’t do it. As responsible defenders, we must think things all the way through. No matter what happens, there will be an “after”.
When “it” happens to you, get through it, not over it.