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How can we respond to violence?

Today Anders Brevik, the man who shot 69 people, mostly Norwegian teenagers was sentenced to 21 years. Before noon a shooting in New York has claimed 10 lives. How do we respond to such violence?

I woke up this morning to the news about Ander Brevik, the man who shot in cold blood, execution style 69 people, mostly Norwegian teenagers. He was sentenced to 21 years in prison. But even before noon, as I am writing this a shooting in New York in front of the Empire State building has claimed at least 10 lives. And God only knows how many lives were taken today by the regime in Syria or China, or Sudan. The 20th century is replete with examples of genocide committed by ordinary or banal people - hence the famous title by Hannah Arendt "Eichmann in Jerusalem - on the banality of evil."

How do we respond to such violence? How can humanity respond to a person who feels its within their power to take life? Many of the comments under the Anders Brevik verdict called not just for life in prison, but for the death penalty, some asking for him to be quartered or tortured before his execution. I am sure similar comments will follow in stories about the Colorado shootings, when its perpetrator goes on trail.

How can we as humans, or even more, Christians respond to this? Isn't turning the other cheek "wimpy"? Aren't we all a bit sickened by cheap calls for "mercy" and "forgiveness"? Isn't retribution really too much?Join us this Sunday at 10 AM at First Church in Marlborough, as we try to find the answers to that in Scripture. Rev. Kaz Bem will be preaching on the subject "Killing Enmity"

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