Hi y’all. Sorry it’s been a quiet week. My heart’s been a little heavy and distracted; some personal stuff going on, but I’m moving forward now and looking up. Plus when I got on my computer Thursday to write a belated Once Upon a Time post, I saw some really tragic news on Facebook. I just didn’t have it in me to write a blog post. It’s been weighing on my heart every since.
Some of my dearest college friends, John and Mary, literally sold or put into storage nearly all their belongings two years ago. They left jobs and families to move to Kurdistan, a region in Northern Iraq. The reason? To teach at the Classical School of the Medes, a Christian school begun in January 2001 with now 3 locations. This is their second year teaching, with a brief furlough home over the holidays for the birth of their first child. It has been such a joy and privilege to pray for them and watch their journey of faith.
On Thursday, one of CSM’s teachers, Jeremiah Small, was shot and killed by one of his students. My friends have directed all of us to this article as being decently balanced. Although John and Mary teach at another location in a different city, Jeremiah was their friend and colleague. They, as well as the whole CSM organization, are reeling with this tragedy. As I understand, CSM has never seen a violent incident like this. The three schools are beloved and respected in region and the community is grieving.
This article written by the highschool seniors at CSM is very important to read, as is this tribute by another student. I worry, and I am sure the school’s community and organization do even more, that many Westerners will assume in reactionary ignorance that this is just another reason to think “all Muslims are terrorists”. HOW WRONG THAT ASSUMPTION IS! The details and motivations of the attack are still being sorted out. But even on the big, unlikely if that this incident was fueled by religious motivations, this student’s are no more representative of his entire religion than are the actions of a Christian abortion clinic bomber. Or are we making sweeping statements about the culture and heritage of the student who shot and killed his peers at Chardon High School in Ohio recently? If you want a picture of the Kurdish community, read the beautiful tributes by Jeremiah’s students.
Instead of ignorant, irrational judgment, let us react in compassion and sympathy. This was a beloved teacher, friend, colleague, brother, and son. We need to be surrounding his school, students, community, friends, and family with prayer. John and Mary sent their supporters a link to a memorial fund if you care to give. It will help pay for his family to fly to Iraq, his memorial service, etc.
Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints. – Psalm 116:15