Interview with

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Audio Transcript

Today is May 17th and over at, a new poem of yours was published, Pastor John. It's a serious poem titled "Grace Forfeited: Adam, Tamerlan, and the Lady." It's a poem about justice in regard to the school shooting in Newtown and the death of the first suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing. Explain the background of this poem for us and the biblical categories you explore in it.

Last December 14, Adam Lanza shot and killed 22 six-year old and eight-year-old children, and then he shot himself and that was that. Tamerlan Tsarnaev bombed the marathon with his brother, he killed three people, ripped the legs off a dozen others whose lives are forever changed, and then he was killed in a rain of bullets and some head trauma by the police and that was that. I mean there goes Tamerlan.

Lady Justice To The Dead

Here's the question I've been asking. Has justice been done because they're dead? Can you hatefully, wantonly slaughter people created in the image of God and then get away with it through suicide? A millisecond, a millisecond of pain. Can you thumb your nose at the punishment of the state or at God and end it your own way? This is one of the characters in the poem. Can you rob Lady Justice of her perfect rectitude?

The poem answers no, you cannot. This world is not one long injustice ending in nothingness. Lady Justice, if you see the picture of her with her scales, she's always blindfolded and that's to show impartiality, but one of the paradoxes in the poem is though blindfolded, none of her people that she has assigned justice to ever escapes her final decrees. That last pop of the gun to your own head is heard on the other side of hope like a slamming door and the guilty who have spurned the grace of God all their lives suddenly realize, "I am not dead." There she stands with perfect recompense in her hand. So that was my effort to try to capture and wrestle with whether suicide really can be viewed as a just end for a killer of 22 children.

Thank you, Pastor John. The text of the new poem, Grace Forfeited: Adam, Tamerlan, and the Lady, was posted at today along with the audio of Pastor John reading the poem recently in the DG studio. I'll add that reading to the end of this Ask Pastor John episode. Thanks for listening.