Naming the terror

The human heart and the Spirit of God

Our response to human horror and tragedy moves inexorably outward as if through concentric circles, beginning in the gut and the heart, moving to the head, and finally taking shape in the form of shared social responses. Planes exploding into buildings, bodies falling from the top floors, people running and screaming before an avalanche of debris, dust and smoke: There is first a symbiosis of suspended belief and identifying empathy, a “this isn’t happening” reaction combined with a sense of the terror and chaos experienced by the victims, an unreflective knowledge that this could be me, it could be you. Onlookers turning away, covering their eyes: That’s the gut response of tears and churning nausea, of too much to bear.

 

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