And what of James Holmes, the shooter? Together with us, he is a member of the shattered creation and the broken human community. Was his part of the sphere even more utterly shattered somehow from his birth… broken genes bearing sharper edges we now can see? Were there things that happened to him in his life growing up or in recent months that shattered him as never before? He had a mother and a father. Was he a beautiful sphere on whom they gazed with delight before this day? There was beauty in him: colors of the first creation. A merit scholarship out of high school, honors on graduating from college. I see the hues of a capable, creative mind. Even in its shattered fragments, capable of careful planning for his attack and booby-trapping his apartment.
Can anything good or beautiful ever be built out of the fragments of his life? Perhaps. John Newton shattered a host of lives working in the slave trade, yet even so, God managed to build out of this man the author of the hymn Amazing Grace. Is this also possible for Holmes? I confess, I believe it is possible, and I confess, I don’t believe it will happen. Perhaps that’s part of my brokenness. But I do believe that his jail cell is another place where God is present, bleeding, weeping, and now at work picking up the pieces. I’m sad for both of them. I think they will be there for a long, long time to come.