Larger viewI’ve really struggled with what to write about the triple homicide that occurred last week.  I knew that I wanted to  write something about it, but it seems silly to just write the cold facts or to pull all the news articles together in a list.  The other night at church it became a little more clear.

David’s message was about peace, reconciliation, and community from Ephesians 2:11-22.  The middle of the passage verses 14-18 really fit well with the week’s events.

For he [Jesus] himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

Brief Rundown

On Wednesday night one or two men entered Seward Market & Halal Meats (a Somali owned business approximately 2 miles from our house and a few blocks from our church) with the intention of killing at least the man behind the counter.  Unfortunately, his cousin had stopped by to chat and bring him tea.  Before it was over 3 men had been shot and killed in the peaceful store.  The Somali employee (owner?), his cousin, and an Oromo shopper were all killed for no clear reason.

Seward is a fairly peaceful community with about every possible type of diversity.  A large East African population melded with a Scandinavian population with everyone else thrown together.  Much has been done to keep the neighborhood safe and prosperous.  By all accounts the Seward Market was a stable small business with an engaged owner and peaceful employees.

On Thursday night a candlelight vigil was held on the corner of the street and many (some estimate up to 300) people stopped by, standing against violence.  This was by far one of the largest gatherings I’ve attended or even heard about where Somali community members and non-Somali neighbors gathered and mingled together.  It was a time to honor the dead, build peace, and community.

The investigation continues and a memorial fund has been setup for the victims families (details).

My Thoughts

Murder is never good.  It is what we do with the murder than can change lives and hopefully prevent future murders. In the past year or so, there has been an increase in violence within the Somali community and while no one has officially said so, it is rumored to be almost all along traditional clan lines.  Most people will say that many of those clan barriers have been broken down, but it isn’t always lived out in day to day life.  Mosques and Somali markets are still segregated along clan lines and there are credible rumors that this recent murder occurred at least in part as a reaction to violence that recently occurred in Somalia.

There is nothing more beautiful than seeing a diverse community come together to celebrate Peace, Shalom, Nabad, or Selam.  It was goose-bumpy feeling to have people chanting for peace, in their own languages and then together in Somali, while standing at the scene of a crime.   But true peace is hard.  For peace to occur there has to be a surrender of some sort and that is never easy.  We are called to by peace makers and lovers of our neighbors.

I believe that true peace can only come through a relationship with Jesus Christ. Philippians 4:7 says: “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”   We can pray for peace in our community and we can take action for peace (including sharing Christ’s love). But we must also not forget the words of Martin Luther King Jr.:

Without justice, there can be no peace. He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it.

One way to fight for peace is to fight for justice.  We need to fight to make sure that our East African neighbors feel at home in our neighborhoods.  We need to help them learn English, we need to build bridges so we can understand their culture and they ours.  We need to provide opportunities for their children to recieve a high quality education. We need to make sure their children have safe places to play and learn.  We need to help them find gainful employment.  We need to support their small  businesses.  We need to humble our arrogant selves.  We need to befriend all of our neighbors.

This will bring about justice and peace.

By now, the Twin Cities should realize that we won’t have peace on our streets until there is peace in Somalia (and other places where our refugees come from). It is becoming increasingly clearer that to some degree that even though Somalia and the Twin Cities are thousands of miles apart, they are tightly connected.  For peace and justice on our streets there needs to be peace and justice on the streets of Mogadishu, Hargase, and all of Somalia.

I leave you with these three news articles:

This Star-Tribune article features an interview with a man from our church.

MPR does a great job of reporting, including some subtle mentions of issues in Somalia.

The MinnPost does a “Daily Glean” of news sources on major topics from the day.  Their glean from Thursday includes a Tweet and Twitpic from me at the vigil. Plus, they have the best headline: “A triple homicide becomes a story about communities.”

Update: Since I first started writing this on Saturday, two 17 year old boys have been arrested in connection to the murder.  While this is good news, so that justice may prevail.  Their ages add another layer of tragedy to the situation.  I hope that their motives will be expressed and made clear so that this doesn’t have to happen anymore.

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From our house to yours,
We hope your day is blessed.

This is a picture of our Christmas tree
before we cut it down.

Below is the obituary that ran in the Dec 2 issue of The News Leader:


World War II veteran

Services are planned for Dec. 6 at 2 p.m. at Good Shepherd Christian Church in Macedonia for Robert Henderson McIntyre. Mr. McIntyre, 85, of Macedonia, died Nov. 21, 2009.

Mr. McIntyre was born to Henderson and Minnie McIntyre on April 9, 1924, in Lakewood. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He was a graduate of Fenn College/Cleveland State University and worked as an accountant, comptroller, and vice president of finance before retiring. He was very active at Shepard Road Christian Church (now Good Shepherd Christian Church) and Bethany Christian Church in Florida, serving in many capacities, including elder and lay pastor. He was a long-time resident of Sagamore Hills before retiring to Florida and returning to live with his daughter in Macedonia. Before moving to Florida, he was a volunteer representative for endowment fundraising at The Cleveland Christian Home.

Mr. McIntyre was the husband for 62 years of Gladys Russell McIntyre, deceased.

He was the father of Janice (Gene) Bittner of Macedonia and Nancy (Paul) Kinsey of Frankfort, Ohio.

He was the grandfather of Timothy (and Christi) Bittner, Rebekka Bittner, Nicholas (and Christy) Cross, and Megan Alexander and great grandfather of Austin and Michael Bittner and Holly Golden.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions be made to The Cleveland Christian Home, 222 Prame Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44109. Go to for information.

With people in town we had some more fun hitting the highlights of Minneapolis and the holiday season. Which included the Holidazzle Parade, no pictures this year since we sat in a skyway. And eating Jucy Lucy‘s at their home – Matt’s Bar.

All visitors are required to pose with the cherry at
the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

A new and strange sculpture.

It wouldn’t be Christmas without visiting Santa
(Macy’s 47th Annual Santaland)…

… or sending Santa mail

even if it crushes the poor mailmen.

We celebrated the first Thanksgiving in our new house, by hosting our first Thanksgiving dinner.  We had a total of 8 of us sitting around our table for a wonderful feast created by Christy and her minions (my sister and I).

Chef Christy preparing the kitchen for a cooking extravaganza

Meg making mashed potatoes

Our beautiful table

Carving the turkey all up

Our friend Foster eating his first turkey leg

Enjoying the meal.

This past weekend a great man ended his earthly suffering and gained his eternal home.  No more suffering and pleased to be with his wife, Grandpa will be missed here on earth.

We had many memories together over my 28 years.  Building rabbit hutches for 4-H.  Visits to Florida and singing and acting out “Grandpa got runover by a reindeer.”  Talking about stamps and looking through our stamp collections (that he helped me start).   Playing under the ding-dong tree at their house in Cleveland and discussing how Santa would enter their Florida house without a chimney (obviously through the sliding doors).  And who can forget my first time playing golf with the “men” and seeing the competitive side of him come out, maybe even throwing a club or two!

Yes many great memories.  Below are a few pictures I found on my computer, the most recent from our wedding and an older one from when my mom was in high school.  The single one of him is a more recent picture I swiped from my cousin’s Facebook page.  He really loved Grandma and would often talk about her.  He missed her so much.

Now they will both be missed, though we know their suffering is over and their bodies and minds are perfect again.

Somehow I forgot to post the video I made of our house awhile back.  It is a little fitting since we’ve been in our house 1 month today!  It has come a long way and still has plenty of work to be done!

Here is the video:

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