John Bohstedt, a member of the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville, took issue with some of the media coverage of the recent shootings at his church. Bohstedt, a retired history professor from the University of Tennessee, sent an email message to Michael Paulson, religion correspondent at the Boston Globe, giving his viewpoint about what really happened:
An eyewitness who was protecting her children a few feet from the gunman said it was remarkable how everyone was doing exactly what they needed to do — subduing the gunman, calling 911, tending to the victims, and evacuating the sanctuary….
The reason I am saying all this is — Media have done much to make us a fearful people — to emphasize the danger in the world. Real life is often NOT like that, and in this case — evil was overcome efficiently by LOVE. One eyewitness said: There are a lot more good guys in the world, but the bad guys get all the press….
Above all, please do not let bi-coastal myopia cloud your judgments — for every crazed wacko with a gun, there are thousands of civilized, rational, and loving people in East Tennessee who have produced a remarkable culture. …
In closing, I have been studying the behavior of crowds for decades, in old documents and in our UT football stadium, and more often than not ‘there is METHOD in the ‘madness’ of crowds’ — the METHOD of our TVUUC church is organized Love.”[Link to Paulson’s blog post]
That’s a nice summary of what a church should be: “organized Love.”