Perhaps you heard about the pregnant pastor’s wife who was murdered in her home? Amanda Blackburn, 28, was shot and killed in her Indianopolis home during what police now maintain was a home invasion gone wrong. The Blackburn’s one-year old son was found in the home unharmed.
The killing happened shortly after Blackburn’s husband left for the gym. The killers reportedly entered the home through an unlocked front door. Some news reports indicate that Amanda, who was 12 weeks pregnant with the couple’s second child, was raped prior to being murdered.
The two young men arrested in the murder have pled not guilty. Police, however, seem to have gathered a good deal of physical evidence. Larry Jo Taylor Jr., 18, and Jalen Watson, 21, have been charged with murder and additional felonies related to burglaries at three other homes on Nov. 10.
The headlines of this story caught my attention when a friend on Twitter posted it and asked for prayer. He is friends with Davey Blackburn, Amanda’s husband. The Blackburns moved from the Carolinas to start the church, Resonate, where Davey pastors.
Amanda did not die at the scene. She and her unborn daughter, Evie, died in the hospital the next day. Her husband posted these words on the church’s website:
“It’s impossible to communicate all the emotions my heart has been forced to process,” Davey Blackburn wrote. “My wife was such a beautiful, gracious, loving woman of God. I have not only lost my ministry partner and support but also my very best friend. There is no way to prepare yourself for circumstances like these. As deeply as I am hurting, I am hopeful and confident that good things will come of this. I rest in the truth of Romans 8:28 that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him and who are called according to His purpose.”
“Amanda made it her life’s calling to love and serve everyone she knew. Even more, she has made it her life’s mission to see as many people as possible come to know Jesus as their personal Savior. I know that in her death and legacy, even more people will come to a saving faith in Christ. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt her desire for me would be to continue what we’ve started here in Indy. I hold firm to the belief that God is still good, that He takes our tragedy and turns it into triumph, and that the best truly is yet to come.”
These were the words that the popular blogger, MPT, referred to earlier this week when he took to his Facebook page, followed by thousands, to call into question the role Davey Blackburn may have played in his wife’s death.
This blogger, who proudly notes that he writes for The Daily Beast, has developed a cult-like following for his often smarmy, but generally wise-cracking criticisms of the church, of church leaders, of anyone who claims to be a Jesus-follower, all the time he is claiming to be a Jesus-follower. The implication being, of course, that because he is a Jesus-follower who is not afraid to criticize others he is far more authentic in his faith than are those he often criticizes.
Or at least that’s how I see it.
I could be wrong.
I did think it highly inappropriate when he took to Facebook to criticize a grieving husband and father. I can’t quote you exactly what he said because it wasn’t long after he put up the posts calling into question Davey Blackburn’s involvement in his own wife’s murder that I decided I was done reading this blogger’s work.
Before taking the drastic measure of unfriending, I wrote on his post that I didn’t think Facebook was an appropriate forum for such a delicate subject. What if Davey Blackburn isn’t involved in his wife’s murder at all? What if he is simply a grieving husband? I implored.
MPT snarled back, telling me that if I didn’t think it was appropriate forum then why participate in the discussion at all. When another commenter suggested that, yeah, it would be awful if Davey Blackburn weren’t involved in his wife’s murder to be having such a discussion, MPT replied that he shouldn’t let the grief police shame him over his comments questioning the widowed pastor’s potential involvement.
Clearly, the grief-police comment was aimed at me.
I let MPT know that yeah, he was right. I needed to bow out of the conversation and go my own way.
Social Media is only a tool. We are the people who get to decide whether to use the hoe to plant a garden, or to use a hoe to beat somebody to death.
I admit that I am old enough to be MPT’s mother, and in the minds of many 30-somethings, that makes me irrelevant. An old woman with old sensibilities. That said, the damage bloggers like MPT can do to the reputations of the unsuspecting is enormous.
As it turns out, Davey Blackburn is a grieving husband whose inadequate words of grief became the torch by which MPT lit fire to a pastor’s repuation during one of the darkest periods of any person’s life.
Davey Blackburn lost his wife and his daughter to a violent home invasion. Instead of calling us to question the pastor’s involvement, shouldn’t MPT have used his substanial platform to call us all into prayer for the Blackburn family?
Karen Spears Zacharias is author of Burdy (Mercer University Press).