By now, most people have heard about the tragedy at Union University in Jackson last week.
Olivia Greenlee, a senior at Union, was found dead from an apparent gunshot wound in her car on the Union campus. See story in the Feb. 19 issue of the Baptist and Reflector.
Three days later (Feb. 15), Jackson police arrested another Union student (Charles Pittman) in connection with Greenlee’s death. He has been charged with first-degree murder and tampering with evidence, according to news reports. Pittman also served a Tennessee Baptist church in Alamo as a youth pastor and children’s minister.
It’s the kind of story you would expect to hear at a major state university in New York or California, not on a high profile, private Christian university campus in the South. Too often we think a major tragedy only happens far away. That simply is not true. It can, it does, and it will happen again in our own back yards. The only question is “when?” The events of last week at Union are just another reminder that “bad things do happen to good people” regardless of where they are. Christians aren’t immune from a sinful world.
Union President David S. Dockery and the entire university community Union have handled this tragedy as well as or even better than could be expected. No matter how much “crisis” training you receive, nothing prepares you for something of this magnitude.
I encourage Tennessee Baptists to continue to pray for the families affected and everyone on the Union campus in the weeks and months ahead. This tragedy is not something you will “get over” soon, if ever.
The only thing we can hold to is the promise found in John 16:33 (KJV), “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.”