Earth to Pat Robertson.

Did he really just say we should go ahead and assasinate President Chavez if we're already planning on it? What an idiot!!! And I say that in the most loving, caring way possible. Somebody needs to yank the plug from his TV show--probably from most Christian TV. Speaking of being more loving...sweet new FCA t-shirts: "Love God, Love Others. Worry about the rest later."

And now back to Pat Robertson. I really don't understand some of these Christian leaders--well, most of them actually. Spending a lot of the summer in Jamaica, we got asked questions about American culture, what it's really like, what people are like. One kid, who has done a lot of studying on world politics, international affairs, even loves American history, talked to me about how Americans push the poor down and are so selfish. He asked me questions about Bush and his policies. What they see in the media from our leaders is what they think all of us are like. It's scary. Scary too is how non-Christians and former Christians see Christian leaders in the media and think we're all like that. EARTH TO THE WORLD--WE'RE NOT ALL TRYING TO ASSASINATE PRESIDENT CHAVEZ!!!!! Jesus told us we'd be persecuted for following Him--did He mean we were gonna get persecuted cause somebody opened their big mouth and said something stupid to piss off the world?

It's been a long day and it's late, I'm done.


Cornel West.

Cornel West addressed a number of issues that put a nice bookend on my first journal entry regarding religion and Christianity. West said, “we need to talk publicly about the courage to love…that’s what I love about the black movement.” And that’s what I love about the Emerging Church. I’ll keep going. West also said he was “just trying to tell the truth, in love.” This was in reference to President Clinton, I believe, and a point that West disagreed with Clinton on. Wow, what a revolutionary way of reacting to something with which you disagree. Or is it revolutionary?

I also liked West’s comment that “American Christianity is a market form of Christianity…that’s why Easter Sunday they’re full, but on Good Friday they’re empty. ‘I’m gonna show up whenever the winner shows up!’” It’s a mindset that in a culture where everything is handed to the middle class and we are all collectively richer than most of the rest of the world, we only want things that help us. Hence marketplace Christianity—great analogy! Churches in other parts of the world view their faith in a much different way—many Americans can’t see that because they’ve never seen a church or a culture outside of “their America.”

Last, West’s comment that the gay community is forced to deal with the insecurities of the straight community was a good analysis—too many people judge others when they don’t even know someone with a given trait, experience, etc.—including homosexuals. I know a number of pastors whose views have changed on the topic of homosexuality when their child came out. Regardless of how they viewed homosexuality, they still loved their child because he/she was their child. That’s a great way of thinking that should be carbon-copied across American culture.

West highlights a comment from Checkov: “Keep loving, keep serving…it’s not about winning overnight…it’s about the legacy you want to leave.” Any social movement should look to Checkov’s comment for motivation. One day, every one of us will leave this Earth. The only thing we leave behind will be the relationships that we have built, the difference we have made and the people we have helped. As we wrestle with questions and converse with those around us, our worldview can only be expanded. When our worldview expands, we grow and become better able to communicate with those around us.


Free speech and the "Leftist Orthodoxy".

In Social Movements today we discussed social movements on campuses and free speech. Two interesting conversations happened:

  • <>A few weeks ago a campus-wide protest against the university president happened, because of a decision he was about to make regarding the football team, rendering them virtually useless by requiring them to offer no scholarships to potential recruits. At the men’s basketball game that night, someone came into the arena with a “Fly the Coop, Cooper” sign, referencing the president–Pres. Cooper. He was thrown out of the arena because he had a sign that was derogatory towards someone not even involved in the game, which violated Athletic Dept. policy. E-mail apologies were sent to the entire campus; mention was made in the local newspaper. People in class today had a problem with this, but i don’t get it, for this reason: we are a private institution, therefore the campus is private property; rules are rules, and the school is governed by the conference and the NCAA. Hence, this wasn’t so much about “free speech,” rather it had to do with a precedent creating an uplifting game-day atmosphere.
  • A discussion started about colleges and universities being home to a movement towards liberalism and suppression of moderate or conservative views in any way. Unfortunately, I have seen that even here. Resident Assistants reprimanded for posting pro-Republican slogans on their door; hiring of a Christian chaplain to represent the majority Christian population on campus when in actuality she represents very little of the Christian community; and the list could go on, both here and at other places. I don’t see the problem as one of conservativism vs. liberalism; rather, the issue is one that has plagued some Protestant Christian seminaries, most conservative Christian colleges and universities and many non-religiously-affiliated colleges and universities: an agenda has been raised which is proclaimed in the classroom as the ultimate truth and considered the rule and law to live by.

My problem arises with this because I feel rather than being brainwashed or bombarded, this generation would be better served to all be taught the exact same thing, whether conservative, moderate or liberal: learning how to learn. If the generation were to be taught how to learn, each would take the information presented and form their own view of the issue. Perhaps it is my Baptist upbringing which brings this out most in my own life. One of the pillars of faith as a Baptist, also one that many seem to have forgotten in shaping the new Southern Baptist Convention, is the “priesthood of all believers” where each person is able to communicate directly to God and does not have to be held accountable to any other person.

The past few years as I started looking into seminaries, I have noticed that many seem to teach and preach with an agenda. I have quickly crossed each one of those institutions off my list. A few months ago I met a pastor from Texas who told me about the seminary he attended. His favorite aspect of the seminary was that he learned how to learn, was given material to learn from and was not spoon-fed his education. I’m looking forward to that.

As this university continues to examine where it’s heading in terms of liberalist vs. conservativist agendas, I hope the committees and Board will recognize that an emphasis should be placed on allowing people to learn how to learn, not spoon-feeding. Those days are behind (most of) us and it’s time for us to shape our own worldview. Presenting an unbiased approach towards learning will lessen the divide, I feel, between each side. If a conservative is attempting to force his/her agenda, sides with either strongly agree or be adamantly opposed. Same for a liberal and his/her agenda. If each student is allowed to make his/her own decision based on their experiences, readings and lifestyle, they will experience an eb and flow of education as they read material they agree with, disagree with and lessens the impact of harsh disagreements between the liberal, moderate and conservative.


News Media.

Washington Post? Sure, Michael Jackson’s endless trial does not effect the general public. But bringing up the Atlanta courthouse shooting as an example of bad media is just wrong. For nearly 24 hours after his jailbreak, Brian Nichols eluded police and law enforcement officials. In today’s world, he could have gone nearly anywhere in the country in 24 hours—but particularly anywhere on the East Coast. Granted he didn’t even leave Atlanta, his escape posed a security threat to much of the country. Why should that not be of national news interest? In the days that followed, what had been a national security threat should certainly have been detailed further in the news. A security breach in a booming metropolis could surely be repeated elsewhere. I don’t understand why people decided to use that case as an example of bad news. Granted there is a lot of bad news, that’s not one of them.


Media and War.

The subject of the war in Iraq is intriguing for me because of personal relationships I have connecting my experiences to Iraq. While I’ve never been there, I have a good friend who was forced to leave Iraq about 5 years ago, fleeing with his family from Saddam Hussein’s regime, taking his life into his hands as they fled in the night. I talked with Sam just after our class discussion and he said the news has been so distressing to him that he quit watching it.

Just a few weeks ago, a friend of mine from middle school was killed in Iraq (http://homepage.mac.com/joseph.tesauro/EYEWITNESS_NEWS/FileSharing13.html [Link Edited]. His unit was fighting a known terrorist cell and the leader of the cell was also killed in that fight. Karl was doing what he felt called to do, helping people he didn’t even know.

Another friend of mine is currently serving as a Chaplain to a National Guard unit, stationed at the moment in Iraq. Here’s what Ben said: “soldiers do seem to get excited about what they are doing here as they get out and meet people. Yea, there are all the political stuff back in the states, but it doesn’t really come through as much here. Here the bottom line is we are here with a poor people who have been oppressed, and they are seeking to rebuild a country while a few bad apples try to ruin things. It is exciting to be a part of something good, and that is how many soldiers begin to look at it, political stuff aside.”

While Ben’s stories and Sam’s life seem to conflict with each other, I’m sure that if those two were to talk about the situation, Sam’s mind would be put at ease. Right now all he’s heard are stories of despair and no hope. The media has portrayed a side to the war that silences whatever else is taking place, like the stories of hope that Ben has told, stories of rebuilding schools that UR grad Scott Irwin has told. I’m not a big fan of going over and killing people, and perhaps the wrong action was taken in starting the war. But hearing the true stories, not what the media tells us, gives a brighter picture. If more people heard these stories, instead of story after story of soldiers and innocent Iraqis being killed, would there be a different view on the war? a lot of people are taking action against a war that they’ve only heard about through the media—how can we possibly know what we’re moving for if the media’s portrayal is so skewed? Hopefully it will end soon and there won’t be any question about it.

As for these soldiers fighting for a victory that will never be theirs, I think that too is a bleak portrayal of the situation. Whether or not they ever put a name to a face, the soldiers are meeting the people of Iraq who are benefiting from this military action and are seeing the full effect of what they’re doing. That sure seems like the reward is becoming partly theirs as a piece of themselves connects with the people of Iraq.


the emerging church.

<>I just finished The Emerging Church by Dan Kimball, and wow! it was a great read. for the past two weeks I couldn’t put it down (often sacrificing reading for school to get through this book!). the whole time, I’m thinking through FCA and what we do in “worship” every Sunday night, and I hope that we can make some changes to how we do things to help foster a more sincere worship environment and guide people along their faith journeys more effectively. more than anything in the world, I want the people who walk through those doors on Sunday night to experience God, whether they’ve experienced God before or not. we’re a long way from that now, but i think that in a few weeks time, we can make significant changes.

Then last weekend, in the midst of reading this book, I visited Cedar Ridge Community Church in Maryland. Much of the service was the same as other Protestant Christian churches I’ve been to. But the two unique things I saw were:

  • the seats in the auditorium wrapped around three sides of the stage that Brian spoke from. it gave a much more intimate feeling.
  • the stations set up around the auditorium give a great interactive aspect to worship–no more of this sitting in a chair for an hour while somebody on a stage sings and somebody else on the stage talks.

I think when churches began to make church less consumeristic, less about people coming in to “get fed” and more about growing together in a journey to follow Christ, Christians everywhere will benefit. and I know for me, life is more about figuring how I can better follow Jesus' example and less about putting the “right pieces” of Christian faith together so i can get to heaven. heaven will be great, but for now I’m here and God has a whole lot left for us to do here before we get to heaven.


tough issues.

<>Earlier this week, I sat down with our campus minister (CM) and we were talking with another guy about this campus ministry and what it means to be a leader. Our CM played the word association game with this guy–Christians and homosexuality, Christians and drinking, Christians and dating relationships. Our CM tried to convey the idea that we’re a community of faith, and we’re not going to restrict someone’s ministry to a set of rules they have to live by. Ultimately everyone is responsible to God for him/herself, but this didn’t seem to be good enough.

I heard a pastor speak tonight and he said something that I thought was really good. His talked was based off a chapter in Messy Spirituality by Mike Yaconelli. He had this simple quote, “Are you ‘making music,’ or only avoiding mistakes?” I got to thinking after these two conversations, what are we doing? Why are we spending so much time worrying about following a set of guidelines, principles and do’s and do not’s and not worrying about helping the people around us?

The second thought was this, “Spiritual growth is more than a system and more than following certain principles.” The church in Corinth had some pretty crazy stuff going on, but God still used them and Paul still spent time with them helping them to see their purpose.

I don’t know why we don’t spend more time looking for our purpose instead of worrying about following a bunch of rules.


baptists and the Bible.

Originally published The Religious Herald, March 3, 2005:

In a letter in the Religious Herald dated Feb. 3, Greene Hollowell condemned the Baptist General Association of Virginia’s stance on abortion, as published in Truthfully Speaking (available at http://www.vbmb.org/uploads/TruthfullySpeaking.pdf).

Mr. Hollowell disputes this statement:

“Be it further Resolved, that we also ... support the right of expectant mothers to the full range of medical services and personal counseling for the preservation of life and health.”

“Full range of medical services,” for Mr. Hollowell, “of course means abortion.”

Does it really, Mr. Hollowell? I understand it to mean we need to support mothers in their emotional well-being during a stressful and traumatic time in their lives.

The BGAV statement also resolved, “The messengers ... reaffirm the biblical sacredness and dignity of all human life, including fetal life.” How could a body of believers say this, yet continue to endorse the opposite? I don’t think they do.

Mr. Hollowell’s analysis troubles me, but this has nothing to do with abortion. His judgement on the BGAV is similar to the way many American evangelicals interpret the Bible. Mr. Hollowell disregards any original intentions of the statement and exercises his own interpretation of the BGAV’s statement, subjecting the statement to his own views and beliefs.

Other believers do the same with the Bible. We as Baptists believe in the priesthood of all believers, yet many “Baptist” organizations are informing us as to how we will believe.

Mr. Hollowell, if you took a moment to see lives changed through the work of the BGAV, I think you would see that God is not disintegrating the BGAV because they “support abortion,” as you write in your letter.

Would Jesus have been involved in any of these actions? Jesus calls us to love God and love others, Mr. Hollowell, not question others and create rifts within the Body of Christ. We have hurting people in our neighborhoods, schools, workplaces, people in our churches and women contemplating abortions. I challenge you, and all Virginia Baptists, to help someone in need. We need to be encouraging, uplifting and supportive and love our neighbors using Christ as an example. Tearing people down is a waste of our time, Mr. Hollowell.

I don’t think Jesus would have done that.

Oxymoron: Christian Worship Music Awards

My friend sent me this link today. what is the world coming to? Awards for best worship song/album of the year? my response...

"Here, I’ve got an idea...let’s get people to make a CD of themselves worshipping God. then we’ll open up a store, just for Christians, and we’ll sell those CD’s, and books like 'em. and after we make a lot of money, then we’ll make awards for the CD’s, to see who’s best at worshipping God. and after that, we’ll forget all about why we really want to worship God and kids will just buy the CD because it’s cool music that won an award. sweet!

Now I need to write this disclaimer:I am good friends with a Nashville-based, Christian worship artist and I fully support him and what he does. He will be one of the first to admit to you that there’s something wrong with the whole concept. Still, I felt a need to rant...but now I’ll go back to listening to David Crowder and Chris Tomlin. Chris won an award, by the way...



i asked one of my friends a question, the friend i always ask about deep spiritual questions, and he wrote me back. he said...

"college was filled with what my friends here call Sunshine Christians...the community needs people who are passionate about the church, Christ and commitment on a deeper level than some heaven story kids hear when they’re young."

i don’t know why this resonated with me. i’ve been hanging out with so many people who just got saved 3 or 4 years ago, and immediately the pendulum of their life swung from one extreme to another -- from sinning as an unbeliever to sinning as a judgmental hypocrite. all they do is judge other people around them who don’t live up to their standards, when if they just looked in the mirror they would realize they don’t live up to their own standards. nobody does, nobody ever will. oh, except for that Jesus guy.

My friend also said that his classmate “always talks about Jesus. which is great because not many people, even 'fundies', just talk about Jesus.' this guy told my friend that he missed the creek behind his house beacuse that’s ”where he talks to Jesus."

i think most of us need to find that creek in our life and get to know Jesus. all we know is a book of words which won’t mean anything without knowing Jesus. if we really know Jesus, then the love will pour out of our lives.


E-conversation with Glyn.


In what way can we began to change the myths and perceptions of social movements and those involved? In a similar realm, some groups of Evangelical Christian are now facing a wall of criticism invoked by people who have skewed public perception of Christianity over the past decades. Most social movements are facing the same wall: somehow the media has portrayed social movements in a bad light, skewing public perception of what goes on, what is achieved and who is involved. In many cases, good does come about from these social movements, but media outlets do not want/choose to include these stories in their news. During the recent presidential inauguration, media outlets showed protestors raising a ruckus at security checkpoints, focusing on fighting and arguments between the sides. Few focused on the cause that protesting groups were attempting to promote. For many Americans, it is also the case of a lens in which the world is viewed. A more open-minded approach to seeing the news and interpreting what is seen and a better understanding of social movements in general will certainly help Americans to more effectively comprehend the actions of social movements.


My one response at the level of content has to do with your remarks about evangelical Christian movements (which ones in particular did you have in mind? Militias? Anti-abortion? Home schooling? Traditional family? Abstinence-only sex education?). My thought is that there is a colloquial, mainstream distaste for what is perhaps a set of inaccurate stereotypes of the folks involved in these movements. At the same time, the evangelical perspective in general seems to me to have won, at least in terms of political representation. They have a U.S. president who regularly pursues policies that are compatible with their agenda (e.g. constitutional amendment on straight marriage, abortion and family planning policies, charter schools, abstinence-only education, federal funding for faith-based non-profits). So it makes me wonder whether the movement’s seeming “victimization” holds water. Perhaps the antagonism directed at the movement(s) is actually a response to the existing power structure and the Christian Right’s influence in that regard as opposed to a challenge to that power. Am I making sense?


Making sense? Oh yeah! Here’s why…

I made a mistake in the first piece by referring to “some groups” (as now underlined) and not further discussing who I included in those groups. I’m going to try to set the groundwork for what I’m trying to say, mostly for myself but also to give anyone reading (Christian or not) this a context on which to understand what I’m saying.

In past centuries, people who call themselves Christians have added on line after line of doctrine and interpretations of what The Bible is meant to reference. Christians, still today, use any number of translations of The Bible which contain numerous translation errors—the King James Version, perhaps the longest-standing single translation, has thousands of translation errors. American Christians especially believe that what we see now in English is the best reflection of what happened 2,000 years ago. In Texas a number of years ago, a high-ranking political figure said, “If English was good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for me,” during a discussion on adding Spanish as a second official state language. That ignorance alone has hurt Christianity in America, and many times it is only after seeing the church (inclusive of all local churches worldwide) in another context, another culture, in another language, that Americans see a glimpse of the true flavor of Christianity.

In the past 20 or so years, Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell have taken to the airways to report THEIR views and to attempt (usually a futile effort) to make the American people conform to their views. Falwell and Tim LaHaye founded The Moral Majority in 1979; the same year, Richard Land “helped engineer his 16-million-member [Southern Baptist Convention's] 1979 shift from moderacy to hard-line (fundamentalist) conservativism.” Each was recently honored by Time as one of the “25 Most Influential Evangelicals.” Their attempts at forcing people to conform to their way of thinking, their way of believing, their way of living and their way of politicizing and indoctrinating a narrow-minded generation of American Christians.

Fortunately, there was one other man who made the Top 25: Brian McLaren. Time labels McLaren as a “paradigm shifter,” a title that he deserves to wear. A former college English professor who has had no formal religious education, McLaren is certainly leading a new movement amongst younger Christians and Christians who have become tired of the hard line drawn in the sand by Falwell, Robertson and others. Time says that McLaren was asked at a conference last spring to give his thoughts on gay marriage. McLaren responded, “You know what, the thing that breaks my heart is that there’s no way I can answer it without hurting someone on either side.” This “Emerging Church” is, as many seminary professors put it, nothing new; rather the movement reclaims the ways of the Church of hundreds of years ago. While no church has ever been perfect, The Emerging Church is seeking to follow the example of Christ more closely: not following Jerry Falwell more closely. And as Time notes, the Emerging Church is attempting to “to deconstruct traditional church culture yet remain true to Scripture.”

Many times, Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson take the blame for what Christianity in America has become. Certainly they are the two most prominent spokesmen for their cause. They, and others, have so successfully shaped the minds of American Christians that many believed that it would be a sin to vote for anyone other than George W. Bush in the November election. People believed that they had the right in any political arena to voice their opinions and inform anyone who differed that they were sinners and would be punished by God accordingly. I’m not sure what Bible they’re reading, but mine says that if you are judging, “you too will be judged” ( Matthew 7, Luke 6, John 8 ).

And so it stands, many American Christians have let “truth” stand at a list of points that one should live by, rather than telling about The Bible that shares a message of the love and forgiveness of God and Christ. There is certainly right and wrong, but many Christians have made that the #1 criteria of being a Christian. Gay marriage and abortion have become the soapboxes on which American Christians preach to the rest of America. Within the church, these Christians insist that anyone who disagrees with them on either of these two points is no “real” Christian and will certainly burn for eternity in hell under eternal damnation.

It might be surprising that I was born in, raised in and still go to a Southern Baptist Church. The Southern Baptists seem to be the epitome of judgment. It has become more important to have a denominational name associated with yourself than to live out a life of love and helping others that Jesus spoke of. And so it goes. The name “Christian” in America has come to mean something other than what The Emerging Church believes. It isn’t a cult, it isn’t a harsh movement going into battle against anyone who disagrees. It’s simply a collective of Christians who are tired of hating and being hated, and who want to love and help others more than anything else. It does not mean taking away our backbone and becoming “flip-flops” (all previous political association aside…).






Paige Akin
Staff Writer: Times-Dispatch, Richmond, Va.

Download: Page A01 [PDF] | Page A14 [PDF]

With pacifist parents and no family members in the military, Karl Linn was an unlikely Marine. But the events of 9/11 changed him.

“I think he wanted payback, as well as some discipline,” Richard Linn said of his oldest son. “I’m the Peace Corps type, but I didn’t object.”

So after he graduated from James River High School in 2002, Karl Linn earned the blessings of his family and joined the Marines. Lance Cpl. Linn and his unit — the 2nd Platoon, Company C, 4th Engineering Battalion out of Lynchburg — shipped out to Iraq in the fall.

Now, the unthinkable has happened.

Linn and three others from his unit were killed Wednesday in Iraq’s Anbar province during an ambush on their convoy. Linn, 20, was from Midlothian. The other victims were identified as Sgt. Jesse Strong, 24, of Orleans, Vt., a graduate of Liberty University in Lynchburg; Cpl. Jonathan Bowling, 23, of Patrick County; and Cpl. Christopher Weaver, 24, of Spotsylvania County.

Linn’s interest in engineering was evident from an early age. In 1998, he and five classmates from St. Michael’s Episcopal School in Bon Air designed a winning entry in the Junior Solar Sprint — a miniature solar-powered car. Later, Linn founded James River’s robotics team.

“He was not so much of a tinkerer as an observer,” Richard Linn said. “He was a very quiet person, very smart, very off-the-wall. They used to call him ‘Crazy Karl’ in high school because they never knew what he would do next.”

After James River, Linn joined the Marine Corps Reserve but chose a delayed-entry program so he could start college. He enrolled in the mechanical-engineering program at Virginia Commonwealth University and participated in “weekend warrior” basic training while attending classes, specializing in combat engineering.

Then, last year, Linn’s unit was activated. They were sent into combat in November.

Between missions, Linn was keeping himself busy e-mailing his family, playing with his Canon PowerShot A60 digital camera and updating his new Web site, www.karl.linn.net. He posted photos of himself, grinning widely, posing with his machine gun and Humvee.

“Other than being tired recently because of 12-hour days patrolling, he’d say the food was lousy and it was chilly,” Richard Linn said yesterday. “He was more concerned about when we were sending him more socks and gummy bears, which were apparently in short supply.”

Even though he was able to call home only once, at Christmas, his family could see his adventures online. They knew he was safe.

On Wednesday morning, Richard Linn was 40 miles north of Richmond on a business trip when he got a call from his mother. The Marines wanted to talk to him at home.

“You’re never prepared. My wife just didn’t even want to think about it. She was always scared, from the time he was in boot camp, but she hoped and prayed and tried
not to dwell on it. I knew this could happen. I felt the odds were good that it wouldn’t, but I’ve never been a gambling man.”

Linn is survived by his father and mother, Malisa, and brother, Tan, who is 15 and a sophomore at James River.


Staff Writer: News & Advance, Lynchburg, Va.

Download: Page A15 [PDF]

The skies were clear and a full moon shown down on Company C of the 4th Combat Engineer Battalion as the Lynchburg-based unit drove, lights off, toward a tiny village in western Iraq.

Heavy sand created a red haze; the chilly air smelled of mud from recent rain. It was just after 3 a.m. when the Marine reservists arrived at the town.

The troops were on a mission to capture insurgents believed to be in a building in Hoklinea, said Jim Dolan, a reporter with WABC-TV in New York who is embedded with the unit.

“The Marines pulled up to the building, searched it and it was empty. So they got back in their vehicles in the convoy” to leave, Dolan said by telephone yesterday
from Haditha, Iraq.

That’s when shots rang out.

The four men who were killed were riding a highback, a form of a Humvee with a flatbed. Its sides are 3 feet high and armor-plated.

At first, it was just a few shots, Dolan said. “Then a barrage of shots [came] from what sounded like machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades. [The Marines] were returning fire, and it escalated. For several minutes, there was a fierce and
deafening firefight.”

The shots seemed to come from at least two or three locations, one of which was a
mosque, Dolan said.

One of the grenades hit the highback and killed two of the four men instantly. The other two died on their way to get medical attention, Dolan said.

Four others from the Lynchburg-based unit, including a man from Lynchburg and one from Bedford, were injured in the attack. Lance Cpl. Mark W. Miller, 20, of Bedford received gunshot wounds, while Cpl. Timothy Franklin, 24, of Lynchburg, received
minor shrapnel injuries, said Capt. Jamie Wagner, an inspector-instructor with the unit.

The company held a memorial service yesterday to remember the fallen: Liberty University graduate Sgt. Jesse Strong, 24, of Orleans, Vt.; Cpl. Jonathan Bowling, 23, of Patrick County; Cpl. Christopher Weaver, 24, of Spotsylvania County; and Lance
Cpl. Karl Linn, 20, of Chesterfield County.

Troops set up a traditional memorial for each: the Marine’s M-16 rifle, bayonet down and stuck in the dirt, with his helmet and dog tags on the butt of the gun and his boots in front, Dolan said. Marines from Company C walked up to each of the four memorials, knelt, touched the boots, and observed a moment of silence. Then the rest of the battalion walked by the memorials and gave a single crisp salute.

Dolan said several men spoke during the service about how the men would be missed, how honored they felt to have known them and how they would honor the Marines’ memory by carrying on their mission.

“Obviously, it was very hard,” he said. “It’s like losing your best friend right in front of your eyes. It was very said. [These] grown, strongest, bravest men
in the world cried. It was very hard to watch.”

Dolan, 46, and a photographer have been embedded with the company since Jan. 17.


Karl took these photos while he was in Iraq. He died in a firefight on January 27, 2005 in Haditha, Iraq.