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Published on November 23rd, 2005 | by Alex and Brett Harris

David Ludwig and Kara Borden

Make sure you read the most recent update made at the end of this post (updated Saturday, November 26th, 4:15 P.M. CST).

Big hat tip to fellow blogger and rebelutionary, Agent Tim, for bringing this story to my attention.

After a frenzied, weeklong media blitz by television, radio, newspapers, and blogs, nearly anyone who regularly reads/watches/listens to the news will recognize the names of David Ludwig, Kara Borden, and Lititz, Pennsylvania.

On Sunday, November 13th, following a heated, hour-long argument with 14-year-old Kara’s parents over his physical relationship with their daughter, David Ludwig, 18, pulled out a .40-caliber handgun and shot both parents in the head. As Kara’s 15-year-old sister, Katelyn, hid in the bathroom, and her 11-year-old brother, David, escaped to a neighbor’s house, Ludwig took Kara and fled in his parent’s car. The following day, after a brief, high-speed car chase, police officers in Belleville, Indiana, apprehended the two teens, who had traveled approximately 600 miles from the scene of the crime.

Yesterday morning, it was reported that Ludwig has admitted to two counts of intentional murder, while it has also become clear that Kara was not kidnapped, but fled with David of her own free will. Whether Miss Borden was an actual accomplice in the murder of her parents remains unclear, though her willingness to leave with her parent’s murderer raises questions regarding her loyalties.

However, without going into more detail — as that is not our purpose in bringing the story to your attention — there are several notable aspects of this tragic situation that are of particular importance to rebelutionaries. David and Kara, you understand, are churchgoers, youth group attendees, from Christian families, with Christian friends. They’re also homeschooled.

Both of these facts, particularly the latter, have provoked flurries of heated discussion among those on both sides of the issue. On the far left of the spectrum, a handful of liberal commentators, primarily bloggers, have pounced on the opportunity to demonstrate the “idiocy” of Christian parents who homeschool their children. On the other hand — seeming to have learned their lesson from the backlash that followed the effort two years ago by CBS News to link homeschooling and child abuse — no mainstream media outlet has attempted to draw a clear connection between the teens’ education and the crimes that launched them into the national infamy.

This decision, whether conscious or otherwise, has prompted some on the left to decry the mainstream press as “hypocritical” or “biased,” pointing to the media’s “lack of emphasis,” and arguing that whenever a homeschooled student does something good, like wining a national spelling or geography bee, their education takes front and center. Not to be outdone, some homeschool proponents have taken issue with the media’s decision to emphasize the children’s education at all, claiming that the fact that Kara and David were homeschooled bears no special significance to the story.

Still another viewpoint, courtesy of Paul Chesser of The American Spectator, argues from the goodness of homeschooling to conclude that Kara and David’s education was an appropriate emphasis for reporter’s covering the story:

“[T]he media [should] play up Ludwig’s and Borden’s educational background. The fact that they were homeschooled makes the murder even more significant. Why? Because the nature of the news is that when certain types of people act in ways that are inconsistent with what the public traditionally expects from them, it makes a story more newsworthy. [The media] did the right thing by recognizing the significance that the two teens were homeschooled. This was out of character from what most Americans have come to expect from homeschooled children: that they are mostly intelligent, polite, respectful, well-behaved, quiet, and mind their own business.”

I would agree that David and Kara’s education deserves a reasonable amount of attention — as I am now giving it — however, I would be most hesitant to label the story, as Mr. Chesser seems to do, as nothing more than a “newsworthy aberration.” Is that really all it is? Is that really all we can take from it? I would say not.

As I read through Kara, David, and their friends’ posts and comments on their respective blogs (most which are still available, if you know where to look), I am struck by how un-abnormal they are; how similar they are to people I know; how similar they are to me.

If I may be blunt for a moment: I’ve never had premarital sex, never murdered anyone, or made a decision that resulted in my life falling apart before my eyes, but as I familiarize myself with the now-public “private” lives of these fellow teenagers, I shudder, because I see the same potential in my own life – in my own heart.

My mind is repeatedly drawn back to a post that Kara made on her blog less than five months ago. I’m slightly surprised that no bloggers or news outlets – at least, none that I can find – have mentioned it, but it engrained itself in my mind:

Psalm 28… I would type it out..but I think you guys can read it for yourself…when I read it I broke out in tears…God is truely and wonderful amazing..Hey to everyone if you guys could pray for me..That would be very cool!! Thank you all for your prayers already..And Im praying for you all too!! I love you all! I would just like to say thanks for the support yesterday my brothers and sisters in christ! I love you all! AND THANK YOU MY AMAZING LORD!!! I LOVE YOU SOO MUCH!!But really I have to give all the thanks to my Lord!!!!!SO THANK YOU MY LORD!!

Your Sister In Christ
Kara

Or consider the following words by David Ludwig, posted less than four months ago:

Ok people, here it is! The xanga site for The Barn…for lack of a better name I think at least for now we shall call it that. If any of you feel any leading at to what we should call/name this place please voice your suggestions!

Basically we are in desperate need of finances and time right now and although it looks kinda hopeless for a human standpoint I have faith that God is going to work all this out according to HIS good pleasure!!

For those of you who have abosolutely no idea what the heck I’m talking about here is the scoop, basically about 3 weeks ago both Sam Lohr and myself (David Ludwig ) felt led to clean up the upstairs of my (the Ludwig’s) barn to create a place that we could come to after our Monday night and Friday night youth meetings or at anytime to worship and dilligently seek Gods face. The amazing thing about that is neither Sam or I knew the other was thinking/praying about that till about a week later. Since than a bunch of us have gotten together twice to work on the barn and just amazing things have been accomplished…it truely is a miracle!! God has enabled far more to be completed than any of us ever imagined! Glory! So now the need is to finish this project Lord willing before next monday. Anyone is welcome to come once it is finished we only ask that you seek Gods face before you come to see if He wants you to be there. If so, be welcome and come! May God bless you all!!

~ David

Shocking words for two teens facing the possibility of execution or life behind bars for murder? How about for two young, homeschooled teens from Christian families? Not quite so shocking, is it? But which are they?

They’re both.

And that is what’s so important for us to realize, as young people, as homeschoolers, as rebelutionaries, and as Christians.

Being homeschooled did not prevent this tragedy; growing up in a Christian environment did not prevent this tragedy; bearing many signs of apparent faith and an understanding of the Gospel did not prevent this tragedy; these are harsh, but necessary truths that demand humility. Hard to swallow as it is, what happened in Lititz, Pennsylvania, is not an exception, it’s fallen man’s default.

We should all be asking ourselves the question: What is it that separates me from a David Ludwig or a Kara Borden?

And we should all be answering — in the words of Protestant Reformer, John Bradford — “There, but for the grace of God, go I.”

“No man’s really any good till he knows how bad he is, or might be; till he’s realized exactly how [little] right he has to all this snobbery, and sneering, and talking about ‘criminals,’ as if they were apes in a forest ten thousand miles away; till he’s got rid of all the dirty self-deception of talking about low types and deficient skulls; till he’s squeezed out of his soul the last drop of the oil of the Pharisees…” — G.K. Chesterton, The Secret of Father Brown

Let us not fail to remember Kara, David, and their families, in our prayers. May God have mercy.

UPDATE (11/23): I am reminded of Noah Riner’s words in his September 20th, convocation speech at Dartmouth College. The universal nature of the truth he shared that night — truth for which he was viciously attacked — is proven valid by its perfect applicability to the story of David Ludwig and Kara Borden. Please read it carefully and notice the parallels. Note that a limited number of these parallels are indicated in brackets:

[I]n the past few weeks we’ve seen some pretty revealing things happening on the Gulf Coast in the wake of hurricane Katrina. We’ve seen acts of selfless heroism and millions around the country have united to help the refugees. On the other hand, we’ve been disgusted by the looting, violence, and raping that took place even in the supposed refuge areas. In a time of crisis and death, people were paddling around in rafts, stealing TV’s and VCR’s. How could Americans [homeschoolers?] go so low?

My purpose in mentioning the horrible things done by certain people on the Gulf Coast isn’t to condemn just them; rather it’s to condemn all of us. Supposedly, character is what you do when no one is looking, but I’m afraid to say all the things I’ve done when no one was looking. Cheating, stealing, lusting, you name it - How different are we? It’s easy to say that we’ve never gone that far: never stolen that much; never lusted so much that we’d rape; and the people we’ve cheated, they were rich anyway.

Let’s be honest, the differences are in degree. We have the same flaws as the individuals who pillaged New Orleans. Ours haven’t been given such free range, but they exist and are part of us all the same.

The Times of London once asked readers for comments on what was wrong with the world. British author, G. K. Chesterton responded simply: “Dear Sir, I am.”

Not many of us have the same clarity that Chesterton had. Just days after Hurricane Katrina had ravaged the Gulf Coast, politicians and pundits were distributing more blame than aid. It’s so easy to see the faults of others, but so difficult to see our own. In the words of Cassius in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, “the fault, dear Brutus is not in our stars but in ourselves.”

Character has a lot to do with sacrifice, laying our personal interests down for something bigger. The best example of this is Jesus. In the Garden of Gethsemane, just hours before his crucifixion, Jesus prayed, “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” He knew the right thing to do. He knew the cost would be agonizing torture and death. He did it anyway. That’s character.

Jesus is a good example of character, but He’s also much more than that. He is the solution to flawed people like corrupt Dartmouth alums, looters, [teenage murderers,] and me.

It’s so easy to focus on the defects of others and ignore my own. But I need saving as much as they do.

Jesus’ message of redemption is simple. People are imperfect, and there are consequences for our actions. He gave His life for our sin so that we wouldn’t have to bear the penalty of the law; so we could see love. The problem is me; the solution is God’s love: Jesus on the cross, for us.


UPDATE (11/26):
One of our readers, manthano, commented this afternoon and alerted us to his personal — and particularly meaningful — observation into the past of admitted murderer David Ludwig. Read full post here, selected excerpt below:

I try to keep up with the news while I’m here at school, and it was with sadness and disgust I read the story of David Ludwig and the double murder of the parents of his girlfriend Kara Borden. Then this story hit a little closer to home, when I found out that I had met David 3 years ago. Since then a particular verse from the Bible has taken on a whole new meaning. I Peter 5:8 says, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (ESV). Why this verse basically whacked me upside the head this week, is because of the story of what happened to someone else who knows this verse, David Ludwig, now under arrest for a double murder committed last week. How do I know he knows this verse? Read on…

I know he knows this verse, because of where I met him. Yes, I’ve met an alleged double murderer. We met at a Bible quiz between about 5 churches in our area. The Bible quiz was over the book of I Peter. In order to effectively compete in this competition, you basically had to have the entire book memorized, and be able to quote word-perfect any verse in it. He and I were on two of the top 5 teams that year, so I that’s how I know he had that verse memorized.

So how does a bible quizzer become a murderer? It’s really not as difficult as you might think. To quote our former school president, “Anyone is capable of committing any sin, given the proper provocation.” “Who me,” you ask? “I’ll never murder anyone!” I didn’t say you would, I just said we were capable of it. I pray that no one that’s reading this will do such a thing, but it’s not impossible.

Be sure to read the rest of manthano’s post here.

Read the update by clicking here


About the Author

are the co-founders of TheRebelution.com and co-authors of Do Hard Things and Start Here. They have a passion for God and for their generation. Their personal interests include politics, filmmaking, music, and basketball. They are both graduates of Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia.



  • http://one-salient-oversight.blogspot.com One Salient Oversight

    What a great posting. I knew they were home schooled but didn’t know that they had an explicit Christian faith.

    And of course you nailed it on the head when you remind yourself and your readers that you, too, are capable of evil. It reminds me that I, too, can be evil, and it is only by the Grace of God that I am who he has made me to be.

    A humble, thoughtful and challenging article.

  • http://sundaymorningcoffee.blogspot.com/ Cathy

    Thank you for your insight. Incredibly thought provoking.

  • http://www.agenttimonline.com Agent Tim

    Great job Alex. Thanks for expanding, and posting a lot about their Christian faith. On CBS, they were actually talking about how the families faith was holding them together at this time. Amazing story.

  • http://www.ahthelife.blogspot.com Miss Kelly

    I have been following this story and have penned a plethora of thoughts. Leery to post them, I appreaciate your post.

  • http://semicolon.reachcoop.org Sherry

    I came to exactly this same conclusion a few years ago when Andrea Yates murdered her five children about three blocks down the street from where I live. To be clear, I’ve never even considered murdering my children, but depravity is depravity, and I am certainly capable of much worse than than I have actually acted out, by the grace of God.

  • http://advancinghiskingdom.blogspot.com Marshall

    Awesome. One thing that I think most teens need to realize too, is that just growing up in a Christian home with a Christian environment, isn’t going to keep you from sin. I think you said that in your post. However, another, just as important thing that I think the readers need to realize is that you can’t hold your parents faith forever. At some point it has to become your own.

    All the same, very insightful post. Great job Alex.

  • http://irishhills.softanswer.com/weblog/ Gracie

    How very true that only God knows the condition of the heart.

  • Nella

    Wow!! I had no idea that they were professing Christians or homeschooled!! I agree with Gracie– only God knows their hearts. It is such a sad situation…

    ~Nella

  • http://www.xanga.com/gingerandtwinkle hannah

    provoking. thnaks for posting this–a poignant reminder of our sinfulness, and of the grace that changes us!

  • Elizabeth

    Someone once said, “There is no limit to the depth of depravity to which we can sink when our eyes are not on Christ.”

    Wow, what a reminder. I will pray for both them and their families in this heartbreaking time.

  • http://rhesponse.blogspot.com Karen Kovaka

    It always comes down to God’s grace, doesn’t it? Which means our response to God should be one of total faith and total humility. Thank you for the reminder.

  • John Robert Moore

    Wow.

    Just… wow.

    I’d heard a little bit about this before, but didn’t thoroughly understand the situation.

    It’s very interesting and heartbreaking.

    *sigh*

    The post makes some good points. In combat, when soldiers relax and think they’re in the clear, they get killed.

    That’s pretty much how it is in every aspect of life, I suppose.

  • Anonymous

    “The most dangerous thing happening in the church today is not commitment, (although that is important) the problem is not our understanding of theology (although that is also important), the most dangerous aspect of the church, is how easy it is to talk the talk and walk the walk; to have that appearance of righteousness, self-righteousness.” Steve Brown

    I was able to hear Mr. Brown speak at a conference and what He said filled me with the fear of God. How easy it is to give the right answer, have the right attitude, and do what is “right”. I am guilty of this, because it is so much easier to seem “nice” and “good” then show myself and others what truly is in my heart and let the truth of God be shed in my life.

    I wonder what would happen, if parents, siblings, and those of the church, would desire to see the truth of their hearts and the hearts of others, even when the sight isn’t pretty. Are we so concerned about being right that the truth of our hearts are not exposed? Shall we ignore the danger of our deceit? Will I take off one more mask so you can see who I am? Or will I continue to brush my sin under a rug and hope it goes away?

    Thank you Alex for writing this post and being honest while doing it.

    What do you think could have been done to prevent what David and Kara did?

  • http://www.xanga.com/gingerandtwinkle hannah

    excellent point, witht the parallel of the speech.
    wow.

  • John Robert Moore

    Yeah. What if everybody knew our thoughts all the time. Would that change our actions? Would that change our thought process?

    Well, God sees every last one of our thoughts, and we must take our thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ, because God knoweth the heart, and will judge accordingly.

  • http://www.blogofbryce.blogspot.com Bryce

    Thank you for the thoughts…let us examine our hearts.

  • http://journals.aol.com/tehfifthfeather/affected Hannah (CountryGoalie)

    Thank you for this amazing post. Referencing the quote of, “There, but for the grace of God, go I” is so incredibly true. It really opened my eyes, and I saw the parallel, not just between the two things that you posted, but also due to some situations in my life.

    I know some folks who are struggling with different things, some of them things that make you say, “I never would have thought so-and-so would do such a thing,” or “I never thought that that could happen to such-and-such,” and it just wasn’t making sense to me, that people I thought I knew, that I had trusted, were part of such things. This post really helped me, not to open my eyes, because I knew what happened, but to -see- with them when they are open, and to at least comprehend situations that beforehand left me spinning.

    Thank you for following God, and putting The Rebelution out there.

  • http://www.TheAccount.blogspot.com David Ketter

    Great thoughts as always….God have mercy on us all.

  • http://www.HomeschoolBlogger.com/JenIG JenIG

    Well done. Thank you for posting this tremendous entry.

  • http://www.blog.seekingtreasure.org David Boskovic

    Once this thing has concluded I’m going to write something on it. I honestly must say that first reactions are to say, ‘criminals’ and put them in that class of below-normal-humans. However, as details unfolded, I began to unpeal myself from that view. I guess it’s honestly really hard to say, oh, we’re all that bad. WE want to hold onto some scrap of our own righteousness and convince ourselves that we are ‘better’. Although I fully understood the aspect of our own depravity, I never though of applying it to something so grossly sinful. I mean it’s easier to say, ok, we are capable of doing something less drastic, but murder, that’s a real reality check. Yet it’s there staring point blank in the face. We *cannot* be relied on to keep ourselves from evil. We’ve experienced on the small scale. It doesn’t really make too much of a difference on the large scale. Small sins grow. Apparently the whole thing resulted from an allowing of, 1) lusts 2) feelings 3) anger to gain control of himself. (all things we’ve experienced battle with at one time or another) Satan likes to use building blocks in sin, it’s so much more fun to watch a tall tower fall than a small tower.

    Thanks for your article. It’s filled with excellent insight. :)

  • http://blog.seekingtreasure.org David Boskovic

    Satan likes to use building blocks in sin, it’s so much more fun to watch a tall tower fall than a small tower.

    I should add — that’s why it’s important we trust our Savior now to save us from sin, while we have yet not reached a magnitude which will destroy us when we fall.

  • http://kelsa.blogspot.com Kelsa

    Wow…that just goes to show that we are all human and just because we are Christians doesn’t mean we can’t do something horrible.
    It makes me think….I guess I’m capable of doing something like that, I just pray I never do. But, I make mistakes and in God’s eyes it might as well be murder…so who am I to judge?

  • http://www.jesusredeemed.us/hannahs_spot/blog Hannah L.

    Excellent post, Alex. I had heard about this briefly on the news, but I had no clue that these two were Christians and homeschoolers. You always think people “like that” would never do anything “like that”.

    It is shocking, but also so true that deep inside, all of us -myself – are capable, and naturally bent, to be “like that”. It’s scary, but drives me to the Lord, knowing I should never relax and think I’m safe, but keep striving to lay hold of God and fight the sins in my life.

  • http://journals.aol.com/tehfifthfeather/affected Hannah (CountryGoalie)

    I feel rather dense asking this question, but how do I get a trackback URL to work? I tried to use it to link to this article from my post (http://journals.aol.com/tehfifthfeather/affected/entries/1722) but it didn’t lead to a valid page, so I changed it back to linking to the entry’s page instead.

    I would appreciate any help you could offer – even if it’s just pointing me to another website that can explain it to me.

    Thanks muchly.

  • http://www.rebelution.blogspot.com Alex Jordan Harris

    Can you do trackback with an AOL Journal?

    Tim, you had one didn’t you? Do you know?

  • http://worksoflewis.blogspot.com/ Jenna

    wow, an excellent post Alex.

    All too often I think we can feel “safe” because we’re Christians, we’re homeschooled, but all of us have hearts that are deceitful and desperately wicked.

    Keep up the good work :)

  • MiddleAgedMomma

    This is indeed a tragic situation. Reading further in the 2 message boards these young people were active in, you can read where they once had their eyes upon Christ. Then, less and less. In a conversation with her friend, Kara showed a decidedly different persona than the excerpts shared in your blog. Very sad. And very true that each one of us is capable of sin that results in grave consequences…especially when we get our eyes off Jesus. Kara and David, I’m sure – I pray, are viewing their situation with different eyes/heart at this point. I’m praying for them…and for their families.

  • http://manthano.blogzor.com manthano

    Excellent article. I posted some similar thoughts on my blog a couple days ago based on when I met David Ludwig 3 years ago at a Bible quiz we both competed in.

  • http://www.xanga.com/darklordofdebate Patrick McKay

    Hey Alex,

    Absolutely terrific post! I was thinking many of the exact same things when I first heard of this story and went and read the kid’s blogs and those of their friends. But for the grace of God there go I indeed. Excellent take on the whole story.

    Were you following the discussion that took place on David’s Xanga last week? It was very interesting seeing the wide variety of comments, varying from obscene epithets to expressions of genuine Christian love for David and Kara on the part of their friends and other Christians that came upon the site. If you’re interested in reading my take on the whole thing, I posted an entry on my blog about it as well: http://www.xanga.com/darklordofdebate . God bless!

    ~Patrick McKay

  • http://www.aerland-nomha.blogspot.com Kirk

    I was thinking about David. Not the present David but the David who committed adultery with Bathsheba and then murdered her husband. It is said in the Bible that he was a man after God’s own heart. But he sinned miserably. However, God forgave him. There were consequenses to his actions, but God brought him to repentance and forgave him. I hope the present David will follow this example.

  • Beth

    This is my first comment on this blog, although I have been a silent lurker for many weeks. I appreciate the good perspective on this news story that has captured the attention of many. I, like many others, wondered how to put the pieces together, yet this entry has shed some excellent light on the matter.

    We, as Christians, can’t think for a moment that we are safe or infallible. We are in the most danger when we become complacent in our Christian lives and stop constantly evaluating where we are in line with God’s Word. Satan has had thousands of years to perfect his methods of deception…why should we think that we are safe? We can’t keep ourselves from evil on our own strength…it is only by the grace of God.

    Romans 12:2 “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.”

    The story of David and Kara, while horrific and tragic, has similarities that are sadly in Christian teens…adolescent secret relationships, anger towards authorities, misplaced loyalties…. of course, most don’t end in murder, but this should serve as a wake-up call to America’s Christian teens. It is when we forget what separates us from the world, we are most susceptible to the hijacking of our minds by the enemy.

    This whole story is heartbreaking. It has caused so much grief and shock to many, and many prayers are being sent on behalf of David and Kara and their families. Yet, it is startling because it hits SO close to home.

    I probably haven’t said anything new, but those are a few thoughts…. for whatever it’s worth. I look forward to reading more. God bless!

  • http://www.rebelution.blogspot.com Brett Harris

    Beth: Thank you so much for commenting! Your comment was very thoughtful and much appreciated. It is when we forget what separates us from the world that we are most susceptible to the enemy. Well said!

  • http://heartkeepercommonroom.blogspot.com DeputyHeadmistress

    This is a good post, and I agree that we all need to look to ourselves and not be coplacent. But I think it’s interesting how different people can read the same thing and come away with different ideas about it. I also read David’s blog (and their friends’ blogs) and I was struck by his view of God as a vending machine on high. I wasn’t favorably impressed by either Kara or David’s expressions of faith- they were not much different than expressions of delight over a rock band or a new and very cool shirt, IMO.
    In reading those blogs I was also disturbed to see that for most of those kids murder and premarital sex were ‘making bad choices’ and nobody should judge those who indulged in those bad choices. But letting somebody’s parents know what was going on was worse than a bad choice- that would have been a very, very *bad* thing for them to do. These kids have, at best, a very twisted sense of values, right, wrong, sin, and good and evil.

    You might read this (and other news reports on the same site):
    http://local.lancasteronline.com/4/18786

    Did David Ludwig use his Christian faith to manipulate and get close to girls?
    …John Powers, of Long Island, N.Y., has written about the case on his Action Report Web site.

    In an interview today, he said that an anonymous source gave him access to Ludwigs e-mail account and that Ludwigs e-mails show Ludwig had another relationship with a girl he met while on a trip to Hawaii last summer.

    Ludwig had contact with several other girls around the same time, Powers said.

    In the e-mails, Powers said, He starts off preaching the word. Its a level of communication they all could understand, something they all have in common.

    The girls responded in the same vein, and the relationship developed, Powers said.

    Ludwig had gotten into trouble locally and, it appears, in Hawaii, for his actions in the past year, according to news accounts and the Web sites.

    The pastor of Ludwigs church told a reporter last week that Ludwig took a girl to Ludwigs familys cabin in Juniata County without her parents permission last spring, but that the girls parents did not contact authorities about it.

    In a story posted on Court TVs Crime Library Web site, writer Steve Huff said, David Ludwig, at least, seemed to use his faith in the same way other men use sports cars as a hook.

    I would also note that looking at a timeline of events, the ‘spirit led’ initiative to fix up The Barn as a place where the kids could go to ‘seek God’s face’ (because, naturally, David adn his pals could not seek God’s face at home or in their churches or with adult supervision) only took place after the family cabin was off limits to David because he took at least one girl there without her family’s permission.

    None of this negates your broader points, I would just be careful about taking those public confessions of faith as expressed by Luttig and people like him at face value.

  • Kathrynne

    As you remember even Satan quoted scripture to Jesus and he acknowledge the assistance of God and Jesus…in other words those two things are not enough to change the evil in our hearts…you must surrender you heart to the Lord and admit that you need him and him alone in order to be saved.

  • http://www.rebelution.blogspot.com Alex Jordan Harris

    DeputyHeadmistress: To begin, let me thank you for your input. Even from reading your (relatively) brief comment on our blog in response to my post on the subject, I appreciated the fact that you have diligently researched the issue. I too had been to Lancaster Online, reading the articles, and many of the lengthy comment sections. I had also frequented Crime Library and the Action Report, and read the released excerpts from the emails allegedly written by David and his various female acquaintances. All this to say, I was aware of the information you cite, before I wrote my post.

    With that understanding, I would respectfully defend my position on a few of the points over which we disagree, but primarily, just clarify several areas of misunderstanding:

    As you recognized, the message of my article was simply, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.” You see, regardless of the differences between David Ludwig, Kara Borden and myself, the only thing that separates me from them is the grace of God. Remove His grace, and I would be no better. In fact, I would be worse.

    To continue, you will notice that I never claimed that either David or Kara were saved. My first reference to Christianity was to say, “David and Kara, you understand, are churchgoers, youth group attendees, from Christian families, with Christian friends.” Later, I referred to them as “homeschooled teens from Christian families.” However, I did not claim that they themselves were born again.

    Our reason for disagreement, even if it is ever so slight, I would assume, stems from a different statement: my claim that David and Kara, quote: “bore many signs of true faith and an understanding of the Gospel.” In retrospect, perhaps I could have clarified this statement more explicitly by saying something more to the effect of: “bearing the outward appearance of faith and seeming to have an understanding of the Gospel.” However, the purpose of the statement was only to recognize that for a majority of their lives, and to most people around them David and Kara appeared to be saved.

    Now, bear in mind that when I say this, I do not necessarily refer to the several days, weeks, and months immediately prior to the murder of Michael and Cathryn Borden, but rather to the broader picture of Kara and David’s lives. I think it would incredibly assumptive for us to say that had we met David Ludwig or Kara Borden three to six months in the past we would not have thought them to be pretty normal Christian kids. David we are told was involved in Bible Quizzing and probably had the entire book of 1 Peter memorized (and most likely, had other books memorized as well, since that was just one competition). As one of our readers aptly noted, David had memorized more Scripture than most of us have. Furthermore, a fellow employee and college student who was interviewed in the aftermath of the murder said, “I considered [David] to be a good Christian he brought his Bible and read it during breaks.”

    Suffice to say that during a significant portion of his life David Ludwig showed more signs of being a Christian than many people who will never commit a crime. His familiarity with Scripture means he probably had a much better understanding of the Gospel than your typical youth group-attending, faith-professing Christian. ‘The Barn Project’ was described as the fulfillment of his father’s vision for their barn to be used as a church (“7 years ago Greg Ludwig had a vision that this place would be used for “church.” now 7 years later, God is beginning a work that is going to produce greater fruit than we can ever imagine; 30, 40, 50, a hundred fold! Our prayer is that The Barn may be a place of worship, where God is glorified, brothers and sisters in Christ are fed the meat of the Word, Jesus is worshipped, and God’s will is advanced in His time.”).

    To be frank, based upon the evidence that is currently available, I would reject the theory that David used his “faith” as a hook to manipulate girls. At the very least, I would issue a strong word of caution. The truth is that, in many ways, the effort to label David as a “sexual predator” is distinctly Darwinian in nature; attempting to label criminals as sub-human or somehow less developed (or ‘further depraved’) than we are ourselves.

    The quote by G.K. Chesterton, which I included in my original post, is appropriate again here: “No mans really any good till he knows how bad he is, or might be; till hes realized exactly how [little] right he has to all this snobbery, and sneering, and talking about criminals, as if they were apes in a forest ten thousand miles away; till hes got rid of all the dirty self-deception of talking about low types and deficient skulls; till hes squeezed out of his soul the last drop of the oil of the Pharisees

    Without expounding further at this time, and without claiming that David was nothing more than “starry-eyed and bushy-tailed,” I would caution all of us to guard our hearts from the tendency of our secular culture to preoccupy itself with coming up with some sensational explanation for sin, when the real answer is given clearly in Scripture, and applies to each and every one of us: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)

    As Kathrynne said, the “Christian”-like actions performed by David and Kara are not enough, by themselves, to change anyone’s heart. What this means is that we cannot be complacent or lacksadaisical about the state of our souls. If all we do is go to church, read the Bible, memorize Scripture, and say ‘God bless you’ in our personal correspondence, it’s not enough. And let’s face it, we don’t even do all of those things consistently.

    In conclusion, it all comes back to grace. We all are born with sinful and wicked hearts, and no matter how vast the distance between us and any given criminal… That difference is God’s mercy, and not our merit.

  • http://heartkeepercommonroom.blogspot.com DeputyHeadmistress

    Alex, I responded to your comment on my blog. I wont’ repost it here because, even though I am regrettably unable to take the time to respond to every one of your points, my reply was still too long. =)

  • Perplexion

    Kara and David’s blogs, as well as the new information brought to light, certainly does go to show the rampant misuse of Christianity and “Christianese” for selfish purposes. One lesson I believe we can learn from this is that each time we use a “Christianese” word or talk God, we should carefully examine our hearts to see if there is some hidden motive. I think we will be surprised at the percentage of our “holy urges” that are really very self-centered in nature when stripped away.

  • Wayne

    I have told my sons often – a man doesn’t go straight to the gutter – he takes small steps along the way and then all of sudden looks back and asks “How did I get here?”. One small compromise is all it takes to get on Satan’s path to destruction. I would challenge all here to realize that the relationship these two shared was outside of God’s plan for youth in arriving at the wedding alter. We are to “Flee youthful lust”. How can we say we are when we insist on intimate (from simply sharing our thoughts to sharing much more) recreational relationships with the oposite sex before we are ready for marriage? Let us follow the example of Genesis with Adam in the Garden – sleep until God wakes you up and presents you with His choice for your life. All of us should be wary that all it takes is one step in the wrong direction to start us down a path that could very well end us in a situation as bad or worse. May we never forget the fact that truly There, but for the grace of God, go I.

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  • Anika Q

    I just read this. And it scared me. Have mercy on us sinners, Lord!

  • Sue

    Thank you for your grace-full treatment of this tragedy. Our dearest family friends knew the Ludwig family through homeschool connections. Their children were friends with David. In the aftermath, our friends have come alongside this family, including David and your position of “there but for the grace of God, go I” is so true, so true! Scripture also says “if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!”

    We as onlookers, need to be very careful in our judgments of David & Kara’s hearts. God’s word is clear that all human hearts are “exceedingly wicked” and all have sinned and fall short of his glory. God alone is the Judge of man’s heart. We also need to be discerning in what we read, hear & say knowing full well that there is more to the story than any of us can know.

    Our God is a God of justice, mercy & grace. He can take even the most grevious of sins (although to a Holy God, all sin is an abomination) and work it for good to those who love him and are called according to his purpose. It would appear from what our good friends tell us, that God is indeed redeeming this tragedy, using David, who from all appearances is filled with a Godly sorrow, to work good according to his purposes.

    Again, thank you for your treatment of such a difficult situation that forever changed so many lives.

  • Latrice

    Wow…I am so royally impressed by what I have just read. I don’t know what to say. This is so convicting in so many ways. I truly don’t know what to say. Alex and Brett, when I come across young people who are doing God’s will with excellence, it gives me hope. I have a 7 year old brother, and I greatly appreciate the role-model that you are to him. Keep up the great work!

  • http://maidenofrivendell.blogspot.com Emma

    test a long while afterwards :)

  • Kirsten B.

    Wow! that last blog about how that guy knew David really hit home! Very true.
    It helped me realize that anyone has the potential. But He has to make sure he allows God to lead him, rather than Satan. It just made me realize that if we let it, it can happen to anyone- I’m a Bible quizzer too… so it’s weird to realize it can be ANYONE

  • http://www.ihateyouamanda.com Cheating Girlfriend

    I never thought she was capable of cheating, I guess I was wrong.

  • http://www.ihateyoumichelle.com Cheating Girlfriend

    So this is the way it had to end… with her on top of another man. Well, let\’s see the instant replay!

  • Sarah Pena

    This is absolutly horrible!!! It gives christians and homeschoolers a bad name.

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    Truly saddening and scary

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