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Pastor Davey Blackburn: Don’t Let My Wife’s Death Be in Vain

davey and amanda blackburn
Amanda and Davey Blackburn

On November 10, 2015, Amanda Blackburn, 3 months pregnant, was shot to death in an Indianapolis, Indiana home invasion. Blackburn’s killer, Larry Jo Taylor Jr.,18, and his accomplice, Jalen Watson, 21, have  been charged with murder and a host of other crimes.

Amanda Blackburn’s husband, Davey, is the pastor of  Resonate Church in Indianapolis. Last Sunday, Pastor Blackburn told the church that he plans to step away from the pulpit to grieve and to figure out, going forward, what’s best for him and his son, Weston.

According to Leah Marieann Klett, a reporter for the Gospel Herald, Davey Blackburn wanted to make sure his wife’s death is not in vain. Blackburn stated:

“I don’t want this tragedy to be wasted, so I want to capitalize on seeing more and more people coming to know Jesus as their personal savior.”

Blackburn went on to say:

 “It’s difficult to process through everything right now. One thing I do know and that I’m confident in is that through this entire season, what the Lord wants us to do and what Amanda would want us to do is not give up any ground. I wholeheartedly believe that God has still called me to Indianapolis, that He called our family to Indianapolis, and Amanda gave her life to see Indianapolis changed.”

It’s been four weeks since Amanda Blackburn was murdered, and I think I can safely say that her husband’s aforementioned words were not uttered in a moment of extreme grief. While I’m sure Pastor Blackburn is still grieving, his words reflect the calculations of a preacher who doesn’t want to waste an opportunity to use his wife’s murder as a motivational tool or a “teaching” moment.

Evangelicals are taught to always look for the bigger picture. When life turns on them, Evangelicals are expected to divine God’s purpose and plan. This is why Davey Blackburn said, “I don’t want this tragedy to be wasted, so I want to capitalize on seeing more and more people coming to know Jesus as their personal savior.”  Blackburn believes there MUST be some sort of greater meaning or purpose for his wife’s murder. Pastor Blackburn hopes that, like Jesus’ death, his wife’s death will have a salvific effect on sinners.

My wife’s Evangelical family responded  in similar fashion to her sister’s 2005 death from a motorcycle accident. If one soul gets saved through this, it is worth it all.  “This” being the tragic death of a wonderful daughter, sister, aunt, wife, mother, and grandmother.  Several months ago, I wrote a post about Kathy’s death. Here’s what I said then, about the value Polly’s Evangelical family put on her sister’s death:

 No, it’s not. How dare we reduce the worth of a life, this one precious life, to that which God can use for his purpose. A husband has lost his wife and his children are motherless. Her grandchildren will never know the warmth of her love. Her sister and parents are left with memories that abruptly stopped the moment their sister and daughter hit the pavement.

No, I say to myself, I’m not willing to trade her life for anyone’s salvation. Let them all go to hell. Give us one more day when the joy and laughter of family can be heard and the family is whole; one more day to enjoy the love and complexity she brought into our lives…

And I say the same thing now to Pastor Blackburn and Resonate Church. Using Amanda Blackburn’s death as a motivational tool cheapens her death, reducing her to little more than a prop to be used in the evangelization of sinners.

Blackburn’s death is a tragic waste of precious human life. There’s nothing redeeming about her murder. There’s no possible way to turn this tragedy into rainbows and fireworks. While I certainly understand, as a former pastor myself, the need to  comprehend some greater cosmic purpose in senseless tragedies like this one, I can’t think of one redeeming aspect of Amanda Blackburn’s death. In fact, to put Davey Blackburn’s theological pronouncements to the test, I suspect that Pastor Blackburn would be quite willing to let all of Indianapolis go straight to hell if it meant he could once again wake up in the morning and find his precious wife busily doing her hair and makeup as she prepares to face another day.


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    I’m so glad you’re writing about this case.

    Both Amanda and her sister attended Pensacola Christian College.

    Amanda stated that she and Davey had only spent a total of a few weeks together. The rest of their “courtship” was long-distance. I know that many parents who send their daughters to PCC are big into the “Biblical Courtship” movement. It’s not known whether her parents were but Amanda and her sister doubled dated with Davey and his best friend.

    In a video of Davey and Amanda a few weeks before her death it’s telling thing that Amanda, herself, stated their marriage turned bad the moment their honeymoon ended. She mentioned she considered leaving Davey. He repeatedly spoke over her in this video.

    Davey had publicly demeaned her sexually and personally time and time again in his “sermons.”

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    It is sad and will always be a tragic waste of a young life, but the pastor would be much better trying to suggest some sort of gun control. Of course, the ultimate paradox (for people in civilised countries outside of the US) prevents this; guns and god go together as surely do Punch and Judy or Abbott and Costello.

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      Many are beginning to believe Davey may have had something to do with his wife’s murder. No he wasn’t the shooter but his own actions, words and complete lack of concern, has caused 1000’s of both Christian and Non-Christian people to join with Davey’s former Pastor’s “something’s not right with that boy.”

      His former pastor stated at Amanda’s funeral and more recently in a media interview referred to him as “Crazy Davey,” and that this pastor had misgivings about Davey when he met him…but Amanda made Davey a better man.

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        Seems very convenient that he happened to be gone, and the “break-in” happened in the early part of the day which in itself is very unusual. So how did you know her?

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    So sad. I expect if Amanda had a choice she’d tell Davey to stop using her for Christ’s gain.

    My friend died many years ago, in her 30’s on her way home from a family Christmas Eve gathering. Her husband and children survived. She was killed having taken the full extent of a T-bone crash broadsiding the car. Complete blinding snow blizzard. Her memorial was the kind where people were giddy with the excitement of how many would come to the Lord and maybe join the church as the result of her death. What better way to get the gospel out there to fence-sitters, carnals, and the unborn sinners. I well remember the prayers for her father, not a Christian. I prayed fervently that he’d be saved, that his heart would soften towards the gospel through the message delivered that day. Through hearing how important her life was and her faith. Here’s the thing. I know she’d rather have lived, though knowing her mother’s heart I could say that if she knew or had a split-second inkling she’d whisper, ‘No, please, leave them take me.’ I’d have whispered the same prayer if it had been me.’ But her preference that night would have been no sudden blinding snowstorm that came out of no where on a road where nothing could be seen. Babies resting in the back, helping her husband with navigation while rejoicing at the family gathering that she had longed for, a reconciliation of sorts that was long in the making and then without warning, the storm blinding and deafening, sudden sounds of metal and glass crushing and cutting. Dead.

    She wanted to live. She told me she wanted to live a long long life. To get very old and see her children marry and be a grandmother. She longed for it. The rest of us wanted to get raptured like, yesterday. But not her. The Lord could come but not until she’d lived a good long life with her family, her children etc. Her husband did remarry and I don’t think it is a shock that he became . . . wait for it . . . a pastor. I often wonder how often his second wife and children have heard the story given, time and time again.

    Amanda did not give her life. Neither did my friend. They had no choice in the matter. There was no free will handed out to them in this. Davey and others assume that Amanda was in agreement to die if indeed it’ bring’s more to the Kindgdom. How sad.

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      Bruce Gerencser

      Thank you for sharing this, Zoe.

      I regret that I robbed families of their opportunity to collectively remember their dead loved ones. Their deaths were little more than a pretext. Their funerals became a church service where everything in the services were meant to win lost sinners to Jesus. It sickens me to even think about it.

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    For some reason, I have been suspicious of this man from the very start of this case; too many things don’t add up. I do however, hope I’m wrong, though.

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    I feel sorry for Amanda. The Jesus she so loved and dedicated every minute of her life to did not see fit to protect her from a murderer who just wanted to kill someone for no particular reason. It strikes me that Jesus and God are not nearly so dedicated to those who are dedicated to them.

    I don’t see how your wife, sister, daughter, friend being murdered could possibly draw you to the God who wasn’t there. I can definitely see wanting the tragedy to have some kind of meaning, instead of what it seems to be in reality–some poor woman being in the path of pathetic losers running around burglarizing houses with a gun to kill whoever they feel like killing. I mean, God should take better care of his adoring children, it seems to me. But, he doesn’t.

    Both Amanda and Davey grew up heavily in the world of “it’s all about saving lost souls.” I guess that’s the only way he has to see the world-everything’s in the service of saving souls. It seems sick to me.

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      What has always hurt me so deeply is the complete and utter abandonment of human love that is adopted to correct us as children, to raise us to the standard set. Christian parents abandon their children for God and they have the delusion that they are doing the opposite.
      It is in my view as well, Lynn123, a sick way of living.

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    Daniel Wilcox

    Your one line says it all, “How dare we reduce the worth of a life, this one precious life, to that which God can use for his purpose.”

    The worst tragedy–absurdity–is how Christians say this sort of stuff so often.

    If you remember (I think I mentioned it before), the minister at my dad’s funeral last year took time out in his sermon to tell every little child (our 3-and 5-year old grandkids were in the front row) are “little guilty sinners.”

    I wanted to run up and punch him in the nose. What did his Calvinism have to do with my dad’s death?

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      There will come a time when people come-to from their slumber and see, clearly see how much harm is done to children by fundagelical religion. It seems designed to harm, to berate, shame and bring misery into young lives. Daniel, your wish to punch him in the nose is a healthy response. What should we do when grown people attack our kids?
      To begin, to begin to name the harm done in these religious circles is very important. There is no excuse for harming children: Not God or lack of it, not anger, not previous abuse….. no excuse. You punch his nose and I’ll kick his sorry ass. Preacher, you are ignorance personified! You are dangerous to children.

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      Bruce Gerencser

      Yep. I’ve sat in several funeral services in recent years where I’ve wanted to strangle the officiating pastors over their attempts to use fear and guilt to prod “sinners” into getting saved so they can one day be with their recently deceased loved ones.

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    John Arthur

    Hi Bruce,

    It’s tragic when someone dies young. If compassion and loving kindness were uppermost in a pastor’s mind and heart, he or she would never use it as an opportunity to preach Fundamentalism. The relatives and friends of this young lady are grieving and the pastor should seek to comfort them and celebrate the life of this young lady. Nothing can take away the tragedy of this event and nothing can bring her back to life.

    Preaching about sin, judgment and Fundamentalist salvation is totally uncalled for. Love, compassion and comfort are minimised when a funeral service is used to preach at people. None of this should occur and civil funerals are very often far kinder than Christian ones.

    I hope that Davey will reflect on the primary importance of compassion and kindness, not getting biblical dogma out in inappropriate settings.


    John Arthur

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