‘She went into the situation armed with an 8th Grade Biology class and a belief that the world is a decent place…’ from the movie, “trust_” The story is of a 14 year old girl, wanting to be older and less awkward [as we ALL are at that age], who becomes friends with “Charlie”, a compassionate ‘friend’ on a teen chat site. Charlie starts out being 16, but during a couple of months of ‘relationship,’ turns out to be in his late thirties, and he’s a sexual predator.
In the world I grew up in, predators were creatures in movies. The odds of running into a predator in Portland were pretty slim. In Corvallis I learned that predators could live in the dorm with you. A jilted lover who murdered a girl with a knife; and the scarier, in-house ‘security patrol’ who traveled the hallways at night, armed with whatever weapons they had handy. The murderer was a mixed-up kid whose intelligence was larger than his maturity. The farm kids who were out to ‘shoot a varmint’ were more scary, in my mind.
I encountered evil in Eugene.
A brief encounter, probably no more than an hour total. I realized that something other than my physical body was in danger; my soul was being threatened. I know now that my soul wasn’t really in danger; my Creator was at my side; but at the time, I was terrified by a guy dressed in white who apparently had tracked my movements across campus. Without GPS, which didn’t exist.
The Internet is, in my opinion, ‘Free Will, Writ Large’—there really are no limitations on what one can do via the Internet, thanks to the digital revolution that occurred while I wasn’t really watching all that closely. I used to think I was near the forefront of digital illustrators—I started drafting in Wordperfect Draw—something similar to Microsoft Paint, but more versatile. I still use some old graphics programs that are similar to GIMP; the ‘magic’ in digital art comes from the .psd file—computerspeak that allows one to create multiple transparent layers in a single image. The digital version of Walt Disney’s illustrators & animators creating paintings on transparent plastic sheets. I watched a Pixar biography tonight, and realized that I was doing a tiny version of their own experimentation with my own work. Seeing how far I could stretch the abilities of ones & zeroes to create an image. However, in the time that I was experimenting while trying to earn an income, digital art blew right past me. The growth of ideas has become exponential; as a result, incredible achievements are being accomplished by brilliant teenagers who don’t have the patience for the classroom. As a result, an intelligent child can learn how to create a bomb. A not-so-intelligent child can learn how to brutalize people more effectively…
We now live in a world where everyone is everywhere all the time; and the outcomes, sometimes, aren’t so good. Beheadings in the Middle East have been occurring for millennia; today they are filmed and broadcast around the world as public statements. A kid with access to a computer can learn all of the things their parents did not want them to know until they were mature enough to handle the psychological trauma that can accompany such knowledge. Our government can spy on us in ways that we never imagined; and there really isn’t a concept of privacy any longer. There will probably come a day when people’s DNA information is put on file at birth; ‘for our protection’. Police have DNA matches on serial criminals they cannot find, because they don’t know who the DNA belongs to; they simply know that the DNA belongs to a person who is a predator.
I am a follower of Jesus Christ, the Creator of the Universe poured into a human being, to the extent that a human being can hold Eternity and Infinity. I believe that the incarnation of Christ happened so that we could have a picture of what a life of Grace and Love and Freedom could be like. There are a lot of theological beliefs that accompany that picture; at the moment, I’m thinking about all of the evil that exists in the world. Most of that evil comes from people not that unlike ourselves. How can a “Loving God” allow such evil to occur? Where would a “Loving God” stop that behavior from occurring? Today I also watched a biography of Richard Pryor, whose father was a pimp who abandoned his family; whose mother was a prostitute; and who was raised by his grandmother, the owner of the brothel where his mother worked. Pryor’s comedy was ‘white bread’ until the seventies; when the young people of my generation started protesting the hypocrisy that was rampant in American society. I remember the conversations in college. The anticipated outcome from our ‘honesty’ was NOT a society where the government is run by corporate America, for the benefit of corporate America. Ironically, Wall Street was fed by the ‘entrepreneurs’ of my generation, who learned that morality can simply be a word that some people use to get what they want.
But it wasn’t supposed to be that way.
One of my mentors, Steve Brown, posted this on his website:
“The law reflects the parameters of God’s desire—not the parameters of his love. When those two get confused, then the law is used improperly.”
The Law of Moses and the subsequent books of the Bible were written to show us how things could work; teaching a society of slaves to live as a free people. One of the reasons that the Creator did not want the Israelite people to have the King that they wanted, in order to live like other people, was ‘you won’t like the outcome.’ Jesus was born around the time when the Roman Empire was at its height; and the Roman system of roads could provide reasonably safe passage through much of the world. Once again showing people a Way of Life. Foolish creatures that we are, we turned it into Rules for Living. Free Will does not like Rules. We aren’t meant to live under Rules; we are meant to live under Freedom; freedom that does not exploit the freedom of others.