Wednesday, February 07, 2007

More about (alleged) dirty filthy perverts

“To Catch a Predator” is back (check your local listings).  I’ll come back to that.

 

There seems to be a general misperception in “society” today that we only do things that we believe to be right, thus making us hypocrites if we say one thing and do another.  The church is fertile ground to find such hypocrisy.

The Reverend Ted Haggard is one fine (and latest) example.  He rants and raves against homosexuality and then gets busted for not only gay sex but also illegal drug use.  We could go down a long list of church leaders who have not only gone down, but gone down in spectacular style—a list that would even include some popes.

This apparent hypocrisy within the church seems to reinforce the irrelevance of the church in society today.  “Not even the church has the moral authority to boldly state right and wrong because even the church’s hands are dirty.”

It true to some extent, too.  There are all sorts of evil to be found in the church.  Embezzlement, pride, sexual immorality, honoring of false gods, crafting of idols, casting aspersions and slander against others outside (and inside) the community, covetous greed, megalomaniacal building projects, outright lying in marketing products, and preaching of false doctrines are only a few of the sins the modern church engages in.  Granted, most churches don’t engage in all of those.  Some churches engage in completely different sins.  Other churches engage in only a few.  But I dare say that each and every church—leadership as well as the congregation—has engaged in at least one of those sins (if not others) at some point, knowingly or not.  And anyone who will dare say they are without sin is… well, they should read their bible.

But the failure of a church is not its inability to abide by the moral law and follow the Lord, but the failure is the inability to boldly stand up and confess its own sins.  In fact, the failure of any Christian is not the Christian’s inability to abide by the moral law of God, but the failure to admit when he or she has not abided by that moral law.  It’s not for a Christian to stand up and say “but that is outdated and it doesn’t apply today” but rather it is for the Christian to stand up and say “I have done wrong, and for that I am sorry.”

The one hollows out God’s authority in the day to day operating of our lives.  The other places God’s authority right there in the front and boldly states that though I may stray, the path remains clear.

 

So, what does this have to do with “To Catch a Predator”?

Plenty.  I said once before (last time TCAP aired), that most of these guys were probably not “predators”, per se.  In fact, a double standard existed where guys were considered “predators” but hot blonde teachers who did the same thing were “misguided and mentally disturbed people acting out during a time of great stress”.

Bullocks.

Either the hot teacher was a predator, or the guys were merely acting out and blah blah.  My gut says that the answer is somewhere in between were some of the guys are actually dirty filthy predators (and many in this latest installment seem to be just that kind of scary sociopath, but not all) and others were merely acting out from a point of desperation in their lives stemming from some other source of hollowness.

But it’s exactly that hollowness that I’m interested in.  Where does a guy go when he’s under immense pressure from job, or family, or finances, or general emptiness, or whatnot and is considering doing something stupid that he knows is wrong?  To the cops?  What is he going to say? 

“Excuse me, officer, I’m considering going to shoot meth into my veins to get a major, if temporary, release from the stresses that are literally crushing my spirit.  Can you arrest me before I do it, or do I have to ruin my life first?” 

“Excuse me, officer, but I’ve been chatting online with someone who isn’t judging me against the yardstick that I’m judging myself against.  She’s very likely emotionally disturbed on some level since she claims to be 13 and sexually active and I’m clearly emotionally disturbed due to the fact that I’m considering driving over 50 miles to spend time with her—though I doubt I’ll actually have the nerve to go through with anything.  Can you arrest me now, or do I have to go ruin my life first for that to happen?” 

“Excuse me, officer, I’ve been under an enormous strain lately.  More than usual.  It’s the end of the month, reports are due at work, bills are due at home, and my car needs some significant repairs to boot so I’m in a financial pinch as well as a stress related downward spiral emotionally.  My wife is under similar work related stress (and no small amount of stress over my own stress) so I can neither tell her what I’m going through nor get comfort from her because of what she’s going through.  So, I’m considering taking my mortgage payment and spending it on a prostitute—male of female, I don’t really care right now, I just need some emotional attention if you know what I mean—and some drugs, but not before I go to the bar to take the edge off my nerves so that I can actually go through with it.  I know it’s not a permanent fix and I know it’s wrong, but I’m not really looking forward to next week, just tonight.  Can you arrest me now for solicitation of a prostitute and possession of drugs, maybe even DWI, or do I actually have to solicit and purchase and invite ruin into my life for that to happen?”

I don’t see any of those conversations ever happening.

Can he go to anyone else in society?  Nope, he’s labeled as a sociopath and blackballed forever.

Can he go to the church?  The church is afraid to say what is right or wrong out of fear of offending anyone or looking foolish.  Moreso it has lost the ability to be bold and admit that the people in the pews don’t have it all together as they look down their noses at anyone who would dare admit such a thing.  It has therefore lost its moral authority and social relevance.  We think of the church as the place where perfect people come to a perfect building to listen to the perfect preacher tell them how to be even perfecter every day.

That is simply not the case.  Meanwhile, those who are lost have nowhere to look and nowhere to go.

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