Thursday, March 15, 2012

Ask the Murderer

Disclaimer: I'm a kid, so I may or may not have any idea what I'm talking about.

At some point last year, I happened to walk by the kitchen TV when Dateline was on, most likely because the channel had been left playing after someone finished watching something else. The story was about the abduction of Amber Dubois and the search that went on for thirteen months after the incident. Having a sort of morbid fascination with murder cases, I sat down and started to watch it. About three fourths of the way through my dad came in and turned it off saying it was too depressing. I went off without comment, but I've wondered ever since how the story ended.

Today I remembered that I never found out what happened and read this article against my better judgment. Aside from being a bit freaked out, the main thing that stuck out to me and made me wonder was the part on page five where the girl's mother interviews the murderer on how and why he did what he did (if you didn't read it, he saw her on the street, had an impulse to kidnap her, threatened her with a knife to get her into his car, drove her off to some random location, raped her, then stabbed her to death).

For whatever reason, I found myself on the point of crying as he told what was basically his life story - that he had always been impulsively violent, he did horrible things to people. He said he hated the things he did, but he kept doing them anyway. Or, here, gosh, I can't get this across the way I want to. This is what he said:

"I've done things to my family members, I've hurt them, I've hit people, I've beaten people, I've done a lot of things that I regret in my life and I wish I could take back. But I still do the same things over and over again. I'm on meds right now and you can see the anger in my eyes just trying to talk… I get angry, I blow up, I explode. I don't know how to describe it. I feel like I'm out of control with myself at times and I go and I do things that I regret for the rest of my life."

I don't know if you've ever felt like that, but I have. I've done things purposefully to hurt people I love even though I know that it's wrong and I know I don't really want to hurt them, and even as I'm telling myself it's a horrible thing to do, I can't seem to stop it. Does that make me exactly like this guy? No. Does that make what he did excusable? No. But it does make me think.

After giving some excerpts from the interview, the article goes on to adapt a skeptical tone towards the fact that the man actually felt remorse. The mother voices her opinion that he is a sociopath.

But from what I've read about sociopaths, they typically aren't aware that they have a problem, which this criminal is.

Curious, I looked through the comments to see if anyone said anything similar. All of them either didn't mention the murderer or said something along the lines of, "He's worthless and deserves to die a horrible death."

I think that the reason I became a bit emotional as I was reading what this man said was because it seems to be something I can relate to, the feeling of being trapped in sin. I think being trapped in sin is a very real thing. Yet all these people and the mother of the girl who is killed and her family and her media all deny having any similarity to him. I don't know, I just think it's incredibly sad. That we always condemn these people for what they do, yet never think to do anything about it, never think that they might be helpless victim to everything they do. Can't we try and help them?

As a parting comment, I want to point out another part of the murderer's story. He said that as he drove Amber to the site where he would eventually rape and kill her, she was not crying or desperately trying to escape. She was sitting there relentlessly asking him, "Why are you doing this? What's wrong? Why are you doing this?"

What would you ask?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Worship, Music, and Worship Music

When I started at my current high school last fall, something that made me react negatively was the music they played in the chapel session. It's the emotional, "Jesus loves EVERYONE!", "God, I love You so much and I never think about anything else" crap. Maybe I shouldn't give it that degrading term, but really, some of it deserves that. I mean, it has its place, but how many people actually mean the words they sing?

"I didn't like the speaker, I just go for the music."

"He was really preachy. Why couldn't we just worship the whole time?"

At school, one of the big deals is how many people just like that music for the emotional high it brings. Most of them do not really care about learning what it means to be a Christian. What they call worship is anything but. It is focused on them and how they feel, not on giving glory to God.

And anyway, nobody can honestly say "The riches of Your love will always be enough" because we're constantly looking to things other than God's love for fulfillment. Neither can a Christian claim "My faith is dead, I need a resurrection somehow" without believing that they are capable of becoming 'unsaved'.

Also, notice those songs talk mainly about God's love - something that He does for us - and very little about what we can do for Him, or about His glory, (you never hear about God's WRATH in those songs! That would seem SCARY and CONDEMNING!), or the many other attributes of our Lord. Aren't we misrepresenting God here?

The lyrics largely appear to be meant to make us feel good. While in moderation that kind of thing is a good reminder of God's love and our privilege as His children, 'consuming' only that or enjoying only that type of Christian music is like eating just stuff that tastes good all the time or reading only things that are entertaining.

Look at hymns. Why have we thrown them away? Is it because the way they're played is too boring? I think the melodies are wonderful. The words are compelling.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Pearls before swine

So, most of you know that oh-so-familiar passage in Matthew chapter 7 that begins “Judge not, that you be not judged.” This has been the battle standard of many Christians in recent years, who argue that this verse means we shouldn’t ‘judge’ (I get so tired of hearing that word) other people, mainly people who look… suspicious. Or unchristian. Or whatever. Actually I’m not all that sure what people mean anymore when they say “Don’t judge” because that phrase is so overused.

Anyway, if you read through the whole judgment passage, you will come upon another section. In my first / study Bible, both of these passages are included under the same heading: “Do not judge.” (which has big implications, that’s why I’m mentioning it) Of course I’d heard both of these messages before many times, but until the first time I actually read the whole of Matthew 7 I didn’t know those two were right next to each other. That first time I got confused. I actually wrote next to the Pearls Before Swine verses, “What does this have to do with judging?”

Here’s the text for you:

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’, and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Do not give what is holy to the dogs, nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.”

The second part seems kind of irrelevant, right? Well, I know that later I read this again. And this time I actually read the helpful little note thing that is under it in that particular Bible:

“Jesus did not perform miracles for unbelievers because it would not have respected what was holy. The point is how to handle the gospel in the face of those who hate the truth.”

At that point I think I started staring at the page and blinking, which is what happens when my mind goes “DUH! HOW DID I NOT SEE THAT BEFORE?” Now okay. I don’t want to imply that the guy who wrote the study Bible has written words that should be regarded as sacred / as reliable as the Bible itself. But what he says sure makes a lot of sense for those verses, doesn’t it? It sounds weird at first that God is telling us not to tell unbelievers (or ‘those who hate truth’, as he calls them. I like that :P) that what they’re doing is wrong. Because obviously it is and they need to know that. But chances are they already do know that, and this whole thing made a lot more sense to me when I started seeing it happen in real life. I would have friends who were genuine Christians and friends of THEIRS who were ungenuine “Christians” would tell them things that were going on in their life, and my friends would point them to scripture and God, and I would be sitting there going “WHAT ARE YOU DOING SHE KNOWS THAT YOU SOUND SO PREACHY.”

Since I’ve kind of seen what this passage actually means, I’ve gotten frustrated a lot with people who seem to think the ‘judging issue’ is so complicated and hard to discern. Because to me, it is there in black and white: You judge people who you know are Christians and tell them if they’re doing wrong because they will actually listen to you (eventually, maybe not at first), and you don’t do that to people who aren’t Christians because they could care less.

Okay, maybe I should back up a bit and explain my thought process. In the first part of the text it says basically, not to be a hypocrite, not to judge others as doing wrong unless you are ready to admit that you have the same problem and have asked God to help you fix it. In the second part of the text it says that you don’t give truth-haters truth because they will block it out. Agreed?

[Actually, I want to stop right here and say, yes, I know that all people hate and hide from truth naturally, so I’m not trying to be all “ooh, I love truth and you hate it, you’re eeeevilllll” It’s just a good handle to use to express what I’m trying to say. I dunno. Rather than ‘sinners’ (cuz we’re all sinners too) they can be the people who choose to hate truth and we can be the ones that choose to pursue it. Okay with everybody?]

So now that I’ve established that, the next occurring thought would probably be this: Christians should study and learn how to judge truthfully what is right and wrong, which will result in them becoming truth(judgment)-dispensers to the people who will take it and reserving truth(judgment) from the people who will not take it. So there you have it, you judge believers and you don’t judge nonbelievers.

Just to let you know, these are the beliefs I have from what I’ve been able to see in this scripture and draw from it. It’s made itself apparent in daily life as Godly (anyone know why that’s always spelled with a small ‘g’? and ‘Biblical’ with a small ‘b’? okay spelling freak side note ending now) and useful, which is what scripture / truth is supposed to be. So as far as I’m concerned it passes the truth test. That being said I’m always learning new stuff and one of those stuffs is that just because someone disagrees with me doesn’t mean they’re wrong and I’m right. If you have any expansion or argument with what I’ve said here I’d love to hear it!