Archives for category: justice system

The rock star, exposed soul and pecs with a rousing speech in front of thousands supporting tolerance (always good, right?) by announcing that anyone should be able to love who they want to love.

Oh. Really?

And then within a week I saw a piece in NYT’s Modern Love section devoted to the musings of a woman who had, apparently learned stuff from sleeping with married men.

Good thing people can “love who they want to love,” right?

In both situations it seems like the easiest way to strike a balance between my dismay and anger at the public aggrandizement of poorly lit behavior and my own private belief is to focus on that one, badly abused, word-

Love used to mean something. It used to be anchored to some pretty badass acts of self-sacrifice, public service, private solace, intimate compassion.

By co-opting a word of profound philosophical and etymological roots to stand in for other things, some of them very unlovely, transgressive, even illegal, we stand on the brink of meaningless cultural narcissism.

All while we insist on calling it



When I retold the horrible, awful, unbearable story of my adopted son’s  felonies, I usually punctuated the facts, the most basic, anodyne facts, with an unsolicited analysis of my grief-filled rage.

I said I wanted to take him down the street to the local biker bar, announce his sins to the crowd and then hold the door shut behind him.

It was such a clumsy, elliptical way to say that I wanted catharsis.

Now I know how to cathart, and do so a few times a week on a very uncomplaining heavy bag.

Lately I have had a single terrible image motivating each punch–an eleven year old boy crying out for mercy  moments after his rape and before his murder.

I grieve for him, the unmitigated loss.  I grieve; we let him down.

So I fight the mute bag, acknowledging that the words, when they come, will each be placeholders for the blows to the bag, which is in turn a scapegoat for  anger.

Not just toward the evil against this child, any child, but all the ways we look the other way, grow circumspect and pragmatic…

and let the monsters own the story…

and the dark.

I wear a mouth guard at night and a completely different one in the day

The night guards my nightmares
Things I fear will be
Because things I fear have been

The day guards my mouth
A boxing coach in the corner of each object I hit
Going 20 miles an hour

You can pray with your mouth open or resort to words you have needed
All your life Jesus I say over and over when all others fail

I say Jesus see Jesus
Never let go of my hand

I read a heartbreaking story tonight about a 3 year old girl who died from injuries sustained by a fallen dresser.

I cried.

But because I was insomnia reading I also got to thinking…

Yes. Securing furniture is a good idea. Heavy objects are dangerous for toddlers.

And it would be a screaming nightmare to lose a baby like that.

Before I found out my children had been abused by their adopted brother my public quest was to educate against back-overs and other preventable deaths.

And for the first month after I found out about the abuse I grieved in shock and thanked God constantly that they were alive.

I know too many sexual abuse victims who were not so “lucky.” They were murdered by their abusers or committed suicide after years of isolation and loss.

I used to pray for all those victims, now I know them:

The rape victims who never shared their stories.

I know why now.

I bet you do too.

No one shares my blogs. And I am ok with that now.

Unfortunately so are all the predators.

Because it takes more than a 5 dollar kit from the store to stop a child molester. It takes our voices. It takes our fearless voices.

Sometimes I am shocked by how much my perspective on humanity has changed in the last four years.

You would think that Hitler and Stalin would have been sufficient warning.

But they weren’t, and I persisted in the rosy assumption of human good until our story became one of trauma and survival. At that point the darkness became evident–in the reaction of the church.

In confronting specific issues related to protecting children in church from announced sexual predators I became a pariah.

It has the advantage of perspective–Isaiah’s nakedness, Hosea’s wife, John the Baptist’s diet: all make sense when you realize that God demands we confront darkness in the world. If we don’t our souls languish. If we do we end up alone in the desert munching on bugs.

Sigh. We should never suppose that the extravagant display of the prophets was just a fun little hobby to them.

It was not.

It was kingdom living. A kingdom where all the children are safe–surely worth the sacrifice.


We have a problem of biblical proportions.

In Judges 19 God recounts a story of such pervasive horror that our “natural” inclination is to step delicately around it and look away.

We shouldn’t.

We are now worse than the Israelites in Judges 19. We pay billions of dollars for “law enforcement” that does not protect our children from savagery, rape, and bullying.

The absolute weenie “husband” in Judges still has the moral sense to protest the gang rape-to-murder of his concubine.

When a remarkably similar event occurs in Maryville, MO the sheriff endorses actions of the perps and does nothing.

The doing nothing is the common thread here–over and over, case after case, “good people” look the other way as young women and children are hounded, raped, drugged, and harassed to death.

Shame. Shame on us.

We are so focused on our own survival amidst the wolves and predators that we are willing to throw our children to them.

Which brings me to the money question–where are true shepherds, willing to lay down their lives for their sheep?

Not in Maryville, Missouri, apparently. In Maryville the wolves keep score–

Matt-1, Daisy-0.

Jesus whipped people for less. Jesus lays down his life for his sheep.

Thank God for real justice. One day coming.

We will all have to answer.

When I was nine to ten I struggled with insomnia.

School was stressful and my antidote to the stress was to obsess about getting enough sleep. The more I obsessed, the less sleep I got…

Because of The Man in the Nightmare.

I had a recurring nightmare that I was being stalked by a man in a junkyard. The worst part was not that I faced this dream nightly, nor was it that it was the only dream I ever had with a smell associated with it–thick, cloying scent of flowers–no. The worst part was that if I fell asleep and had the dream and awoke from it in a cold panic, I knew that he would be there again if I fell back to sleep.

We are not afraid of the dark. We are afraid of what is in the dark.

I say all this because my “insomnia” resumed four years ago when I found out that a family member had violated the safety and trust of our home.

Nothing like finding out that you have let a flaming felon live in your house to make a body skittish.

But insomnia is not something I fear anymore. Mostly because of God, and partly because of the internet.

Now when I cannot sleep at a “normal hour” I read or write or talk to other late-nighters.

Tonight one of the night wakeful was my own child, grieving and broken over our family story and the real wounds inflicted upon her directly.

I stayed up with her. We talked about the hard stuff, and then I started reading her jokes.

So there you have it. Up late? Worried? Grieving? God is wide awake, bigger than the bad guys in our recurring nightmares.

There, always there, the kindest of listeners. Lulling us to sleep past the crisis with laughter and stories and the promise of one day.

One day comin’