This is a Rant…

A long, long time ago, when I was a couple of months into Seminary, I read a book about Bob Pierce, the founder of World Vision. The book was called “This One Thing I Do”, and I recommend the book to, well, everybody.  The book tells about a prayer that he prayed early in his life.

He said: “Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God.”

As a young, motivated, eager-to-be-used-for-something-important kind of guy I decided that I should pray the same prayer, and so I did. A word of warning: Do not do this unless you are ready for an immediate, all consuming, mega-powerful change in your life. The prayer is real, and I am honest enough to say that there are times I regret praying it.

The “sad” things we see on the news (and forget when our favorite show comes on) began to have a true and lingering impact on me. Those stupid, corny infomercials about saving children and pets and old people became real. Most of all, the combination of this prayer and the birth of my first daughter made any knowledge of child abuse or neglect nearly unbearable.

A couple of days ago, one of the worst stories in a long time, that of Caylee Anthony and those given the privilege of caring for her, came to somewhat of an end as a jury found her mother not guilty of murdering her own child.  The prosecution in the case screwed the trial up completely, and in the end it could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that this woman murdered her daughter.

Who knows if she actually did it or not? We’ll probably never know. What I do believe is that this woman had an in-depth knowledge of what happened to her daughter and all the while she was getting tattoos, partying with some idiot boyfriend, and participating in hot body contests. Forgive me, but in my mind this makes her no less guilty than if she had done it herself. And maybe she did.

Let me head off some potential responses.

  • There’s no actual scientific proof that the mother did anything wrong.

Fair enough. If your belief is that she did her job, that of caring to the utmost degree for the child she was entrusted with, and had zero knowledge of what happened to that baby girl, then you’re wrong.

  • Sin is sin, wrong is wrong, no matter the crime.

Would I waste a blog post on someone aquitted of robbing a convenience store? Probably not, and you wouldn’t blame me. God may see all sins equally, but we are not God, and like it or not humanity has differing degrees of evil. It’s part of our imperfection, and if you don’t believe that, then you’re wrong.

  • She’ll get hers in the end.

I completely agree, but if I’m being honest, it doesn’t make me feel that much better. I want justice, and I want it right now. Many of you feel the exact same way. Problem is, I can’t think of anything horrible enough to make it feel like justice. There’s nothing. If you are not moved enough to want someone to pay for this girl’s death, then you’re wrong.

  • Let he who has no sin cast the first stone.

Yeah, I hear you. I’m not perfect. Far, far from it, in fact. All of my friends and family can vouch for that. Think no one has the right to judge her? You’re wrong. And if you pay money for a book or movie that she profits from, the you’re an idiot.

I heard an interview once with the great Jonathan Franzen…he said something to the effect of “…good fiction occupies a middle ground.” In other words, it’s ambiguous. The reader gets to choose their side; choose what’s right and wrong. The author does not choose for them.  I couldn’t agree more, and that’s mainly why my story, “The Pebblestone Five“, is probably not very good fiction.  

The story does not occupy a middle ground. It takes a side. I wrote the story immediately after another heartbreaking news story about a young child, and I realize now that I wrote it because I needed justice. I needed good to triumph over evil. I needed the good guys to win. It doesn’t change reality, but if I’m being honest, it makes me feel better.

Caylee, I wish I knew what to say. We left the light on for you. For whatever it’s worth.




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2 responses to “This is a Rant…

  1. I’m thinking about Franzen’s remark that good fiction is a middle ground…not sure that I agree. Obviously, the reader needs to meld things with his own interpretation, and as Murakami says, things should be “wide open to possibility”. But, middle ground? That sounds like a land of soup…muddy, where everything is nebulous and undefined.

    That said, I wonder if your piece is not good fiction. If you took a stand, I’d probably like it. More than I like Franzen, anyway, who writes of such depravity.

    • Bellezza,
      Your comment is appreciated. It must be the ever-present commercial aspect that creeps into the writer’s mind. Wasn’t it Wilkie Collins about who they said: “What brought good Wilkie’s genius nigh perdition? Some demon whispered – ‘Wilkie! have a mission.”
      Still, it’s good to know there are readers out there who agree with you.


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