An unworthy Deacon, named for the brother of God: James, striving to "work out his salvation with fear and trembling" within the Tradition (paradosis) of the Eastern Orthodox Faith. It is a strange and marvelous journey, and I am accompanied by the fourfold fruit of my fecundity. My wife, the Matushka or Diaconissa Sophia, is my beloved partner in the pursuit of Theosis, and she ranks me in every way.
I saw a news story today in which two young teens (14 and 15) viciously...and I mean VICIOUSLY beat a 17yo who was being ostracized by his "peers" in his quest for a seat on the bus (Been there myself - minus the beating.) I known that teens can be cruel, but wow...I never saw anyone get beat this badly in my high school experience. I've no idea if things are getting worse, we have a natural tendency to think that things are but it is really hard to know for sure. This, however, brought to my recollection THIS horrific news item from a couple of years ago. My boys are in this age range and I am reasonably sure that they no NOTHING about human reproduction, let alone have they ever expressed any yearnings in the direction of sexual behavior. So, this truly is shocking.
I worry about our future - faithless one that I am. In our secularized culture (from schools to media), kids learn rather quickly that what they are being taught MEANS something and we should not underestimate their ability to connect the dots. You cannot continually tell a child that they are really no different than animals and then not expect them to start acting like it! Nor can you fill your child's head with media violence and sex (coupled with the aforementioned inept secular morality of this age) and then not expect them to mimic the lauded behavior! You cannot continually downplay individual achievement and self-reliance and then be shocked when more and more adults are fully addicted to entitlement to equal results despite performance! You cannot flood the minds of youth today with consumer passions, inflaming them continually and lauding their fulfillment and not expect that tomorrow they will find their lives devoid of meaning and choked with debt! (Of course we are currently helping to provide that debt for them!)
You know me, I don't believe this is a call for government to step in and socially engineer us...heck I think that is in no small way what got us into this mess! Rather this is an opportunity for holiness to shock, overwhelm, overcome, and attract. A sober vision of the human person as an Icon of God, expressed and lived by each of us DAILY, will go a long way to showing the bankruptcy of they way we currently are living AND teaching.
I wonder if it is getting worse, too. Hard to tell and when I see data, hard to know whether to trust it. Fear is certainly the great manipulator -- everyone and every faith seems to use it -- and we do live in a fearful age, though it is nothing like living through WWII when the Nazis were on the brink of world domination, and it doesn't seem as hopeless as the 70s, when I had my backpack ready to go in case the Rapture happened (yeah, I figured my parents and siblings would go and I'd be left behind) or the Soviets decided to fling a few nukes our way. Today's threats seem less state sponsored and more personal -- the guy with a box cutter who hijacks a plane and flies it into a building, the neighbor down the street who kidnapped a girl years earlier and still has her as captive, camping out in his backyard. Makes me wonder what's going on in the backyards around my neighborhood. The greeting "hello neighbor" used to be akin to saying "hello friend," but no more.
My problem with data is that we very rarely seem to get raw data (including the manner in which it was collected). What we get is statistics. A degree in math and some thinking have taught me that statistics can be made to say almost whatever one wants them to say.