In Which I Climb Down Entirely From the Fence

dreams about yogis

I seem to be on a very definite path lately. It is a path that is pointing me away from all of the other religions and belief systems that I have enjoyed exploring whilst on my truth journey. It started two weeks before Sage left when my extraordinarily intuitive Holy-Spirit guided friend Meg sent me a video that pointed out how some of the esoteric things in the New Age were Luciferian, and I saw the selfishness and deception embedded in some of my own spiritual seeking and was alarmed. That night, I experienced demonic interference in my dreams, which only confirmed what I had suspected. I threw out every esoteric book in the house, and the next morning, not knowing any of this, my son Sage told me that he had lied about all of his spiritual dreams and visions. That he had liked the attention. He would tell me all sorts of fantastical things that he saw in the spirit realm, and I had believed him! This went on for six years! What he told me very definitely influenced my own belief system. So all sorts of things started coming to light. I felt that via my son, I had been guided down a path away from Jesus and real truth by a darkness that was working through him. Whether or not it was all truly a lie, I will probably never know, but I am quite sure that I have been misdirected.

The truth can be a bit difficult to get at, and there are always imposters willing to lead you away with their mixture of 95 percent truth and 5 percent lethal lie.

Enter the dreams. I love them. I am guided by dreams and impressions from God, and am much the better for it. For example, last week I was very sick with allergies, muscle and joint pain. It hurt to move for days. When I was lying in bed one night about to pray, I got this visual image of myself drinking lots and lots of water. I also felt a strong impression to stop drinking diet drinks and tea all day long. So the next day, I drank lots of water all day long. The day after as well. In just two days, all of the pain and most of the allergies were gone! Amazing! I know if I had went to the doctor with that list of symptoms, they probably would have handed me a couple of prescriptions and been a bit puzzled as to the cause of it all. So I value this sort of guidance very much.

My nights have been lit up with a number of dreams that are so very real and rich with symbols that I know I am supposed to pay attention to. Last night, I dreamed that I was at a party and saw a gorgeous prince. I was instantly enamored, and flattered when he began flirting with me. Soon, he told his mother to give me the engagement ring that he had been saving for his bride, and she put it on my finger while the family announced our engagement to the party. I had never been asked, but I was so swept away with it all that I didn’t say anything. Then we were alone in an intimate moment, and a diagram of the seven chakras was all lit up around me with all of the colors. Later that evening, he informed me that I would be doing exactly as he said in our marriage, and made it apparent that he would be controlling my every move. Upon hearing that, I got away from him…FAST!

Then I woke up because someone was pounding on the door at 3:30 in the morning. These weird things have a way of happening when I am supposed to remember a significant dream. It took me a couple of hours to fall back asleep, and then I began dreaming along those lines again.

This time, I dreamed that I was having an interaction with a yogi who ran some sort of shop. He gave everyone a paper with a poem to read, only it was backwards. I was able to see it in the correct orientation, and he was very disturbed that I could do so, as his intent had been to deceive. Then I dreamed that I was telling the story of the dream of the prince to others, and well, here I am doing that. That prince — marriage to his sort is not what I want! I am a bride of Christ, who offers the opposite of the prince — total and complete freedom.

I had had another dream about two weeks ago of being in a dark cave with a yogi who was grabbing my breasts. I looked up to escape, and saw a hole with brilliant light shining through. I was unable to get through it though — there was too much of me!

The Hindu/Yogi dreams are due to my having become utterly fascinated with Hinduism and yogis. The reason for this is that some yogis seem to manifest more Christlike behavior than we see here from most Christians. So I started reading a lot of books by them and was enthralled by the wisdom. Some things didn’t sit right with me, though. I believe in surrendering to God, not a guru with human faults. And I know we are not supposed to hide our lights by meditating 24/7. But things like yogic superpowers (kriyas) fascinated a woman who is determined that people should actually be able to go heal people as Jesus commanded. I also believe that the “getting rid of self” aspect of yoga is right on. However, these three dreams were a warning to get off that path entirely — an answer to prayer, since I am always praying to be guided to stay on the narrow path.

I’ve had a few dreams about witchcraft as well. I used to be into Wicca in my twenties, and left off that after so much darkness began to break through into my everyday life that I slammed that door firmly shut and didn’t have anything to do with spirituality in any form for many years after that. In the latest witchcraft dream, I was wondering if the Christian “word of knowledge” was the same as having psychic powers. (For those who don’t know, a “word of knowledge” is when you get an impression about someone that is true that you wouldn’t ordinarily know. I get it occasionally, and it has helped me to avoid some awkward and untoward situations.) In my dream, a witch friend said, “I’ll show you,” and put her hands on me and transmitted energy to me. When that happened, my mind was filled with black and white static patterns like you’d see on old televisions that weren’t receiving properly.

And then there was the Abraham/Law of Attraction dream. That one showed the Abraham-Hicks person impersonating Christ in his resurrection and having her followers take communion. When I put the bread in my mouth, I was instantly swirled down into a dark abyss. I spit it out and woke up. (I wrote about that dream in this blog post.)

Islam has also been in my dreams. In one of them, I was in a Middle Eastern desert, and there was NO water. A prostitute was able to get a few drops out of a faucet, and that was only because she knew how to love. All of the religious people in the dream were without a drop. In that particular dream, I was also shown a Christian church. In that church, there was a huge waterfall, but sadly, only a few streams of water were trickling down what had once been a conduit for a very powerful flow. Of course, water represents spiritual life.

The dreams show me that all roads point to Christ. Yet even so, it is not simple. I have been directed by a dream to not attend a particular church. And most churches leave me cold, to be honest. I’m not interested in playing religion — not even a little bit. But I am not worried, because I don’t feel alone at all! I’m so thankful for the guidance.

The Early Disciples Were Stupid and Naive. Oh Yeah, and Crazy, Too.

stoning of stephenSo what are terrorists? Could they be, perhaps, a group of people who go around stoning people who disagree with their beliefs? Who imprison others who publicly voice different spiritual opinions? Can we agree that at the very least, living under this oppression would be undesirable? That we should, perhaps, do whatever it takes to keep such individuals far from our shores?

Wouldn’t it be better to bomb such people rather than risk yet another innocent person getting publicly murdered in a gruesome fashion?

Two thousand years ago, some folks in the Middle East had an awful problem with such people. These folks were called law-abiding Jews. The book of Acts does an excellent job describing the oppression that the early Christians of the day suffered living under these folks. The apostles were imprisoned, whipped and stoned.

In Acts 8:4, the writer describes how Peter calls for retribution after the stoning of Stephen. He talks about how it would be unjust for even a single other innocent to be killed, and how the Christians, as God’s new chosen people, should not allow a group of religious fanatics who worshiped God the wrong way to limit their rights.

Oh wait.

I got a little carried away there. That must be out of my Americanized version of the Bible. Here, let me check out a traditional translation. Let’s see. The NIV says, “Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.”

Hold on a minute.

They didn’t engage the these crazy Middle-Eastern religious fanatics in warfare? They kept on preaching Jesus? Stephen’s last words asked the Father to forgive them for gruesomely stoning him? What the heck kind of book is this, anyway??

Something is wrong here. This book I’ve been reading is anti-American. No God-fearing person could possibly be okay with Middle-Eastern crazies running rampage all over God’s people without putting a stop to it, right? Shoot, these people don’t know what they’re talking about! Didn’t they read the scriptures with all the smiting?

They preached Jesus. What unrealistic nutcases. Totally out of touch with reality, they were. Didn’t they know that they would end up being dead?? That their loved ones would suffer as well? Talk about fanatics!

It’s a good thing that we have better wisdom today. That we can stop terrorism in it’s tracks with a few well-placed bombs. Those folks two thousand years ago had no idea what was up, obviously. Maybe all they really needed were better-developed weapons. Today, there wouldn’t be a need for all that wimpy forgiveness and passivity. They could press a few buttons, roll up in a tank or two, and BAM — problem solved.

That must have been the reason, right? Why else would they have let these terrorists run right over them like that? Weren’t they afraid of DEATH?

Or were they just naive? Conquering terrorism and oppression with nothing but preaching and prayer — LOL.

Or maybe they knew something we don’t.

Just a thought.

Which Jesus Do You Follow?

barabbasI was reading the book of John this morning, and I came across something that hit me like a ton of bricks. You know how Pilate asks the Jews who they want to be pardoned, and they choose Barabbas over Jesus? Well, Barabbas was an insurrectionist — a likely Zealot who had committed crimes against the Roman Empire in an attempt to gain freedom from Roman oppression for the Jewish people. He was a man who was a Jewish nationalist.

What is really, really interesting about this story, however, is the name Barabbas. Bar Abbas, in Hebrew, means “son of the father.” As if that wasn’t strange enough, the original manuscript of Mark had his name as “Jesus Bar Abbas.” The early church father Origen had the name “Jesus” removed from the text in the second century.

So, you have two Jesus’s being held by Pilate. Both are named “Jesus Son of the Father.” One is crucified, one is set free. The one who was set free was the nationalist who fought to protect the national interests of the Jewish people. Does anyone think that perhaps the gospel writers were trying to make a point here?

Barabbas sounds like a noble guy — a person you’d like to have on your side if the country was in trouble. Yet, the gospels clearly show that his approach was not the God approach. The God approach was self-sacrifice. The God approach healed the soldier’s ear after Peter cut it off defending Jesus.

One argument against non-violence that I hear quite often is, “What if an innocent child was being attacked, what would you do then?” While I don’t have a good answer to that question, I can say with confidence that Jesus was most likely the most innocent person ever attacked. Yet when this was happening, He told Peter to put the sword up, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.”

I’m guessing the gospel writers had a good grasp of the tempting pull of nationalism over the Kingdom of God. After all, it seems right. Yet, we see who the mob persecuting Jesus chose to free — the brave nationalist who would preserve their state and way of life. He must have been a real hero! Jesus the Christ, on the other hand, wasn’t at all interested in preserving national interests or a particular way of life. “Pick up your cross and follow me,” he said.

Christians are being told that “Jesus died for your sins. He went to the cross and was resurrected after three days, and if you believe in him you will be saved.” The thing is, how on earth can anyone believe in Him if they don’t know him? And how can anyone know him if they are following Jesus Bar Abbas?

It’s something to think about.

War Begins in the Minds of Men

You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

If I believe that Jesus actually said the words above, and believe that he meant them and that He was telling the truth, then I have some things to think about. We all do,actually.

love your enemiesAnyone who knows me remotely well knows that I am anti-war. I believe it is a complete hypocrisy that people call the United States a Christian country while we are warmongering gun idolators. In my mind, a truly Christian country would have extended an olive branch after 911, seeking reconciliation. To those who argue that we had to “defend ourselves,” what we did was not self defense, it was retaliation and political opportunism. Self defense is more along the lines of the increased airport security we implemented. Anyway, that is beside the point when your defense is the Most High who created the amazing universe.

But I really shouldn’t be worried about what the nation or, in fact, what anyone else is doing. The focus right now needs to be getting the darn log out of my own eye.

What I am concerned with is digging the roots of bitterness and hatred out of my own heart. Change starts with me, right? In ourselves, in our families. Then our communities, then our nation, and then the world.

Who among us doesn’t harbor animosity toward another person? You know, the kind where if you read on Facebook that they got a bad haircut or gained 50 pounds, you wouldn’t be exactly sorry. Who hasn’t sat ruminating about the unkind words another person has said to them? Or talked about how messed up another person’s attitude and behavior is?

The thing is, we’re not supposed to do that.

At all. I don’t see any exceptions. Jesus never says, “Love your enemy except when they talk trash about you.” He doesn’t even provide an exception for when the enemy murders your entire family. Or invades your nation. Nope. He says, “Be perfect.”

It’s all well and good for us to talk about the atrocities that ISIS is committing, for example. Once again, someone has provided a convenient way for us to get the focus off of ourselves and onto a “bigger” sinner. We don’t get to do that, though. Jesus says, Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” Not just ISIS. He means me when I think hateful thoughts about someone who hurt my feelings or behaves in a manner that I don’t agree with.

Jesus knows the nature of reality. In the spiritual world, there is little (if any?) difference between murdering someone physically and murdering them in your spirit with your thoughts and words. Our entire universe is constructed of energy, and thoughts and words have their own energy. They are REAL. We must not hate or entertain the demons of hate.

We should pray for ISIS. We should say a quick prayer for the harried person who cut us off in traffic. For the friend who betrayed us. For the parent who didn’t meet our needs. For the husband who cheated. Everyone.

If we truly believe in prayer, how could we doubt for even one second that it’s more effective than bombs or any of the other fallout from hatred?

Are We Being Unfair to School Shooters and Other Mass Killers?

mass shooters and scapegoatsIn ancient Jewish culture, they had this tradition of symbolically burdening a goat with the sins of the people and then releasing it into the wilderness.

From Leviticus 16: “Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat and confess over it all the iniquities and transgressions of the Israelites, whatever their sins, putting them on the head of the goat; and it shall be sent off to the wilderness through a designated man. Thus the goat shall carry on it all their iniquities to an inaccessible region; and the goat shall be set free in the wilderness.”

Of course, today most of us read things like the book of Leviticus and find them hopelessly antiquated. The thing is, as a culture, we do this exact same thing. We have failed to realize that Jesus has showed us a different path.

Certain people play the role of scapegoat in our culture. These are folks like Aurora theater shooter James Holmes, Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza, Santa Barbara killer Elliot Rodger, and the latest — Seattle Pacific shooter Aaron Ybarra.

We can argue about the causes of such shootings and seek to eliminate them. Gun availability, violent media, mental illness and social rejection seem to almost play a role. But these “causes” are like blaming money as the cause of poverty. It’s related, but the root of the problem lies in our group consciousness and behavior.

I believe people like these young men bear our sins and are then punished for them — even after death. Most likely sensitive folks, they have internalized the dark side of our culture and are now expressing it. Once they express it, we get to point our fingers at our scapegoats and talk about how depraved they are and how much better our society is off without them. Our sins, at least in our own eyes, are absolved.

You may think that the creation of such scapegoats has nothing to do with you. The thing is, though, is that all of us play a part, some more than others. Here are a few things to take a look at. Until each one of us addresses these issues in our behavior and our hearts, we will continue to foster a consciousness that creates these bearers of cultural sin.

If you’ve ever looked down on another person.
If you think that violence is a solution.
If you support our violent media with your dollars and attendance at the latest mind-destroying flick.
If you’ve turned the other way when someone is being mistreated.
If you let your kids play violent video games.
If you think that your thoughts, actions and beliefs have no bearing on the whole.

There are many other causes of this scapegoat-creation, some of which I am not yet aware of. And I still struggle with some of this. But I’ll tell you what — I want to uproot each and every one of them from my consciousness and throw them on the fire. I want NO part of this sick ritual of creating such ugliness and then blaming the one who fully embodies what WE have created.

Just because we do LESS of what the scapegoats do doesn’t get us off the hook while they run into the wilderness of prison or suicide. For example, if I spend time denigrating another person, I am engaging in the same behavior — I just haven’t taken it as far. Why should I get a pass to engage in hateful talk about an “enemy” who is also a son or daughter of the Most High while being able to point the finger at a school shooter? When I allow him to be my scapegoat, I am spared examining the hatred within my own heart. And that is like allowing myself to continue to eat Oreos and Cheetos because, hey, at least I’m not 400 pounds. I’m still going to be unhealthy.

Jesus showed us that the scapegoat system was unnecessary. That God could forgive even people who tortured and killed an innocent — “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do!”

We can forgive these scapegoats. We can forgive them and love them and in doing so, acknowledge our own darkness and walk forward on the path of accepting the enormous love that God has to offer. If we persist in allowing the scapegoats to carry our burden, we’ll continue to allow our hatred and other dark slimy things to fester inside, stalling our spiritual growth.

And if we all made this decision to look inward? Well, I doubt we’d have a problem with mass shootings.

WARNING: Disturbing Content Ahead

Art by Caia Matheson.

Art by Caia Matheson.

This post carries the title it does because some of these thoughts have sent me into anxiety attacks in the past. It can be very frightening to question your reality.

As usual, most of my thoughts here come from my dreams.

Last night, I met a powerful religious leader. He had set up a communal society that looked like freedom from the outside. Inside, however, it was very repressive and dark. He had a forceful personality that was able to pretty much control the minds of whomever he came into contact with. People believed that their roof was supposed to leak because he said it should, for example. It made me think of how we say, “God meant for that (bad thing) to happen,” because a preacher has told us that’s the way the world works.

A woman was crucified on the side of a cliff by this man. Her bloody wings of flesh spread out in gruesome magnificence as she hung there. Religion does indeed crucify women, does it not? The people who participated in this crucifixion did not know they were doing wrong. They were following the religious leader.

They say that Jesus died for our sins. I think I have an inkling of what this means. Jesus was crucified by religion and other world power (government). He allowed it, I believe, so that we might see that religion and other world power is DEATH. To participate in those powers is to sin — ie. participate in something that brings death rather than love.

Not that love can’t be an outcome of someone who is participating in religion. It’s obvious that religion, to a point, can steer people to love, and that there are many loving people who practice religion. But at the point where religion becomes a hollow structure of mind control, well, that’s where the evil starts. And when you are the one leading people into mind-chains, well, woe unto you, right?

It’s okay to question things, even things you’ve been told about God since you were a child. I think God WANTS us to question. In fact, when we ask questions, He ANSWERS them! :-D

I also dreamed of worlds within worlds. When I woke up, I Googled, “world within worlds,” and found this article about theosophy. A lot of what I read rang true. I had already been imagining something very similar. This was like confirmation that my hunch could actually be true.

The thing is, matter vibrates at different frequencies. So you can have matter vibrating at a high frequency that you can’t see around you and matter that is vibrating at a low frequency that you can’t see around you as well. The article describes our visible world as an “octave on an endless scale.” So it’s possible that there are entities going about their daily lives in the same physical space we are in — we just can’t perceive them.

Unless you are born with superpowers, that is.

My sons have superpowers, as do many other people who have been labeled intuitive, psychic or schizophrenic. If this theory is true, they were born with senses that can perceive matter vibrating at frequencies that elude most other people.

It’s kinda scary to think of all this, and really cool at the same time.

I’m also starting to realize just how involved God is in my everyday life. I’m perceiving him in my reality more and more, and I simply love it. I asked him a question about some things Jesus said about the Kingdom of God the other night, and that very night he gave me a dream and woke me up at 4:44 right in the thick of it so I would remember His answer!

This is the type of thing that makes life truly joyful. It is the treasure in the field that makes you not care about owning anything else but that treasure.

A Lamp on a Stand — A Different Take

lamp on a stand
I like this teaching by Jesus:

No one lights a lamp and hides it in a jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, he puts it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light. For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open. Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken from him.

I don’t think this verse is referring to shining one’s own light or having one’s secrets exposed. I think God is the lamp who is not hiding under the bed, but rather, is offering knowledge for the taking.

As for the rest of the teaching, well, I’m thinking that when you have knowledge of God, embrace it and look for more, you get more. When you ignore the knowledge you’ve been blessed with, it goes away. It all comes down to personal choice.

There are some things which have been concealed that God will bring out into the open when you look for them. Sometimes those things are unsettling, particularly when they conflict with whatever religious framework you subscribe to. I often ask God questions and then become blown away with the answers I get. When that happens, my response is often to shut down.

For me, what “shutting down” looks like is my becoming very interested in shopping, the state of my manicure and making the perfect pan of brownies. When I get into that mode and stay there for a while, I look very well put together, but my knowledge starts slipping as I begin to feel disconnected from the Source. I usually reconnect myself pretty quickly, and then things start flowing again, with me attempting to not become too overwhelmed.

It’s a balancing act, and when I’m on that tightrope, I am learning to be brave in the face of uncertainty and theological lonesomeness.

What God Said About the 4th of July

American flag and cross

The American flag should not overshadow the cross.

Two years ago, my younger son was having regular conversations with God. He was visiting with God in a way in which he could literally see and hear him. One day, he and God were talking about holidays. He shared the conversation with me.

It turns out that God isn’t at all pleased with our holidays. My son told me how God finds Halloween to be an incredible abomination and Christmas to be the worship of things, not his son.

At this point, I considered the fact that my kiddo could have gotten these ideas from me. I am not a fan of Halloween, and I definitely complain about the commercialization of Christmas. My 12-year-old certainly could have adopted my ideas and projected them onto “God.”

Things got weird, though, when he started talking about God’s opinion on Valentine’s Day, a day during which much sexual sin is committed.(!) Then he talked about the 4th of July. He told me that God said that the 4th of July was idol worship. I asked him why. He said it was because people were honoring the country over God.

Note that all holidays are not awful. God likes Thanksgiving, according to my son.

At any rate, prior to that time, I had not given any thought to the 4th of July and any underlying meaning it might have. I was frankly stunned to hear those words coming out of my child’s mouth. Since that day, though, I have become more and more convinced that my kid did indeed hear God’s voice that day. That American Christians don’t question what they value. That we follow culture before Jesus. Stuff like that.

I’ll leave it up to you to decide if he really heard the voice of God. I’m pretty wary of saying things like, “Thus sayeth the Lord.” Nevertheless, it’s food for thought, right?

As a Jesus-follower, I consider myself a citizen of God’s Kingdom. The rest is small change.

We Are All Mentally Ill

we're all delusional
It’s easy to get a diagnosis of mental illness today, especially with the release of the American Psychiatric Association’s new manual, the DSM 5, which pretty much labels all human behavior as maladjusted. The DSM 5 has been subject to massive criticism because of this, but the thing is, maybe this manual gets closer to the truth than those of us who maintain that most people are sane.

The fact is, we are all suffering from a massive delusion. Collectively, we seem to be under the impression that violence is a solution to violence, for example. We have taken this idea to such an extreme that we are willing to risk the annihilation of the entire species (and several others, certainly) because of this belief.

We’re very quick to label mass shooters and someone who drowns her baby as crazy, and rightly so, but what about the rest of us? How are we any different? Going into a school and shooting fewer than 40 people is small change when compared to the carnage that our culture endorses on a regular basis.

We do psychological and theological flips to justify our behavior. After all, we reason, they might get us first if we don’t do something. They might take away our freedom. They might hurt us, somehow. They.

Earlier today I was trying to figure out what, exactly, the message of the Kingdom of God was that Jesus preached. I think I finally figured out just a bit of it. I think this is what Jesus was basically saying:

I’m the Messiah.

I will transform this earth.

You will be born again into the Kingdom.

I will transform your mind.

Do not sin. (Do not commit acts that are unloving, exploitative and dehumanizing.)

I am what God looks like.

The message of the Kingdom has been lost today. Jesus didn’t go around preaching that he had risen from the dead and was a sacrifice for our sins. He showed us how to be born again — transformed into a being that transcends the cycle of violence and retribution.

You hear a lot of stuff in church about accepting Jesus as Lord. What does this mean? I don’t think it is supposed to mean that we should think, “Well, okay, I’ll believe what you say so I can avoid pain later on.”

No way. Jesus as Lord means that we treat him as our Lord. A Lord is someone you respect and obey. You follow his rules.

So if Jesus is my Lord, that means I must obey the Sermon on the Mount, for example.

If Jesus is my Lord, then I will be a peacemaker. I will be light. I will set aside anger and judgement. I will love my neighbor. I will not put my perceived material or sexual needs above treating others with love. I will pray for my enemies.

And this, right here, is the cure for our collective mental illness. We don’t have to be crazy people who bomb those who don’t agree with us, threaten us or have resources we’d like to have. We don’t have to have violence in our personal lives, either. This is a delusion, and Jesus showed us how to overcome it. He showed us how to be. It isn’t easy, but it isn’t hard, either. We just have to decide to do it instead of searching for a magical formula that will somehow grant us eternity or blessings without growth.

Why You’ll Never Figure Out Evil From Reading the News

Just one of us. Our neighbor.

Just one of us. Our neighbor.

I think we can all agree that there is a trend towards bizarre and random acts of violence in our culture. For a while, I was reading about the backgrounds of the people who committed these well-publicized crimes. I wanted to know what made these folks tick, what they had experienced that made them erupt in such a destructive way.

I didn’t find anything that I expected, really. Not all came from broken homes. Not all were bullied. No one was found reading The Satanic Bible. Some of the murderers had lives that went beyond playing violent video games alone in their rooms. They are a lot like you and me, actually.

This should not be surprising, but it is, because our culture denies it. We do everything we can to put up a psychological barrier that says, “See, they are nothing like me. Not at all.”

We also simply deny this reality. I remember reading Anne Frank’s Diary in ninth grade, and at the end of the book, she says, “Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart.”

Anne Frank was wrong.

It sounds nice and all, and would be wonderful to believe, but it’s simply not true. The Bible plainly states the exact opposite.

As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good — except God alone.” Mark 10:17-18

I will never put a curse on the ground again because of man. I will not do it even though his heart is always directed toward what is evil. His thoughts are evil from the time he is young. Genesis 8:21

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? Jeremiah 17:9

The beautiful thing about Frank’s statement was that she was able to see the good in people. A lot of people can’t get past the darkness to see any of the light, hidden as it sometimes is. But that doesn’t help us figure out evil. And of course we want to. Evil is unpredictable and scary. We need a box to put it into.

This is where psychiatry often enters the picture. We say that people are psychotic, depressed, bipolar or any number of other things to explain aberrant behavior. This doesn’t work, though. Logically speaking, it makes no more sense to shoot children with drones in Pakistan than to set off bombs at the Boston Marathon. And as far as the Aurora shooter goes, well, perhaps he thought he was providing the type of experience moviegoers really wanted — a real-life version of the ultra-violence we worship on the big screen.

Shudder. Of course no one wanted that. But there is something rotten within us that makes it possible for gore and pornography to be extraordinarily lucrative enterprises.

It’s an utter badness that is uncontrollable without the Light who destroys darkness.

Every country at any time in history has had war, murder, rape and abuse of all sorts. It’s in us. It always has been.

The Boston bombers could be your neighbors, your brothers, your sons. Without the love and indwelling of God’s spirit, they could be you.

While I don’t think factors like violent video games and the love of assault weapons are the cause of this spate of violence, it is a sign of just how far we as a culture have strayed from the Light. We shouldn’t be surprised when it’s dark outside, very dark indeed.