The Murderous, Hilarious Human

The human is a creature of contradictions, capable of murder, wit, wry observation, and great perseverance, not to mention many other things.  Consider:

After a Boko Haram attack [newyorker.com]

After a Boko Haram attack [newyorker.com]

“Slaughtered Him Like a Ram”

Details are sketchy, but by some reports Boko Haram, the Nigerian Islamist militant group, butchered 2,000 people last week in northeastern Nigeria.

A 12 year-old survivor of an earlier attack, now living as an orphan in a refugee camp, recalls the death of his father:

I saw them kill my father; they slaughtered him like a ram. And up until now I don’t know where my mother is.” -Suleiman Dauda

Jesus, have mercy.  This is what the human has made his particular speciality for thousands of years: murder.

Of all the earth’s creatures, none is capable of greater evil than the human.

So, Why Not Destroy the Creation?

In Genesis 6-9 we read of Noah and the Great Flood that the Lord sends to destroy the earth.  When I read of what’s happening in Nigeria or Syria or some other place, I think, “Why not wipe the whole thing away, Lord?  Why not stop all the killing?”

"Noah's Ark," Abbey Church of Saint-Savin-sur-Gartempe, c. 1100 AD

“Noah’s Ark,” Abbey Church of Saint-Savin-sur-Gartempe, c. 1100 AD

For people like me, living comfortable lives in comfortable places, it’s easy to be troubled by the Lord’s decision to kill everyone.  But if we were living in the midst of the kind of suffering and misery and murder that’s happening in Syria or the Borno state in Nigeria, would we be praying for God just to end it all?

When we honestly contemplate the violence of which the human creature is capable it seems that God was right: the slate needs to be wiped clean.

But the Creation’s Still Here

So, why didn’t the Lord finish the job and completely destroy our entire race?

The Deadly Mix

The human is a mix of the brutal and the beautiful, of violence and humor.  While murder was happening in Nigeria (and many other places), there was an NFL playoff game yesterday between Dallas and Gren Bay.  After Dez Bryant’s remarkable catch was controversially overruled by the officials, someone posted on Twitter:

The same creature that is capable of the murders in Nigeria is also capable of a wry, funny observation in 140 characters or less.  That tweet by Brandon McCarthy is just about perfect, isn’t it?

Plus a “Bro Country” Mashup

An aspiring country music songwriter named Greg Todd wanted to prove that there is a simple formula that the writers of the top “Bro Country” songs all follow.  So, he laid the songs over each other in an audio mashup, and made a video of it:

The same creature that is capable of murder and writing witty 140 character sentences is also capable of astute analysis of a pop cultural phenomenon.  And capable of putting his analysis together in a way that pokes good-natured fun at the industry in which he wants to succeed.

And Then We Have The “Ghost Boy”

Martin Pistorius lived a real-life nightmare: he was totally unable to move for 12 years, but everyone thought he was in a vegetative state.  For 12 years, he was a prisoner in his own body, able only to control his thoughts.

Martin Pistorius sometime between 1990 and 1994, when he was unable to communicate. [NPR]

Martin Pistorius sometime between 1990 and 1994, when he was unable to communicate. [NPR]

His story is one of the more remarkable (and blackly humorous) stories I’ve heard in years.  At one point, Mr. Pistorius talks about how much he hated the television show Barney that was always on the tv in front of him, day after day; his admission made me laugh out loud. (Listen to the 11 minute NPR story yourself.)

Maybe God Knew

I’m not saying that a funny Tweet, entertaining YouTube video, and the testimony of a man imprisoned in his own body somehow balance out the horrifying murders in Nigeria.  I’m merely pointing out how strange a creature is the human: all of the different examples above are the actions of the exact same species.

Maybe God knew what a bizarre mix the human was.  Maybe, while hating the sin in the human, the Lord also loved the humor, invention, perseverance, and love of which the human was capable.

Maybe God isn’t through with us yet.

 

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12 thoughts on “The Murderous, Hilarious Human

      • Amen to that. I am looking forward to the harvest (I think). I pray I will be one of the sheep and not one of the goats (also from Matthew, but 25:31-46 this time), and I think your “first confession and repentance” thoughts below are right on. I need more of that in my life. I am striving to work out my salvation, but with a fair amount of fear and trembling. And some of that fear and trembling is probably coming from Boko Haram, but a lot of it is coming from love and respect for what our Lord and Savior has done for us and what he is offering us as an antidote for our human condition (or Satan, if you prefer).

        • What I like about the parable of the wheat and the weeds is how they are both growing together. Evil increases, but so does good. Such a fascinating parable.

  1. Exactly what I needed to read after a long conversation with a friend struggling with the impacts of his own sin. Those impacts are real, but I had to keep reminding him they’re not all he is.

    Sideline: Being someone’s confessor at even an entry level is really draining. I don’t know how pastors do it daily.

    • Right–such a strange mix. We’re capable of really messing stuff up, but also capable of being redeemed. One thing’s for sure: there’s no redemption without first confession and repentance. Being honest with you might be exactly what your friend needed,

  2. There are 3 things in Exodus that I am wondering about. They make me feel uneasy. Am I reading the bible too literally? Do you have any ideas about this stuff?
    1) God trying to kill Moses.
    2) Did Pharaoh even have a chance? Was he destined to have a hard heart? Although he does ask Moses to bless him?!?
    3) In verse 9 all the horses are wiped out but a few chapters later Pharaoh has horses for his chariot. Where were they?