Tasered: Should Being Dumb be Against the Law?
So who doesn’t know about the 17-year old Phillies fan who ran onto the field in bottom of the eighth inning of Monday night’s game? In case you don’t (where have you been?) here are the story and the video.
A Google search of the exact phrase “Philly fan tasered” shows 1,190,000 matches this morning. It looks like I won’t be the first person to comment on the story. And to cut to the proverbial chase, my late to the game, two cents worth is that the kid was really dumb, but, no, as much as there’s that part of me that cheers on the police officer, you don’t need to tase a really dumb fan about to be cornered by the security guys.
Our response to the kid at the Phillies game and the cop with the taser gun can be pretty visceral. It’s not this particular dumb kid, it’s all the dumb, break the rules, who cares about the consequences people we encounter everyday – on the road, at the store, around the campus, maybe in the family circle or, could it be, the same Sunday pew. Let’s see, if I had my taser gun out and ready when the driver who ran the red light at the Winchester/Flowers Mill/Langhorne-Yardley Road intersection made that friendly hand gesture at me for being in her way…
But then I think of all the dumb things I do.
When reflecting on his handling of the controversy surrounding his decision to relieve Douglas MacArthur of his Korean War command, Harry Truman said, "I didn't fire him because he was a dumb *****, although he was, but that's not against the law for generals. If it was, half to three quarters of them would be in jail."
Go ahead, change the category, and don’t you agree? “It’s not against the law for pastors to be dumb. If it was, half to three quarters of them would be in jail.” It’s not against the law for _______ to be dumb…
It’s not against the law to be dumb and for that I am very thankful. Otherwise this would be my prison e-pistle.
In his letter to the Galatians, Paul takes his readers to task for being dumb. “You foolish Galatians,” he writes in Chapter 3. The word translated as foolish literally means “without sense or understanding.” Dumb, nitwits, brainless would all work as legitimate translations. “You crazy Galatians,” is how the Message version puts it.
The Apostles takes the Galatians to task for their foolishness and its consequences. They are stupidly going back to the old ways of thinking their salvation is earned by obedience to the law instead received as a gracious gift from God. They are pretty dumb.
Paul insists that they must give up their foolish ways, their dumb decisions, their brainless acts. He’s serious. But look at Galatians 3 again. Look how it ends. Not with warning, not with disgust, not with a taser to the back, but with gospel: in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.
Steve Consalvi, the kid who ran on to the field at Citizens Bank Park on Monday night needs to grow up. He violated the rules, broke a law, on Monday evening and somebody will figure out how all that will work. His parents ought to ground him for a decade or two. Mostly, though, Steve Consalvi needs to quit being so dumb. And so do you and I. We need to quit acting as if we were not children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.
It's not against the law to be dumb, but it's really not wise. Thank God for the wisdom of the cross.