Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Dallas, Chicago, IL
A cautionary tale is a story which contains a warning. Humanity has used such stories since Adam and Eve were driven out of the Garden of Eden to drive home lessons learned in an impactful way so that the point is never missed. They teach survival lessons. Generally, there’s a threat, taboo or prohibition, a narrative that includes a violation, and finally the violator comes to an attention getting fate that won’t soon be forgotten.
Recent events in Steubenville, Ohio have been characterized as a modern day cautionary tale. Graphic tweets and photos essentially self-convicted two starting ex-high school football players. They could be incarcerated until they turn twenty one years old. Modern technology hasn’t altered human behavior, but social media is now an effective accelerant. Social media was characterized as the oxygen that fueled the fires of the recent Arab spring. In this case, old fashioned stupidity and lack of moral character became immortal as fast as you can hit “post”! The new technology has exposed politicians such as ex-Representative Anthony Weiner who exposed himself. An ex-cast member of The TV series Glee tweeted some plot spoilers prior to airing. Her producer responded with a tweet that hoped she was qualified to work in something besides entertainment.
Not surprisingly, cautionary tales are scattered throughout the Bible. One that immediately comes to mind is the story of the rich man and Lazarus. Jesus is making the point that blessings of wealth are not proof of a person’s righteousness if those blessings are not shared with those less fortunate. The rich man exquisitely lived and dined, while the beggar Lazarus lay at his gate without aid or compassion. They both die and the rich man finds himself in hell while a great chasm separates him from Lazarus who is now with Father Abraham in heaven. The gift of wealth did not condemn the rich man, but rather his selfishness and hardhearted refusal to use it for good condemned him.