Wednesday, January 28, 2015


Recording Life, Wrightsville Beach, NC

I’ve dallied in photography most of my adult life. Personal video cameras were just coming on the scene as we were expecting our first child. That gave me the incentive to explore the possibilities of recording the sound and motion of special occasions. And now hardly any important or sublime life event goes unrecorded as most folks carry a smart device on their person to capture the moment. Some of the wackiest get posted on the Internet and go viral around the world instantaneously. Two young men stole a cache of Franklins recently and then had the audacity to post a selfie video with their loot. They were arrested almost as quickly and the video provided law enforcement with the evidence needed to prosecute them!

The most recent incidents of police “use of force” has prompted the integration of body cameras for many law enforcement units. The city of Rialto, California started using the cameras and concluded that use of force incidents where officers used pepper spray, tasers, batons, firearms or police dogs dropped in half for officers wearing the cameras. Complaints against officers also dropped off as now-sober arrestees viewed their behavior when drunk. The study noted that “when we become aware that a video-camera is recording our actions, we also become self-conscious that unacceptable behaviors are likely to be captured on film, and the perceived certainty of punishment is at its highest”.

A correspondent recently wore one of these video cameras for the day to experience this newest technology. His subsequent article reminded me of a television interview I recently watched on the subject of violence in this country. One contributor observed that there seems to be a correlation between lawlessness and the decline of religion. He noted that we can’t hire enough law enforcement officers to replace the natural response to obeying laws and authority when folks respect and believe in a higher authority in their personal lives. I find it very reassuring to know God has promised us that He is with us always and the Holy Spirit is within us as a comforter and a guide. That translates to a 24/7 recording within the bowels of our gray matter of every move and thought for which we will someday be rewarded or held accountable. We intuitively understand that such recordings exist from the accounts of folks coming back from near death experiences who view these memories on fast forward. The good news is that we fallible humanoids are loved unconditionally and we’ve been given the path to forgiveness.

When the religious leaders tried to challenge Jesus into choosing the greatest of the more than 600 laws they had created, He responded that the one supreme law is that we should love God and others, period. If we direct our lives around this one teaching, we will naturally follow others to maintain a civil society. When in doubt, the lesser laws should be obeyed if they are consistent with the Law of Love and ignored if they are not.

The correspondent concluded his day with the discovery that “I was extra careful in my driving. I was extra polite to the public and my colleagues. And I made sure everything I did was above reproach—because that little piece of technology was a constant reminder that even though I’m human, I can always be better”. We shouldn’t need to constantly wear state-of-the-art electronics to make us aware of that. Our Creator also expects better. We wear lots of different hats in life and we’re pretty good at adapting to our surroundings. It’s been said that if you want to know who you really are, observe the person you see when no one is watching. Except we’re not alone after all and the cameras are rolling.

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