Last night I went out for my run around 7:45, and I planned on winding up right as the sun went down. It was a beautiful night, and with my music up high, the three miles ticked by without event until I got to the homestretch. I was almost insight of my car when my paranoid radar kicked into high gear. Behind me a large red pick up was slowly driving through the neighborhood, so slowly that it was not gaining on me at all. That always strikes me as suspicious, so I began to run at a sprint to cover the short distance remaining. At the same time, I kept looking behind me, hoping the truck would turn into a driveway. I turned my head back to the front, still running full speed, and looked down just in time to avoid stepping on a huge snake that was lying on the sidewalk.
My foot was literally less than two feet away from the two-inch thick body when I registered what was about to happen. I screamed and jumped to the left, and the snake lurched and slithered off to the right. It was horrifying. I have never come so close to stepping on a snake. The snake wasn’t even hiding, but since I hadn’t been looking, I had almost stepped on it anyway. It was a close call.
When my heart rate decelerated enough to think clearly, I was struck by the illustration I had just experienced. You see right before leaving to go on my run, I had been watching the American Idol results show. I’ve hardly watched any of this season, but if I am home and I think about it, I usually turn it on. As I was lacing my shoes, I glanced up to see Lady Gaga's performance filling the screen. I know she has a reputation for doing all that is shocking and outlandish, but last night as I watched her banging on the piano in nothing but her underwear, I felt sick in the pit of my stomach.
The unrest stirred inside of me as I realized that the most main stream show in America, a show targeting a family audience including young children and preteens, was funneling a lewd, demeaning, and immodest message to everyone watching. Under the guise of "entertainment" the young performer was chipping away at the moral center of our culture. She was making a performance in her underwear seem okay, okay enough to be on the most popular show on broadcast t.v.
You might think I'm getting a little too worked up about it. After all, she's a singer. Her currency is shock value, right?
But I think that's what bothers me the most. The danger is no longer the snake in the grass. It's not hiding on porn sites on the internet, or behind closed doors, or on the cable channels. It's the snake on the sidewalk. It's right there in front of us, but if we're not paying attention, we just might step on it anyway. I don't want to be lulled into thinking the danger isn't all around us. I don't want to be tricked into thinking it's okay because it is "entertainment." A snake is a snake, no matter what we call it. I think we all need to keep our eyes open, and our hearts tender to God's spirit. Our children need us to protect them, and to teach them to recognize the snake, hiding in the grass and out in the open.