You never know what or who you will find on facebook. This morning, I found a real live Flannery O'Connor character. His peculiar concoction of God-hauntedness and sin-blindness was amazing, and I ended up reading his entire timeline. I will call him Dwayne (not his real name).
Consider a few facts about him, and try to make them all fit into one person:
1. He talks about his own recent failed suicide attempt. He failed this time (if he even really attempted it), but promises to do better in future.
2. For several hours in a row, he posts the one photo he possesses of himself and his (ex?) wife, begging her to "come home". Because he is lonely. Because he is horny. Because he is so incredibly needy.
3. Worked at: Disabled. Studied at: Didn't.
4. Frequent admonitions (to us readers, or to himself?) to "pray."
5. Blames the "dirty, nasty cops" for breaking up his home.
6. Says the cops run the church.
7. Says all Christians are mean.
8. Has about 3 dozen facebook Friends, all of them are scantily clad women half his age.
9. Says he "really needs to get stoned."
10. States that people need to be nice to crazy people, because he is right on the edge, and if people don't learn to treat him nice, some people are going to get hurt.
11. Can't spell to save his life (e.g., cercomstances for circumstances, camit for commit)
12. Posts memes with Scripture verses.
13. Claims to be a defender of the downtrodden, especially strippers and models.
14. Posts memes about trusting God.
15. Says that Jesus is a whore who has stabbed him in the back.
16. Claims he is going crazy without his wife, then adds request for his wife to bring him cigarettes at the loony bin.
17. Posts the pic of him and his wife (for the hundredth time), pleading for her to come home. Then immediately posts a photo of "my favorite model" in a bikini, seductively pulling down her bikini bottom. Mixed messages?
Well, you get the idea. He's not very bright, but he's very angry. His career, for a long time apparently, has been to be Disabled. Lack of productive work will do terrible things to a person. We may think it's great collecting money we didn't work for, but it rots us from the inside out. Deep inside, we know we are slackers. Deep inside, we know the wife is very wise to stay away. But we need someone to lash out at. So we befriend pretty models on the internet, hoping that one of them will make the mistake of getting close enough to hurt her and (maybe) make the anger go away for a moment.
I start off trying to be very compassionate to such people. But you can tell from his Timeline that a lot of people have already tried that (the church, women, law enforcement, Jesus). He rejects them all. They are all losers; only he is vindicated out of all humanity. Compassion is sadly lost on such a person. In the Bible stories (e.g., the sinful woman washing Christ's feet), there is a difference. They had shady pasts, but in the present, they admit their wrongness, and own up to their own wretched dirtiness.
But what is one to do with one who has sinned more than any of them, but holds his head up high, strutting like a peacock in his pride? Who (unlike the humble man in the story of the publican and the sinner) confesses sin, but only the sin of others against him? Such a man is very like some of the characters in C. S. Lewis' The Great Divorce, who instead of merely doing sin, have in the final end become their sin.