You don’t get to read half of what I write.
Would it surprise you that I write a lot of stuff just to gain some clarity on some thing? My heart knows, but my mind is still struggling with submission to a higher power. I’m constantly composing stuff in my head that may never cross my keyboard just so I can hear the words in grammatical form. It actually dominates most of my conscious processes during the day. Sometimes my lips move for no obvious reason; if I think I’m alone I’ll say some of it aloud. Some of it I write because the mental or verbal exercise isn’t enough; typing it adds clarity by showing me what doesn’t work in larger chunks. And then by the time I think I’m about finished, I may decide to save it without bothering to post any of it. It’s still there if I need a fresh look at it. I can always use
grep to go back and find what I wrote later using various keywords for searching, as I save them all in the same folder, published or not.
It’s really not about writing, but the call to teach and share what I’ve experienced in the Presence of the Spirit. And even that is often aimed at helping you formulate an answer to those you encounter with questions about our radically different grasp of reality. It’s part of how we glorify God that we answer such questions. I want you to have answers you might not be able to come up with on your own. But rather than be a fount of expression to which you can refer others, I honestly hope that what I write works its way into your consciousness so that you can restate it in your own terms. A critical aim of my writing is not to shape your thoughts, but to encourage the thinking itself.
So a major element is the endeavor to help you break the chains on your thought processes that our culture has forged. What you do with that is not my concern, in the sense that I can trust Our Creator to handle that as something He said is outside the boundaries of my calling. Let me cite an example.
Perhaps you’ve read a bit about the desire of government figures to gain access to encrypted private communications. Their arguments presume that you imagine they have some mandate to keep an eye on things and prevent a certain range of human activity that is bad for the rest of us. We could argue about whether or not that mandate exists, but they have managed to keep that in a separate debate, precluding it from this one. “We are at this place, regardless of how we got here, and this is what we are convinced we have to do.”
And if any of this interests you, perhaps you’ve read some of the arguments against it. Some assert that privacy is an inherent legal right. The government officials agree, but then talk about defining exactly how that right is maintained. Ideals have to be implemented. Officials have the advantage there, I think. The system defends all sorts of encroachments that make such a right almost non-existent in the end. There is no practical way of changing that, as it’s rooted in human nature itself. Ideals are mythology.
So then there is also a large body of technicians and experts who make it painfully obvious that technology itself does not allow for half-way measures. A “back door” is the same as any front door; access is access. And obscurity is not long-term security. What one man can hide another can eventually discover; once discovered, the game is over. The technology is more hidebound than the worst bureaucrat. But we have these government officials unwilling to be cornered on that, insisting there has to be some brilliant technological answer. Most humans don’t understand the technology, so they tend to accept such an argument, whether or not they like what it implies. The end result is that this argument wins as powerful propaganda. Whatever you want to call it, political will demands access because people can’t come up with an effective argument against it. The technicians haven’t done a good job of getting the message out, and that reflects a weakness in whatever it is that makes them so technically competent.
So far, it seems the one argument that everyone accepts is that government officials simply can’t be trusted with this on moral grounds. Granted, even if you made such an argument crystal clear in something like a congressional hearing, you’d be lucky if the officials even responded verbally at all. When they do respond, the arrogant posturing of politicians is a given. If they give assurances, you aren’t permitted to notice that they’ve lied about such things in the past.
Yet, in the final analysis, that is the genuine issue for us heart-led folks. I don’t have the particular insider knowledge like a Snowden; mine is in another area of expertise. I’ve worked in government bureaucracy enough to know the character of the beast itself, because my expertise is in law enforcement, the one area of government activity virtually everyone encounters. Government employees are generally the least competent of all workers anywhere. That’s built into the system, because your best people cannot tolerate the system. What’s left is those who can put up with it, and they would seldom make it anywhere else. The talented folk don’t work in the bureaucracy, but are served by it, and only those who fit a certain mold will be promoted out of that cesspool.
But it’s more than that; bureaucratic machinery favors moral weakness itself. It’s not merely that government employees do work badly, but do bad at work. For all the rhetoric, the one real talent that prospers in government bureaucracy is bypassing bureaucratic controls to do what you please. It’s not that they are all without conscience, but that they all have certain points at which they are willing to break the rules just a little. That is, either there will be some tiny narrow issue they’ll be completely without conscience, something that doesn’t show up on the radar, or perhaps it’s more that they are willing to fudge a bit on lots of things, but only for certain personal advantages.
Of course, agencies with heavy layers of secrecy are even worse. That field of specialty is fertile soil for people with a damaged conscience. You can’t work there unless you are able to compartmentalize dangerously, so that you’ll do what your boss says is good right and necessary, even as you all realize it would shock the conscience of anyone outside the agency. Only a tiny slender portion of humanity can handle that without becoming psycho. The rest of them will break in certain lesser ways you can almost predict. That’s why you have cops tapping secret databases to track their love interest and see if there’s evidence of “cheating.” While not all of them would do that, almost all of them will do something like that for their own personal concerns. And most of them never get caught, in the sense that it comes to public notice. But anyone suggesting that it’s not the majority of employees is flat out lying. It’s rare the bureaucrat who doesn’t bend the rules like that for their personal benefit. And in security agencies, you would think it was some kind of unwritten requirement.
We could smugly suggest that us heart-led folk could survive working in that environment with our morals intact — true, but that’s beside the point. It’s more likely we’d feel driven by the Spirit to depart. The reason for this exercise is to point out what a difference it makes when you look at things from the heart-led moral frame of reference. The whole thing boils down to this: You cannot trust the government bureaucracy. The don’t do their job right or rightly. And you can’t make the argument in the face of the government officials; they won’t permit it. Thus, our moral objection might well enter the common awareness, but it won’t enter the public debate.
We are left with a moral parable of the situation in the starkest terms: The government officials insist that we all remain naked and shackled in a position where they can rape us at their convenience. Meanwhile, they are utterly incapable of preventing anyone else from raping us when they aren’t physically present doing their own raping. But of course, they want us all to volunteer for this state of affairs. They’ll accept our consent one time as permanent, even when given under the most egregious duress that they themselves conjure artificially.
Everything else we might say about it is a matter of mere tactics. You’ll have to decide for yourself in your own heart-led context what God requires.