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Plain and Simple for Aug. 15, 2013

SoVaNow.com / August 15, 2013
Like so many Americans, I am caught up in the last few episodes of the TV series, Breaking Bad. I did not watch it when it first came on, but I have spent the summer catching up and now I am officially addicted to it.

I guess a psychologist could write a lot of columns on why we are so fascinated with the good guy teacher, Walter White, who turns into this hideous, yet fascinating, drug-dealing monster. It is almost impossible not to root for him even after he has single-handedly turned Albuquerque, N.M., and parts of Mexico into a shambles. He is the car wreck that we slow down to see even when it might contain someone we know.

What is it about him that attracts us? Surely we see something of ourselves in him, but what part?

Do we secretly long to break bad and gun down large swaths of the neighborhood somewhat indiscriminately? Do the incredibly large sums of money call to us? Do we admire the fact that he looks death in the face again and again and wins?

I have to say that the genius of the series is that the answer is that parts of all of these things appeal to us and yet parts of all of these things repel us. We are Jesse—at least I hope we are. We might be weak enough to get caught up in the whirl of things but we will, eventually, be knocked off our feet by the sheer evilness of it all.

The series does a great job of showing how evil corrupts. Either it turns the person into a simpleton who really can no longer judge the moral implications of what is happening or it turns him or her into a monster. Occasionally, a person can be saved and that is Jesse.

I cannot really watch anything without looking at the implications for the church. I believe that one of the back stories for Walt helps to explain what happens. He was frustrated that he was never recognized for his brilliance as a chemist. He helped his friend with his company and never received the proper recognition or money. When he became involved in the drugs, he craved and never let go of the power and recognition.

It is interesting to me that some of the worst abuses that happen in the church come from people who grab power and never let go.

They come to see the church as belonging to them and not to God. They refuse to change or to allow change.

They become, in effect, mini-Walter Whites. They assume ownership of the church and wreak almost as much havoc as Walter does when he breaks bad.


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