by Travis Mateer
A few days ago I was fired up to write something speculative about the nature of the relationship between a certain hitman and “Sarge”, his good “friend”.
I even had a geographical itinerary planned, traveling from Steven Bannon’s meth house in Miami, to a meth house in Colorado featured in the documentary Dark Money, and landing, finally, in the speculative space of meth and homoerotic power-sharing.
Well, after watching a video about God stepping in to solve crimes, I decided to scrap that post and take a different approach.
Part of my shift on this happened yesterday, when it became clear certain channels of communication were compromised by nefarious actors. While my inclination was to continue an approach of provocation, which I accomplished in my direct communication to the third-party eavesdropper, the person I was with offered a different path: seek out God.
As a father who no longer lives at the house where his kids live, I seek out every chance I can to be a presence during this difficult transition, and one way I’ve been doing that is watching this year’s equivalent to a summer blockbuster, the Netflix show Stranger Things.
In one scene, the character Jonathan explicitly states his concern regarding his absent father and how that absence could impact his ability to form a healthy relationship with his girlfriend. I took plenty of mental notes about the various messages in this show–especially how it seems to be setting up kids to fear their own histories of trauma–so I could relate to my own kids a simple counter-message: this is NOT entertainment.
If Stranger Things is not entertainment, then what is it? Is it revelation of the method? Is it predictive programming? Or is it something else?
From my own evolving lens, I see malevolent forces inverting divine power and offering counterfeit replacements in its place. The way this manifests in my own life is that a beautiful experience with my little girl on roller-skates earlier in the day is transformed, after dinner, into a brutal act of violence on the screen when “Eleven”, the protagonist, assaults her bully with a near-fatal blow to the forehead with the wheel-end of her skate.
Another character in the series, Max, is a teen struggling with significant trauma after seeing her brother killed by a demonic entity from the “upside down”. In season four, she sees the first victim of Vecna, a cheerleader killed in the trailer of the Dungeons and Dragons club leader, Eddie. Having insider information about a murder that even the cops aren’t capable of fathoming is something with strong parallels for me.
Other parallels include seeing on the screen a representation of how false narratives can get imposed on us, something this demonic Vecna character is very good at, like telling the nerdy Harry he’s a murderer for contributing to the death of someone in a car accident.
Hmmm, I wondered, what kind of false narratives and inaccurate impressions are being created by the characters in the Rebekah Barsotti case? Does David Barsotti really have local authorities in his pocket? Does the hitman, Nathan Jacobsen, have a weird man-crush on him? Is the caretaker, Bevin Adams, an active accomplice in criminal activity? And is it accurate to refer to one of the PIs as a Mississippi Douche Donkey?
While I’m trying to provide a little levity here, that last paragraph is the shit I’m trying to NOT write about today. That’s because the video above, if you take the time to watch it, will provide you something MUCH MORE REAL, and that’s tangible examples of how this humble servant of God uses prayer to not just solve crimes, but, in one example, credibly changed the life path of a troubled kid who absolutely could have been tomorrow’s mass-casualty shooter.
So listen to THAT conversation on this Father’s day if you want to see how divine love can work to benefit ALL of God’s imperfect children navigating this broken world.
Thanks for reading.