Original Posting At http://www.jasonvalendy.net/blog/2019/11/11/the-evil-of-our-public-lives
When I was younger I was told that if I was not willing to do something in public, then I ought not do it in private. The concern was that what we did in private was potentially more evil than what we would do in public. There may some truth to that for most of us – especially in our teenage years when we might violate social norms or rules in private (Kevin Bacon might owe his career to such a truth).
While the concern of evil lurking in the private was emphasized, the inverse was all but ignored. That is, sometimes we would do things in public that we would never do in private. The concern that what we do in public was potentially more evil than what we would do in private was never really considered.
However, the reality is the more we ignore the latter the more we are prone to participate in evil in the world.
The evil of the public life memorialized in the coliseum
Most people would not privately whip themselves into a frenzy and loot, harass or kill. Yet groups do this all the time. Most people would never breathe threats of violence toward another, but then we get online and that is often what we do.
If the story of Jesus teaches us anything it is that our public lives can be more evil than our private lives. We can kill the very Christ of the world in public displays. We can loot the very heart of God in public elections. We can be like Saul and become the mob of violence and retribution in public.
Maybe we need to take some of our concern that our private lives are evil and examine our public ones.