With all the negative aspects to the Waco Biker Massacre story from yesterday’s news media coverage, I am concerned that some of the good and honorable ideas may have been glossed over — even by my blog post from yesterday. So I would like to address a few of those ideas.
Consider these core truths:
- As Augustine points out, all humans act with a view of good in mind. No human being is motivated by hatred or evil. All human beings are motivated by the good. Where some humans err is in the means employed in the attempt to achieve good. This is why Augustine defines sin as a perversion of the good.
- God did not intend humans to live in isolation. He created community as an antidote for isolation.
- All humans are hard wired by God with an intuition of something bigger than themselves. Accordingly, humans strive to be part of something bigger in this life, something that transcends their ordinary and their normal.
With these core truths in mind, think back to the events of Sunday afternoon. What eyewitnesses witnessed was a group of men who found community, who discovered how to live for a purpose bigger than themselves, and who passionately acted in a manner that defended the ideal of their community. Now, either the manner of their defense or the ideal for which they strived may have been erroneous in nature — that much is for certain. But, let’s not overlook the framework within which this Biker group, or any other biker group, or any other community operates. That framework is the good within the chaos from Sunday.
Some are wondering in amazement about the seeming archaic scene of biker gangs shooting it out in the parking lot of a bar. Questions arise at such a scene:
- Why do gangs still exist?
- Why do people join clubs and groups?
- Aren’t social groups obsolete?
- Why are people still riding bikes?
- Don’t they know about fossil fuel shortages?
- Don’t they know about polite society?
- Don’t they know that leather gets uncomfortably hot in the Texas sun?
- Are they not aware of gun safety?
- Isn’t there a tamer way to channel this need for fraternity?
While these questions may arise from a certain sophisticated perspective, let’s keep in mind that these same questions have been around for centuries. They are, in a sense, the timeless, existential, worldview shaping questions asked by poets, philosophers, civic leaders, and sociologists. And the answer to these questions has remained the same for centuries.
Because people need community. Because people need to live for something larger than themselves. Because people need to believe in the good.
That is why we still ask the questions, although not all of us may be able to articulate them in such a way. That is why biker groups still exist, especially the majority of biker groups committed to doing good in the world. That is why people still go to places of worship with some regularity. That is why, despite Pew research numbers, people still join together with the body of believers in Christ. That is why book clubs and political groups, and support groups, and artist collectives, and multiplayer video games, and chat rooms, and message boards, and Facebook, and twitter, and sim city all still exist.
We all need community. We all need to live for something larger than ourselves. We all need to believe in the good.
The pressing question for all of us in light of the Waco Biker situation is this: is there a space where all three ideals converge? Where a community gathers around the good to live for something larger than themselves? I believe there is such a space and it is the hope of the world.