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Siren Society
by Bruce Newman
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It has been popular for some years now to make movies about people or entities that enjoy murder the way we enjoy a good meal. In this regard serial killers have become the celebrities we love to hate. We have now amassed a sizable amount of celluloid on the subject, some based on truth and the rest complete entertainment. Friday the 13th, Silence of the Lambs, Nightmare on Elm Street, The Deliberate Stranger, To Catch a Killer and Saw are some that come to mind.

Now, there are many respects in which our society loves suicide. But, as a general rule, it prefers to play at it, nipping at it with mock courage like dogs chasing cars. But it wants to be able to chase those cars next week and next year. Serial killers are game spoilers. They donít want to play at it. They want to jump into it and immerse themselves in the scalding terror of extinguishing life in the most horrible ways. Where society comes to the edge of the beach and sticks its toe in the water, the serial killer dives naked into an active volcano.

The straight up, feral killer is too much for society. Not so much because he kills but because he makes society drink its death shots straight and wonít allow it to be called anything else. No wine coolers and dimmed lights. No clean lab-coated death by euthanasia. Thatís for punks. Serial killers give you deathís straight tequila with the worm in the bottom of the bottle. No Virginia Slims or Salems. Camels, no filter. It is for that reason that society prefers Sirens in whatever form they can be found or manufactured.

In Greek mythology a Siren was one of a group of seductive sea nymphs whose singing was so beautiful that it drew ancient mariners to their deaths as they crashed their ships on the rocks surrounding the Sirenís island. But there was time to enjoy the music before your ship was shattered into matchsticks. Thatís how society likes it. It knows it steers towards death but wants to enjoy itself on the way to destruction. No boring crossings over the dark river Styx. The band has to play until the end, just like on the Titanic. No reminders of what will happen are allowed. That is an unspoken agreement more binding than any formal treaty. Serial killers are violent reminders. But since society canít fight them it deals with them the way it confronts death in all forms by pretending it isnít there.

When an otherwise healthy human being doesnít have the energy to make it through the day or handle normal tasks we rightly perceive an ailment. When an advanced civilization that can perform great technical feats continually loses order, canít teach simple fundamental things like reading, has a sizable number of its population in jail with no end in sight while it glorifies the worst behavior and penalizes the best, the shadow of death lies over the land. Society ignores it all with more gated communities, better security and more mindless diversions where forgetfulness is briefly found, yet deathís presence fills too many corners to ignore completely.

But nobody has to go out like that. Nobody has to follow Jim Jones to the Kool-Aid party. And the way of escape is surprisingly easy. In Homerís Odyssey, when Odysseusí ship passes close to an island of sirens, he has his men plug their ears with wax while he ties himself to the shipís mast so that he canít steer them to destruction. Like Odysseus, we can block out the sirenís song and also restrain ourselves. But sheer will power alone doesnít always work. Our own strength easily finds its limits.

Legend has it that when Jason and the Argonauts passed near the Sirens that Orpheus played on his lyre more beautifully than the Sirens sang. The crew, now focused on the music of Orpheus, didnít hear the Sirens and survived.

God continues to play His tune in the midst of the madness. It plays on every radio station in creation but is only heard by those who have ears to hear. Many churches claim to be His radio station but in reality play the spiritless remixes of hirelings (Jn. 10:11-14). His sheep hear His voice (Jn. 10:27) and there is no need to debate the matter. Itís that simple. While listening to His music there is no danger of crashing on the rocks. Instead we build houses on them (Matt. 7:24). To others who hear the music, we know who you are when we meet you because of the savor of life you give off. But we are a stench in the nostrils of those who crash their ships on the rocks we live on.

Now thanks be unto God, which always causes us to triumph in Christ, and makes manifest the savor of his knowledge by us in every place. For we are unto God a sweet savor of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: To the one we are the savor of death unto death; and to the other the savor of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things? Ė 2 Cor. 2:14-16

Death has nothing but time on its hands and so spends it in the prison yard of this world pumping iron. So it always bullies its way to our attention with strength and ferocity. Its Sirens sing constantly from every vantage point and never lose as American idols. But it lost the contest once and for all over two thousand years ago and, like a sore loser, canít accept the fact. Since it knows its time is short, as God counts time, it rages and breaks things constantly like a drunken, jilted lover.

But from outside of time Godís music still plays to those within time, reminding them with always original tunes that all Siren songs will cease.

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