One day when I was very young I brought home from Sunday School a page from some sort of activity booklet. I believe it depicted Jesus being tempted by Satan. I cut out the image of Satan and pinned it to the wall of my bedroom. I found a blue foil star somewhere and pinned it in his hand. Somehow that seemed right. I’m sure at that tender age I didn’t know that Lucifer means Light-Bringer in Latin. I doubt I was aware that in the Book of Isaiah he was called Day Star, or Morning Star, son of Dawn.
Mom was a little upset by the display. “I won’t have devil worship in this house,” she said. I explained that I wasn’t worshiping him, I just thought he looked cool, with the horns and bat-wings and all. Besides, I pointed to the star as evidence that he’d turned good.
But I think the real reason Satan interested me was as a symbol or icon of transgression. From those very early days to this, I’ve been fascinated by transgressive behavior, rebels and outcasts, deviants and misfits, anyone that goes against the dominant narrative, anything that seems offensive to mainstream sensibilities.
I am not speaking of an obsession, just a mild fascination, an enduring interest. I know I’m not alone in this. It’s easy to look around and see there are plenty of people who share this interest. But I also recognize that it’s a minority position.
I still find Satanic imagery mildly compelling. But his primary appeal, to me, exists only within the Christian paradigm. As that has become less dominant in my mind, the power of such imagery seems to diminish somewhat, but my general interest in transgression remains. Curiously and ironically enough, I imagine Jesus as a friend to transgressors of all types.
I’ve been thinking about this lately, and wondering as always about that ultimate question: Why? There are so many ways of being. Why am I more this way than another? Why am I who I am and not someone else? For many years I have sought environmental explanations. More and more I attribute my quirks to nature, not nurture. I am who I am because I was born this way.