So, news consumers, which of the following two news story lines do you find the most poignant?
(1) A Hollywood star is mugged by a mysterious homeless man who threatens to kill her.
(2) A Hollywood star who does regular volunteer work with a homeless ministry -- perhaps linked to her church -- is mugged by a homeless man who threatens to kill her.
Now, the USA Today story about this incident involving Pauley Perrette does hint at the religious ghosts in this event. It also included a photo of the essay the actress posted in social media about the incident. That text contains several faith references. We will come back to that in a moment.
Anyway, here is how the story begins:
NCIS actress Pauley Perrette, who plays the show's Goth crime lab tech Abby Scuito, had a real-life scare Thursday in Los Angeles. A "psychotic homeless man" jumped her on the street outside her home and punched her in the face several times.
"I almost died tonight," she wrote on Twitter. "Tonight was awful, life changing and I'm only grateful to be alive."
Perrette recounted the incident in detail in an essay, which she photographed and attached to her post. In it, she said the man kept telling her his name (William) and that he was going to kill her. "I was alone, terrified and trapped," she said, grateful he hadn't dragged her to a empty garage nearby. "I knew if he got me in there, I was dead."
And here is how it ends:
The attacker, whose name is actually David Merck, was booked on suspicion of aggravated battery with bail set at $100,000.
Los Angeles police Officer Jane Kim confirmed that the actress’ account of the attack was accurate, the Associated Press reports.
In her essay, Perrette, who works with charities for the homeless, pleaded for housing and full mental health care for them.
Charities? That's part of the equation.
Now, what were the clues that faith may play a major role in this young woman's life? Look at that Twitter photo that ran with the USA Today piece.
See the two "prayed my heart out" references? Now all kinds of people turn to prayer when their lives are on the line. GetReligion readers who wrote me about this one thought it was significant that one of her first actions was to text "my church friend cop."
People with friends at church, in my experience, often spend quite a bit of time at church. It might have been good to have asked her about that, if an interview was possible.
But here is the main point, the main connection between faith, Perrette and this near tragic event. Does she do volunteer work with "charities" that help the homeless or, perhaps, with ministries to help the homeless that are linked to her church and her faith? By the way, does anyone know where she goes to church?
As it turns out, it is easy -- with one or two clicks of a mouse -- to find out that she is a United Methodist and attends Hollywood United Methodist Church. It's super easy to find a UMC video about her faith and work, which opens with her testimony. You know, like this:
When I look at my life and my life has been CRAZY, crazy. I have had a crazy life. I feel that every day of my life, especially in my faith journey, it makes more and more sense to me that God's hand has been right there, all the time. Every move. Even the giant forks in the road that just seemed confusing to me, because I don't have all the information.
I was born down South and moved around all the time. I moved like 13 times growing up all over the South. Then, I went to school down South for undergraduate for sociology, psychology and criminal science. Then, I moved to Manhattan. I had started my Masters degree in criminology. And I was really broke, so I became a bartender. Then, when I was a bartender, this director started hiring me for films and commercials and music videos or whatever. One of the commercials I did got really big and somebody called me out to L.A. for the weekend. I booked a TV show the day I got out here.
There was a while there where I just had gone through a gap there where I felt like I didn't know how to pray, so I decided whenever I was going to pray, I would just say,'Thank you for everything and forgive me for everything.' I started doing it all the time 'Thank You for everything and forgive me for everything.' Then I started realizing what a colossal thing I was saying. Colossal. I'm saying thank you for EVERYthing not just the good stuff, the bad stuff too.
It's like a conversation, it really is. I'm like, 'Aww God, I got this going and this going on and whatever.' Sometimes it'll just be like a word that I'll get, like, 'Trust' or 'Not now' or something. That's how God's talking to me 'Okay, chill, chill, chill, chill, chill out, crazy kid, it's going to be fine.'
I have Romans 12:21 tattooed on my finger. It's, 'Don't be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good,' and that's been an incredible mantra for me. I'm very sensitive to cruelty and injustice and bad things that are happening in the world.
OK, that was long, but you get the picture. This sounds like a major commitment in her life, since she describes the irony of being attacked in this manner by a man linked to "My beloved homeless people that I spend my life protecting."
Now, it is possible that the actress was not granting interviews. I get that.
But who not mention the very human and interesting faith elements that were in the letter that she shared through social media? Why not do, you know, one online search about her life? I think it would have been rather easy to work that tattoo into this crime story. Right?