I was at a fireworks display for the 4th of July with my sister’s family, Tom and our kids. It was a beautiful evening, and a lot of fun was had by all. As we gathered up the blankets by the lake shore to head home after the grand finale, a bearded character rolled up on a bicycle on the sidewalk behind us, seemingly out of nowhere. Without saying hello, without introducing himself or any niceties of that nature, he looked directly at me in a fierce kind of way, and proceeded to praise a certain religious activist I used to be involved with in the old days. His exact words were, “He’s the greatest, most courageous man in the world right now with this terrible onslaught.” (I assumed he was referring to the culture wars, but who knows.)
I stared at the creepy and rude man in confusion. First off, who in the world was he, how had even known who I was in the darkness, sitting with my family? And what made him think I wanted to hear him laud the character traits of a man he didn’t even know except on radio?
The bearded messenger rolled off into the night without the courtesy of a good-bye. I have wondered about the encounter ever since. The biggest thing I took away from the conversation was that the man had shaped his entire judgment of the aforementioned hero based on a disembodied voice coming out of his radio or computer. I happened to know that the man in question is not a man of courage, he is a miserable coward, a misogynist, a bully and an opportunist of the highest (lowest) order. He is a flaming narcissist who has left a trail of victims in his wake. But I have a feeling that truth would not have been welcomed in the mind of the mysterious bicyclist. It would have conflicted with the “Great Man of God” idol he had erected in the vacuum of good leadership we have today.
Please, let me help readers with this. Having been there, it takes zero courage to get on the radio and say things. Sitting in the comfort of a padded studio with a decent income and a little fan base to cheer you on no matter what you do, it is hardly a sacrifice. The average person out there says, “Gee, that is great! Somebody is leading us. Let’s follow. Let’s carry banners and proclaim them to be a person of great moral courage.” I have one thing to say to that, and it’s found in the title of a song from Porgy and Bess: “It Ain’t Necessarily So.”
As I have noted before, the world of “Christian” media is littered with human train wrecks. The nature of media attracts highly insecure, ego-driven people who find their personal affirmation in campaigning for this cause or that. They find they can assemble a group of (sometimes brain dead) followers who will cheer them on no matter what. It’s a chance at “celebrity”, a chance to be the voice that thunders truth. Ethics, meh. Not important. Relationships with other Christians? Are you kidding me? Only if they are useful to the cause. Otherwise they are just a part of the great unwashed rabble needing a kick to the head to straighten up. The thinking goes like this: If they object to my little kingdom, heck, they are probably mentally unstable to boot. In fact, they ARE mentally unstable to oppose me, and come to think of it, deserving of anything I dish out. I think I’ll send some anonymous hate mail to underscore their moral inferiority and human worthlessness. (And if I get caught, I’ll lie about it. Nobody will believe that I, the Great White Knight, am capable of such a thing! It’s that nutty dissenter off his/her meds again.)
If my tone sounds a bit harsh here, you are very perceptive. The blind idolatry of Christians is more apparent to me every day that goes by, and it has, for me, the effect vinegar has on milk. It curdles things. This kind of behavior and thinking does incalculable damage to those trying to hang onto their faith in the midst of these confusing times. If you don’t believe that, explain the countless websites published by victims of this mindset. It’s enough to make the angels weep. Our young son listened to the bearded bicyclist praise somebody he knew was corrupt. He looked at us as we walked to the car. “I don’t think that guy got the memo,” he said, shaking his head. No, apparently not. Memos like that are unacceptable. Go with the myth instead, go with the public image. That is, apparently, all that matters.
So, to any other odd bicyclists out there who intend to do a drive-by hallelujah session for their favorite Christian bully on the front lines, save your breath for the ride home. I don’t listen to the bully boys anymore, and I don’t listen to their followers. I don’t care about their flashy new websites, social media platforms where they can preach to each other, and I don’t want to read their dire warnings online. I’ve blocked anybody on Facebook who wants to link to them. Integrity matters, and I no longer have time for the borderlines, the sickos, the corrupt users, the morbidly obese egos draped in spirituality, and the Great Men of God who leave their own families in smoking ruins. You men and your fawning enablers are no longer welcome in our lives.