Writer, Church leader, Eccentric Nut, Marketer

I'm Church Leader, Writer, Speaker, Marketer, Kindness Project Founder, Broadcaster and Superhero. But most important I'm a Husband, Father and a worshiper of Jesus.

26 August 2008

When bearded Austrailians who fake cancer get swallowed by whales... TONIGHT on FOX

It's been a banner few weeks in Christendom. Actually... Christendom's been fine. It's just the celebrities who are having some issues. It's SO exciting to have the "Big C" Church bulletin look like tabloid isn't it?

You've likely seen this headline:

"Porn pastor who faked cancer tells of his addiction"

It's the story of Michael Guglielmucci, an Australian pastor who wrote the song "Healer". It's a hugely popular worship song around the world right now. Michael tells the story of how it was born out a terminal cancer diagnosis in this clip...

... aaaaand then it turned out it was fake. So fake that Michael made the whole story up to cover up a raging porn addiction that was so fierce it actually ravaged his physical body. Neat eh?

So here's what came to mind. Jonah 1: 14-17

Then they prayed to God, "O God! Don't let us drown because of this man's life, and don't blame us for his death. You are God. Do what you think is best."They took Jonah and threw him overboard. Immediately the sea was quieted down. The sailors were impressed, no longer terrified by the sea, but in awe of God. They worshiped God, offered a sacrifice, and made vows. Then God assigned a huge fish to swallow Jonah. Jonah was in the fish's belly three days and nights.

The NIV says that "God PROVIDED a great fish". I love the word "provided" or "assigned" in this text. It's a divine disaster sent by Grace. It's ludicrous to assume that this is the end of the "Healer" story. He screwed up pretty good. No doubt. It's just good that friends found out and stepped in. But like the Todd Bentley story there is more to this chapter than... "another crooked Christian". Way more.

"I've been hiding who I am for so long. ``I can honestly say to you that the last two years have been hell for me physically, emotionally, but I never sat down and said ... let's try and fool the world.''
Michael Guglielmucci

*** Disclaimer: None of this is an excuse for his actions and I have no problem with his church taking him out of public ministry so he can be healed and restored***

It's hard to be a Christian in the spotlight. REALLY hard. One of the many reasons is that Christian Congregations want a Leno... not a Letterman. Let me explain. I have just finished reading a very funny and sharp piece of Christian fiction... my first actually! (No... I just couldn't bring myself to read the Left Behinds... sorry Mr Peretti sir).

The book is called "The Almost True Story of Ryan Fisher" by Rob Stennett. It tells the story of a guy who was a failing real estate salesman who fakes being a Christian to sell real estate to Christians because they are nice, easy to influence people. He finds out he's so good at it, that he decides he could be powerful Pastor because of how persuasive he is... partnered with the fact that Christians follow a well defined script. He does similar manipulative things to what Michael G did... like fake websites to establish credibility. Ryan Fisher becomes so huge that he even goes on Oprah.

One Ryan's "revelations" about how to get Christians to follow him was that... church is just like a talk show. And Christians like Leno better than Letterman. Leno is nice to his guests... even sucks up to them, telling them what they want to hear. Letterman does everything with a sarcastic edge. He even has the reputation of mocking guests who are full of crap. When Ryan was Leno... things went smoothly. Anything too harsh didn't "play well"... even though it might be truth.

Michael Guglielmucci had issues and ran from God like Jonah. Churches don't like to hear the nitty gritty dirt of their celebrities. It's a Leno culture of niceties and "Praise the Lord Brother Michael"'s that make it excruciatingly hard to expose your sin as a leader. But God (as he commonly does) has provided a whale for Michael. This divine disaster sent by Grace.

"Healer" is still a great song, written by a guy in serious pain crying out for help... just not for the reasons he told you. Read the Psalms. That's what David did (aside from the lying part). Here's the formula for most Psalm's

V 1-6: "Holy Crap God... I'm in some serious trouble! Where ARE you??"
V 7-14: "Oh yeah that's right... I remember how you helped me before"
V 15-20: "OH MY GOD HOW GREAT YOU ARE... FREEEEEDOM! (shouted like William Wallace)

It will be exciting to hear how God heals Michael because he's now choosing to do it God's way. It will take this song to deeper depths of beauty. A Redemption Song.

1 comment:

The Bean Bag Chair said...

sweet post friend...
it's like part II of my thoughts on it all!

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