Perhaps the biggest Christian personalities of our day are the ones who have never bothered to preach anything at all, more or less the Gospel, the Scripture, the Commandments or even the Sacraments; but rather these so called preachers are more oriented on finding a way to make the doctrines simpler and easier for the consumption of the average person. This man, referred by the many as the “Preacher in Blue Jeans” has received both praise and acclaim from a wider public that one may think has been completely devoid of spirituality.
And this is how he reaps a profit either from the most desperate and from his indifferent followers through delivering a message which one may assume as harmless and inspirational, but within this charade hides the deeper truth; that his entire gospel if it can be actually called as such is both meaningless and empty, in fact being laughable at its fullest. I even doubt if this man could call himself a ‘Christian’ or a religious person; he might be only just a businessman! Indeed, he is the perfect example of a crooked businessmen who has been selling the Western concept of hope for so long to the point that he cannot even distinguish his persona from his true self; because he has been busy playing the role of an unscrupulous charlatan.
But how could this man accumulate such influence and power upon thousands? One cannot blame one’s own choices for attaching oneself to such a jolly fellow, for many of us have already experienced being trapped within various circumstances not of our making in some way or another. Rather to face the absurdity of life itself, the modern man struggles between reliving or escaping, and it seems the latter has been the ‘better’ option that the majority has taken since the former requires both the strength of will and absolute commitment to something.
Thus, in order to escape from such awe, many will try to find their own avenues of escapism; some may find it within the premises of those raunchy clubs, some on the magic of alcohol, some on the effects of drugs and some on the comfort of religion. However, I do prefer to create a distinction to separate the religion of commitment from that of comfort for a simple reason; the former tries to find one’s purpose while the latter only attempts to give man some temporary degrees of composure, for the latter lacks the depth and preciseness of the former and it chooses to compensate on one’s own weaknesses and perception and present it; as if it makes oneself a decent person.
The latter is the more popular variety of religion, where we chose our preferences as if we are on some grandiose hotel in which a buffet is taking place; we prefer to choose the most desirable for ourselves while being indifferent to others, the same attitude that the others may find among us. It is therefore such a tragedy that many have found solace within the empty label of ‘prosperity’. The prosperity of what one may ask but it is also just a simple and an undeniable fact; that this prosperity in this sense only meant both material and tangible wealth.
There is no reason why many would even bother to follow this man without this message of his, for he will just be treated as a generic preacher; both incomprehensible and delusional. For why bother to be constantly being ripped by a priest for our sins in order to activate my sense of guilt if I could just listen to a man who can accept me who I am and might as well continue my previous and ‘Godly’ deeds? In Sanchezean terminology, there is no pretension on why adherents are still flocking to participate on his so called avenues of worship; his theology is merely, to simply put it—an Ode and a Hymn to Money. For an insufferable number of hours, they will spend their lives dancing, ‘praying’, being lectured by this man and singing gospel music which to be honest has become a distinct irony of itself. Then you shall rinse and repeat, in addition of buying his so called ‘self-help books, his autobiographies and his view of God to become your viewpoint too.
But this preacher doesn’t need a God, for he is already God! Everyone nowadays can claim to be God or the son of God and still find many people flocking to them; the preacher simply made Christianity a perversion from its own perversion. We may agree to disagree that there are several problems within the Churches themselves, but this preacher with his so called ‘followers’ and his more than a million likers have become the face of Christianity that many have warned and; a Christianity where the price of being a Christian has been knocked down. In short, his so called ministry is the purest and highest form of parody; the parody of faith itself to the point that it cannot be taken seriously even if they bothered to sprinkle a bottle of holy water.
Indeed, one may try to reason out that the Church is wealthy, so what is the difference between this ‘humble’ man and the institution of the Church? For some reason, the Church has at least attempted to become insightful on matters of life and on upholding the virtues of poverty, charity and simplicity in contrast to vices and frivolity. This preacher on the other hand embodies the disgusting trend within Christianity to make itself relevant within the confines of the modern world; by turning against its transcendental principles to win out believers, whom have already descended into the most profane of hedonism and decadence than ever before.
Like the administrators of TED who turned their principles into a travesty, like capitalism that have turned people as cheap avenues of exploitation, like Nickelback which spat on the face of rock music and Limp Bizkit in terms of desecrating what remained of the dignity of alternative music, the preacher has turned Christianity into a commodity much like how easy can one declare himself to be a fan of comics and Justin Bieber. Nonetheless, this is how faith has turned for several people, an empty container and a repository for their frustrated ambitions which in turn are converted into this ceaseless passion for the pettiest of reasons.
In a society where people are raised to be dressed for success and the illusion that the system offers several opportunities to reach for that success, one may find a life system which gives them a way to reaffirm themselves that one can pursue the basest of desires while still being completely detached and claim that it is an ethical pursuit. Generations of positive psychology and positive thinking have therefore reinforced this tendency for us to become alienated from ourselves. From a Marxist point of view, this is perhaps the most fitting description of a faith bereft of faith, accommodating to the insecurities and uncertainties of the bourgeoisie who are only concerned with their limited and superficial selves.
From the Nietzschean one, the trans-valuation of values has long been completed to the point where the essence of God is not only dead, but also being used to justify one’s position in spite of one’s inconsistency and one’s attraction to contradictions. Hence, men like this certain preacher is a man whose guilt is the guilt of not being guilty; but he is rather a man which millions can look up to for his accomplishment on building an Inauthentic self in the midst of a world where everyone tries so hard to be Authentic in spite of having knowledge of what “Authenticity” is. He represents the contra-Heidegger to a people who have been shouting to be themselves for almost the entirety of its history.
Maybe this apparent illness and disease from our faith is a byproduct of being confined for three hundred years within a convent and more than fifty years of being dumbstruck by Hollywood which we have later adopted as a way of life. After all, this is just an inconclusive diagnosis to our increasingly commercial and anomic society that tramples everything and converts everything into a human comedy. Hence, like the attachment of some to this delightful clown, it also reveals our attachment both to our cozy and sentimental illusions that may have condemned us from the beginning.
As one has said of him, he managed to turn the word of God into a money tree. And perhaps the fate of faith as we descend into the pitiful depth of the abyss is to be condemned into a money tree. This is perhaps the reality that we shall experience nowadays within the skyscrapers and the shopping malls of the monotonous cities.
We may have nailed Christ on the cross for the second time around because of this manic excuse for a religious preacher. Christianity perhaps is the religion where God is dead, Christ is dead and the Holy Spirit has been replaced by the Communist Party which in our form is a community of believers. Like the Communist Party, Christianity is currently facing a deeper crisis within itself and with this buffoon hanging around, the conflict will still linger on for generations to come.