I suppose everyone has heard about the guy, pastor Michael Guglie-manilli singing healing songs with the oxygen tubes in his nose. Am I the only person who finds that mildly funny? (Now I said, "mildly.") I'm sorry, I keep remembering the Conan O'Brien skit "Dudz'a'plenty" in which Conan invented a boy band. Conan insisted that there be some cool handicap guy in the boy band as all famous boy bands tend to have someone sporting a cane. So Conan made one of his Dudz'a'plenty boyband members sit in a wheel-chair and sing with an oxygen mask. He called it a "Vanity Respirator." It was hilarious.
I suppose I should be a little more judgemental about ole' Guglie, but I really just can't. I'm more prone to rolling my eyes and chuckling. I've done my fair share of stupid things in church. Like the time I stood in front of the entire church, spoke my bible verse (one of 4 bible drill winners) and flipped-off all my friends sitting in the balcony, especially the ones who kept giving me phantom golf claps. Now, it wasn't an all-out "hanging of the bone" on my part. It was gently tapped on my arm as my arms where crossed. However inconspicuous I felt my little birdie was, my tapping foul finger sent a shock wave through rows and rows of the very people who shine the buckle on the bible belt. When I got home, I met my dad who was clutching a very different kind of belt. It was fun. My mom barely spoke to me for two weeks. I think it was the only time my parents actually stuck to a grounding.
Now, some of you might be saying, "well, you were just a kid then." Well, I suppose so, but grown up men make little boy mistakes every single day. Just ask their wives. And I guarantee you that not a sermon or service goes by when a pastor or music minister isn't flipping someone off in their minds from the pulpit. "Well, there's that old crabby bastard just a' sittin' in the back with his arms folded. It's because of him that nobody can hear back there. He has been the biggest thorn in the ass of the budget committee." or, "There's old such and such. Scowling as USUAL over the Anthem I picked. He can just kiss my butt and smell it."
The point of this post is this: We aren't so disgusted with the sin, really. I mean, he didn't really "harm" anyone. He wasn't banging the secretary or laundering church money. He was just doing a grand bit of faking. And yes, Pastor Michy Vanilli may have dashed a few sick people's hopes who admired him for his battle with cancer (fake-cancer.) But come on, there are plenty of other role models who have fought and beaten cancer. And if they can't listen to his songs anymore then they better just stop quoting David's psalms since David killed a man so he could get freaky with the man's wife.
We are disgusted because it makes Christians and Christian Music look so dumb and gullible. It is also a tad sickening that this guy played upon the illness of others to get money. But don't all songwriters do that in smaller, more acceptable ways? Do they reeeeally feel all their emotions towards their daughters when they write those wedding songs? Now WAY they are thinking -just a little bit - "holy Osteen, this could make me richer than M.W. Smith and Amy Grant's lovechild!" Don't ya think that when Chris Tomlin or D. Crowder or Mercy Me writes that perfect praise melody, that for a brief little second, along with hearing the voices of angels they hear, "ca-ching?" Yeah, I'm suuuuuure ole' Bart doesn't regret selling the publishing rights to Only Imagine to Amy Grant for a 100 grand. And I'm suuure Amy really regrets that deal. Yeah. Riiiiight. But that's OKAY! Nothing wrong with making an honest days wages.
The dangerous bottom line is this: There is a pretty penny to be made in the CCM world and it is a business. Brody once asked the lead singer of Switchfoot for me "what's the difference between an "artist who is a Christian" and a "Christian Artist." The lead singer replied, "The Christian Artist makes more money."
The man with the tubes in his nose, faking cancer was just doing what we've all done on time or another when we cheat on our taxes, or what the Chinese volleyball player did when she was about to lose to the Americans... they fake it. They go overboard. They take advantage of the system. This man was doing what everyone of us do, except on a grander, more ridiculous level. He was just doing it from a church stage... with oxygen tubes in his nose. I will admit, that's pre-----tty low-down, but sin is sin and we've all done it and will continue to do it.
In the end I think I'll cut the tubes-in-his-nose-cancer-faking guy some slack. I'm sure he's got many-a'-night to sleep on the couch and ponder his decision. We can pick the sin, but we sure as hell can't pick the consequences.
It always sucks when a Christian publicly screws up, but what sucks more is how the Christian community reacts. We are sooooo embarrassed. Embarrassed about what? Embarrassed that man is flawed? That Christians aren't perfect? I'm not embarrassed. Maybe a little, but more amused, sadly. If we are devastated that a Christian can sin, well, get used to it. Honestly, I'm not so worried about this guy any more. His sin is out in the open. I'm more worried about the millions of Christian men dilly-dallying in front of a picture of a naked lady on their computer monitor, late at night when the wife's gone to bed.
Hopefully we can be a little forgiving to the guy and take this time to examine ourselves and our motives, and try not to be such colossal suckers. Hey, maybe the guy's got a future in a middle-aged boy band.