Plastic Christians

My brother K told me about a recent experience at a church visit with family over the holidays.  We were sharing shudders as he described the new music minister at the church.  The man in question led the service with loads artificial enthusiasm and forced good cheer, drumming up the “amens” throughout.  He maintained a steady patter of falsely self-depracating patter designed to imply humble godliness. 

If you’ve ever been in an IFB church you’ve probably seen the type, and it’s not exclusive to IFB.  I find it difficult to verbalize, but if you’ve seen it you know what I mean.  And don’t even try to tell me (or yourself) this “personality” is real.  It is completely manufactured, but I think it’s possible those who do it are not even aware of what they’re doing, since they may be unconsciously imitating other leaders within the religious system and Bible colleges/seminaries they’ve attended.

My question is, first, why isn’t this fake, plastic personna obvious to everyone sitting out there in the pews?  I do understand that this type of church leader is quite the norm within certain church circles, so maybe people are so inured to it they don’t “see” it.  But it is so very obviously artificial.  Which leads to the second question…

Why is a plastic image acceptable in church, particularly within church leadership?  Putting on a false front, even for the sake of “communicating the gospel” is deception (take a look at my blog post about what God says about abusive church leadership). How can a “personality” based on deception accurately communicate the truth?

Another question — if it seems necessary to project a “larger-than-life” image to the public, what is being hidden behind the mask? Christianity is about the truth. A false front is diametrically opposite to the very nature of the gospel and the model of Christ. A Christianity communicated through the mouth of a plastic mask is inherently rooted in falsehood; it is anti-Christ, to use a rather flagrant term, but an accurate one if you think about it. Very, very scary thought. But no one seems to think about it. And the fact that this can be overlooked by churches without a second thought says a lot for the state of those churches.

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