Posted on August 27, 2009 by belsnet
A story written by Hans Christian Andersen in the 1800’s reminds me of many religious organizations of today especially those with long traditions, however not just limited to them. I know of some fairly new groups with the same mentality.
The story is about an emperor of a prosperous city who cares more about looks and clothes than military pursuits or accomplishments. The emperor hires two men, who unbeknownst to him are con artists. The con men promise him the finest suit of clothes from the most beautiful cloth. This cloth, they tell him, is invisible to anyone who was either stupid or unfit for his position. The Emperor cannot see the (non-existent) cloth, but pretends that he can for fear of appearing stupid; his ministers do the same. When the swindlers report that the suit is finished, they dress him up and the Emperor then goes on a procession through the capital showing off his new “clothes”. During the course of the procession, everyone pretends to be in awe of them because none wanted to seem stupid until a small child cries out, “But he has nothing on!” The crowd realizes the child is telling the truth but no one would speak out. The Emperor, however, holds his head high and continues the procession through the city all the while relishing the accolades of the people who did not want to look stupid either.
Perhaps you are aware of or even participating in this deception in your church. A leader stands before the congregation and declares how wonderfully successful all the programs are. You sit there and wonder within your own mind; how can this be because you have not seen the results being spoken about? Sometimes you even question your own sanity. Sometimes you ask yourself; am I in the same organization this guy is talking about. Other times you question your spirituality. Have lost my spiritual insights? Yes you know the program is in effect, but you see no real outcomes because of it.
You are hearing others making the same boasting remarks as the leader. It would seem you are the only one who can see the “naked program” and you don’t want to look stupid, (unspiritual) so you go along with it. Inside your spirit is in turmoil because you cannot fathom how such show can be made when little or nothing is being accomplished.
If this is another one of those catechisms “speak things aren’t as they were” it serves to confuse and deceive more than bring about the objective. It is one thing to employ faith to living in the spiritual world but quite another to ignore reality.
For the blind man Jesus healed, his was reality. “I was blind but now I see” is a statement of reality. No one could question his healing, it was evident. He could declare it everywhere and anywhere.
A church program that goes on and on, year after year with the same meaningless results cannot honestly be declared wonderfully successful by anyone.
Any leader who continues to proclaim such is unreliable or deceptive. They are deceptive to the point soon enough, who can believe any report from them. Yet if you attend a church on a regular basis you know someone like that.
We all know of many such church programs that continue to function, using valuable resources and manpower yet remain impotent. They have been in place so long most everyone considers them sacred and to remove them would mean blasphemy even though they are “naked”.
It is a responsible leader who will see and accept the malfunction and make changes. It is not acceptable for the leader to continue to parade the “naked” program through the church community. Someone must stand up and say, “But it has no clothes”.