So I preached last Sunday, and I really tried not to pull any punches. The talk was on the parable of the “rich fool”, and the punchline was that we don’t really trust God, even though we say we do. We fall for the “grand illusion” that one of my favorite bands, Styx, sang about in the early 80s:
But don’t be fooled by the radio / The tv or the magazines / They show you photographs of how your life should be / But they’re just someone else’s fantasy / So if you think your life is complete confusion /
Because your neighbors got it made / Just remember that it’s a grand illusion / And deep inside were all the same.
So after I’m done, I get all sorts of people thanking me for the message. One guy said it was the best he’s heard me give. They’re happy that I told them we’re all a bunch of hypocrites who don’t really trust Jesus when he says he’ll take care of us? They’re happy that I said we’re just dupes who fall for the wisdom of the world, which tells us to get more and more stuff for ourselves? Shouldn’t they be mad at me instead, or at least offended?
So maybe the real grand illusion is the one that preachers fall for. We think we need to make our listeners feel happy about the decisions they’ve already made. I think they’re more satisfied when we just tell them the truth.