When the Mirror Speaks, the Reflection Lies

Sometimes I wish that the world was a little more like pro wrestling.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t really have any burning need to have more large half naked men in my life, but there are some aspects of the drama that are attractive.

Much like real life, pro wrestling is peppered with betrayal. Unlike real life, pro wrestling has the decency to punctuate betrayal with a steel chair to the back, a Super Kick to the head, and a mustache twirling speech about how foolish we have all been for believing in our supposed hero in the first place.

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In 2005, before his ear exploded on a UFC pay-per-view and before he became the longest running world champion in WWE’s modern era, CM Punk was about to become Ring of Honor World Champion. Punk had been a fan favorite since first entering the promotion, but mostly worked a heel persona based on his real life abstinence from drugs and alcohol. Straight edge meant that he was “better than you”… harnessing a kind of agnostic fundamentalist condescension.

Toward the end of his run with Ring of Honor, he dropped his heel character and turned “baby face”, finally allowing the crowds that long loved him to cheer for him as well.

That all changed on June 18, 2005, when CM Punk won the ROH World Championship. Still trailing the streamers behind him that were thrown to celebrate his victory, Punk promptly revealed that his change of heart had all been a ploy. He had played them all for fools. He was the devil who had convinced Ring of Honor that he didn’t exist.

This was the beginning of Punk’s exit from ROH in particular, and independent wrestling in general, having recently signed a contract with WWE. The anthem that symbolized his last few months spent tormenting the fans who loved him was his new entrance music, Cult of Personality by Living Colour.

That song has been in my head a lot lately.

We so rarely, if ever, have the villain revealed so clearly to us. When the wolf makes his way into a community of sheep, he doesn’t whip off his wool clothing and start slaughtering the sheep… someone might see a fang now and again, but the only real proof that there is a wolf around is when sheep start to disappear or bodies start showing up.

When the wolf looks into the mirror, he sees a sheep.

“When the mirror speaks, the reflection lies.”

The wolf isn’t satisfied with merely being seen as a sheep, the sheep costume merely gets them in the door. When Jesus warns of those who outwardly seem to be sheep, but are truly ravening wolves (Matthew 7:15), he is warning of false prophets. The wolf posing as a sheep is ultimately posing as one who speaks for God.

The title of this post is a line from Cult of Personality, and there is one more that deserves some attention.

“You give me power in your God’s name.”

More than anything else, that is the power that the wolf in sheep’s clothing will wield, the name of God. Our scriptures are loaded with examples of writers going out of their way to not mention God’s name at all, for fear of using it in vain, but this is the chief power of the wolves that are in our midst. They leverage the name of God in order to fill their bellies with mutton.

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All of this is a shrouded reality. Often the only ones who sees the truth behind the fiction are those who are about to be set on by the wolf. After that happens the wool is once again pulled over the wolf to conceal his true nature, as well as over the eyes of the sheep. No one wants to believe the rumors of wolf attacks because to question the mouth full of fangs is to question the mouth that has proclaimed God to them.

It’s enough to make you wish that Pastor Wolf would kick off service be clocking a congregant in the head with a steel chair, bare his teeth for the whole congregation to see, and tell them all what stupid stupid little sheep they have been.

… but no, the charade must go on, we must continue to grow the cult of personality.

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15 thoughts on “When the Mirror Speaks, the Reflection Lies

  1. I was thinking about this the other day. When you go to a church, if you want to work around children or in ministry, they screen you–or most bigger churches do anyway. They do background checks at least. Some churches I’ve attended have not and I was shocked when I found out that they had no screening for people around kids. I was appalled. But most of the time, they do this because they know that kids are precious and you can’t risk a thing when it comes to them. However, when you go into a church–the pastor is not screened. The paper trail he left at his last church is not given to you. The testimonies and accounts of former members or people he’s worked with is not revealed. That is not common stuff that is given to a person going into a church, but maybe it should be. Unless they are a celebrity pastor and you can look up their past online, you would never know. But since he went to seminary and managed to come into a church and was vetted probably by more like him, then we are supposed to trust that he is the man of God. I find it all very interesting. I guess I don’t know the process by which a man becomes a pastor thoroughly enough to know, but I think many other professions are screened much more thoroughly and I believe that Pastors should also be. I think I read the other day that pastors are on the top of lists for abuse. Doesn’t surprise me at all.

    • The space between a pastor and congregation doesn’t really help. It’s an awful lot easier to perpetrate a fraud at 50 feet than it is up close. It’s also hard to weed people out because sometimes it’s the system that is creating the wolves rather than the wolves entering the system.

      There was a study done on a group of pastors in Canada that I can try to locate a link on which was pretty interesting. As long as there are vulnerable people in the church it will attract predators, it’s one of the reasons that we need to stand up to wolfish behavior when we see it.

  2. Good stuff. And that scenario you end with where Pastor Wolf bears his teeth and tells his little congregants what stupid stupid little sheep they are happens in thousands of Independent Fundamentalist Churches, Calvary Chapels and like bible cults every Lord’s Sunday, I’m afraid.

    From the pulpit stage I’m certain this illustration of clocking someone out with a metal folding-chair has been done to good effect on more than one occasion. At least the probabilities of this is high; especially if they have one of those weirdos fond of pro wrestling as their acting pastor.

    In my estimation it seems the meaner the personality of the wolves in these haunts, the greater the spectacle and drama they’re able to conjure for their people to feed off of and be marveled by. It’s live entertainment! And it’s worth the price of admission to some, though they do not know the whore will steal their soul; and that the wolves are only there to fleece and feed of God’s sheep.

    • So, are these those isolationist “only true church” type movements where the meanness is directed outward, but you have to fear becoming other? I could see that dynamic being something that could develop, but it’s really more like hiring the biggest wolf to be the head of your pack than the wolf in sheep’s clothing.

      • Yeah, I don’t know. And that’s the thing: these congregants get the wolf spirit passed into them, so that everyone playing church is forced into a pack mentality of meanness and hate—so that those who might otherwise have been good and decent folk begin to look like wooly wolves. The antichristian spirit becomes them, further blinding and binding them to the vision and ministry of the Wolf.

        It is impossible, I believe, to be left unaffected by such judgmental and fundamentalist environments; one’s “faithful” participation in them invariably sickens and sells them out to the whore; makes them either more and more like Pastor Wolf or more and more like someone who needs Pastor Wolf’s ministry of love and grace, if you know what I mean.

        Directionally, I suppose, the meanness goes full-circle, outward, inward—hate looking for something to hate on. And the Big Wolves are expert at inciting the fear and admiration of those who have lost their christian way, who do not know The Shepherd’s voice. Surely the reason why the Biggest and Baddest Wolves get paid so kingly is for how hard and heavy the burden of possessing so much mega-power and brute control over God’s people must be!

  3. “No one wants to believe the rumors of wolf attacks because to question the mouth full of fangs is to question the mouth that has proclaimed God to them.”

    Also, no-one wants to risk being attacked by the wolf themselves. I think that sometimes maintaining the facade is a way of protecting yourself – if you don’t question his disguise as a sheep, we can placate him into leaving us alone.

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