the amazing man

the amazing man cartoon by nakedpastor david hayward

The world is full of megalomaniacs. I saw another one in operation this weekend. It freaks me out. They are in all walks of life, not just the church. These people find their way to the front of the group. They find their way onto the stage. They find their way into leadership positions. But that’s just the half of it. The other half is we give them our permission. They are there because we put them there.

Like this guy. He’s a megalomaniac. But, like all megalomaniacs, he employs some higher value to validate his amazingness.

The gospel stories suggest that Jesus lived and gave examples of a different kind of leadership that was fuelled by love, freedom and service.

It is still trying to be understood 2,000 years later.

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  • carol

    That is why I can never join organizations even when they are championing causes that I whole-heartedly believe in!

    Hell hath no fury like an interest masquerading as a principle.–Anonymous

  • Ben

    Yikes, a chill just ran down my spine. Why is it that when people share a “word of knowledge” they always regress into King James English. God needs to update his translation software.

  • carol

    Sometimes an “uncommon” word is an “attention-grabber.”

    Actually, the King James Bible is not as faithful a translation as it could be and I prefer the NIV. The first time I read the entire bible, it was The Living Bible; but I suppose purists would not count that since it is a “paraphrase” (as though ALL translations are not “paraphrases” to some extent.”

    I read an article stating that the word often translated “righteousness” of God in the King James OT would be more contextually correct if it were translated “justice” of God. “Justice” has more of a relational context, whereas a solitary individual can be “rigteous.”

    Scripture witnesses to the Cosmic Christ, Savior of the world. Catholicism teaches Christ as the Savior of the Church. Protestantism preaches Christ as the Savior of the individual. Is this a case of “your God is too small, or what?”

  • You’re on stage in front of lots of people.

    But that’s not you, is it?

    Was it ever?

  • Pat Pope

    And when you try to speak up about this, everyone else shirks back, not wanting to cause a disturbance. Yet, behind closed doors they’re all whispering about the megalomaniac and lamenting their leadership. So, yeah, we are part of the problem of perpetuating their leadership.

  • Why, as Christians, are we so bad about falling in behind these megalomaniacs? We who are supposed to pick up our crosses and follow Christ, and Him alone? Doesn’t this make us more disfunctional than everyone else?

  • carol

    The best article on narcissism and the dynamics of evil can be found on these websites:

    The author even addresses the religious narcissist in his article.

    When religion is in the hands of the mere natural man, he is always the worse for it; it adds a bad heat to his own dark fire and helps to inflame his four elements of selfishness, envy, pride, and wrath. And hence it is that worse passions, or a worse degree of them are to be found in persons of great religious zeal than in others that made no pretenses to it. –William Law

    I think we must fully face the fact that when Christianity does not make a man very much better, it makes him very much worse.
    . . . Conversion may make of one who was, if no better, no worse than an animal, something like a devil. ~C.S. Lewis in a letter to Bede Griffiths, dated Dec.20 1961

  • carol

    I should qualify my recommendation of the article on narcississm, especially religious narcissism. “Peter” is not the person occupying the position of Pope; but the Office of a guarantor of the fundamental Christian mysteries.

    The history of the Catholic Church is replete with corrupt Popes and untransformed politically ambitions Church prelates.

    The Roman Magisterium (teaching authority) has been compromised by schism separating it from the Orthodox Churches of the East and an historical anomaly resulting in the Pope acting in union with curial bureaucrats instead of in union with the Bishops (collegiality)and clericalism rather than the practice of the priesthood of all believers.

    Cardinal Newman said there were three authorities in the Church:
    the authority of tradition,
    the authority of reason
    and the authority of experience,
    which he placed respectively in the hierarchy, the university
    and the body of the faithful.
    He added that if one of these three became too dominant, the right
    exercise of authority in the Church risked being compromised. Each
    needs to be strong; for example, the theological faculties have their
    authority. Charismatic movements, for example, easily tend to give
    too much authority to experience. There have been moments
    when reason appeared to be absolutized, as in some countries in
    eighteenth-century Europe. Today, I think that some groups within
    the Church give too exclusive a stress to tradition, to the detriment
    of reason and experience.
    —Timothy Radcliffe, OP

    In a rare interview in 1967 with Thomas McDonnell, [Thomas] Merton pronounced that the great crisis in the church is a crisis of authority precipitated because the church, as institution and organization, has overshadowed the reality of the church as a community of persons united in love and in Christ. He now charged that obedience and conformity with the impersonal corporation-church are a fact in the life of Christians. “The Church is preached as a communion, but is run in fact as a collectivity, and even as a totalitarian collectivity.~ George Kilcourse, ACE OF FREEDOMS: Thomas Merton’s Christ, Notre Dame Press, 1993

    “Reforming Church governance is not about shared power but about mutual empowerment in the Holy Spirit.”
    –Fr. Patrick Collins, from his essay on “Thomas Merton on Ecclesial Reform and Renewal” in Commentary.

  • Andrew

    PrayerPunk: Professor Bob Altemeyer’s (ret) book “The Authoritarians” is a great read about why people of faith (of various kinds) follow narcissism.

    His site is:
    And his freely available book is: