The New Greatest Show on Earth!

Johnny Ogletree, III M. Div.
5 min readAug 28, 2020

8 1 When Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons as Israel’s leaders.
2 The name of his firstborn was Joel and the name of his second
was Abijah, and they served at Beersheba. 3 But his sons did not
follow his ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice. 4 So all the elders of Israel gathered
together and came to Samuel at Ramah. 5 They said to him, “You
are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.” 1 Samuel 8:1–5

“We did this,” I couldn’t help but think. Watching our faith freefall from a 100 story building, after being tempted by the adversary, putting our God to the test. Our faith (I speak as Nehemiah spoke) has publicly placed greed in a spoon, cooked it with party propaganda, wrapped the 10 commandments around our arms to expose a vein, and used misguided proclamation to inject poison into the Kingdom of God.

Kingdom citizens are reduced to addicts, chasing the next high from false proclamation, while our leaders sit in pulpits and on boards, zipper down waiting to watch the next chosen pool boy perform, and hoping to rope the assistant into a image of righteousness that would make our Lord brag about the Pharisees of His earthly time.

Politics makes Strange Bedfellows

One day, we stood pure in white, waiting for the return of our King, and the next morning we woke to political party prostitutes’ in our churches, partnering and serving our clergy and manipulating our flock. Over the years, as our prophets have become distributing outlets of idolatry, carefully packaged as capitalism. Our leaders tested the product first (of course the first high is always free), and with the high fresh on their brain, began crafting messages, and living lifestyles that would lead to the pleasing of the flesh and corrupting of the soul.

The messages from the pulpit stood not in judgement of the world, but in justification of the sin on display, teaching Kingdom citizens that we could manage a dual citizenship. This would enable believers to live as the world Monday through Saturday, and live as Kingdom on Sunday. Believers were convinced that the Lord deserved one day, and that the six belonged to them to pursue earthly wealth all while ignoring spiritual health.

Two Heads; One Body

Those in power wave the magic wand of promise, and our pastors and prophets (using their influence) smile, while getting into the magic box of mirrors to participate with the illusion. We have been sawed in half, made to disappear, been given legs and a head that don’t match. Our churches have flirted with the concept of monogamy, but have found more comfort in polygamy. Our body, once adorned with one head, not shares an additional face, speaking with The Lord, but not in agreement with The Lord. Two mouths on one body, commanding limbs, causing confusion, leading to frustration, and finding comfort in delusion.

Our people have been fitted with a saddle, bridle and blinders. Walking through this country focused on one goal. The message of Christ was used like a saddle. It enables each politician to adjust the ethical stirrups, grabbing the horn, while kicking and yelling giddy up each voting season. Bit firmly in our mouths, the direction of our ministries are controlled by the latest political starlet. They grab the reins and ride us to their destiny, and sadly we aren’t distracted by what exists. The blinders on our heads keep us from being in touch with the community we have been planted in. Decline is on every side, yet we are content with the promise of greener pasture of prosperity. Leaving our waste behind for those to follow; hoping that our waste will make fertile again the path we make on our journey to wealth.

Un-Spirituality TV

Our pastors and prophets are like watching reality tv shows with un-righteous story lines. Encouraging idolatry via prosperity, coined as “being blessed”, we were taught to celebrate those who gained wealth, and hate and vilify though who lived in lack. We saw the wealthy as favored by God, and the poor as cursed by their sin and poor choices. We built our esteems on how many people gathered, and neglected to count how many were following. Our people were discipled by snake oil sales men. They used their oratory skills and showmanship to manipulate people filled with faith, and capitalized on their pain speaking to them a false hope.

The house of God, which should be a house of prayer, once again, took on the image of big business. We focused less on the transition of the soul, and majored on the transactions of currency, and the power we gained in the world by generating revenue, and not creating revival. Our revivals became fundraisers that would overcome summer slumps and fund lavish living and lascivious lifestyles.

Sadly, our faith has become,
“The New Greatest Show on Earth!”

And I weep! Not I wept! I weep! My eyes filled with tears. My heart is broken. My soul is heavy! We failed the people yet again. They have followed the blind again, and have found themselves in a pit. And we keep asking them to follow us into darkness, support us with our foolishness and to justify our stumbles and strongholds.

Thus, I am not surprised the people asked for a king! I’m not surprised the people have ignored the evil done by the king. I don’t even think most are blinded by the ignorance of this king, rather they see no difference between his actions and the actions of those God called to lead them. Thus they cry for a king! One who will take! One who will abuse! One who will use! One who will build for himself! One that will secure his needs for the future, before meeting the needs of our present.

Righteousness is not Found in the Gray areas!

And while addressing the king must be done, the major change needs to occur in the church. The image is not blurred by the unrighteous, but it is compromised by the righteous who have compromised the standard of righteousness. Maybe I should say, righteousness is not a “gray area”. We can not point people towards the median of sin and declare it the mark of righteousness. We can no longer allow wolves live among the flock. They have taken righteousness, and given it a party brand name. The standard was set by God, not by man! The Kingdom of God must rise to the occasion, speaking a word of truth and following the lead of the spirit. We must remove the bridle from politicians and entertainers, return the reins, and remove them from the seat that belongs to The Lord!

This must be a concerted effort. Not just Samuel, but every son born from him must commit to living a standard that is God honoring. If you are Samuel, you must teach your sons and hold them accountable, and as a son, you must listen to sound instruction and continue model righteousness to future generations.