Okay. So Twitter and blog-world are exploding today with news that the latest church worship celebrity, Mike Guglielmucci of “Healer” fame, has been a total liar, fake and fraud when it comes to his claim of beating life-threatening cancer. His story and the song which is supposedly inspired have been the talk of the worship world for the last month or so – especially with the news that Hillsong had recorded it and were including the song (along with the powerful live video) in their latest release, “This Is Our God.”
Here’s a quick recap of Mike’s story –
- Diagnosed with cancer
- Comes home, sits at the piano and begins singing
- The melody and words of “Healer” pour out in this incredible time of worship
The song was then recorded by Planetshakers on their latest album and apparently caught the ear of the Hillsong folks who decided it would be great for their album. Once the promotion for that record started, Mike’s story was front and centre – including a promotional video that was released with Mike telling the world his story interspersed with shots of him singing the song at the live recording, oxygen tank, nose tubes and all.
So word breaks this morning that none of Mike’s story can be verified. Here are some links –
- Adelaide Now
“Michael has confirmed that he is not suffering with a terminal illness and is seeking professional help in Adelaide with the support of his family.
“We are asking our church to pray for the Guglielmucci family during this difficult time.”
- The Australian
It appears Mr Guglielmucci, who was a pastor with one of Australia’s biggest youth churches, Planetshakers, may even have deceived his own family.
“This news has come as a great shock to everyone including, it seems, his own wife and family,” Hillsong general manager George Aghajanian said in an email to his congregation yesterday.
Crazy. Idiotic. Foolish. How can someone even DREAM of something like this?? What kind of sick, deranged person lies in their bed at night trying to think of ways to gain fame, notoriety and recognition while perhaps lining their pockets with some extra coin based on sales of a song that might be inspired by such a tragedy?? This is a total disgrace and another black eye on the modern evangelical church.
So. How do we respond? Some say stone him! Some say blacklist him! Some say he just needs a swift kick in the ass! How about you? What do you say?
What do I say?
I don’t know.
Part of me is so tired of this. I’m so tired of trusting people and their stories of God doing amazing things only to be once again disappointed. I’m so tired of having to defend a church that wants to hold these people up based on their lies and deceit. I’m so tired of having to explain to friends why I would even associate myself with an institution that allows people like this to get famous. Nevermind the fact that I’m so tired of an institution that is making these people famous in the first place!
Part of me wants to stand on the rooftops and shout “I AM NOT ONE OF THEM!! I AM NOT ONE OF THOSE LYING, CHEATING JERKS WHO IS SELLING YOU A FALSE GOSPEL!!” I want so bad to distance myself from these idiots and their garbage lies and their cheating ways. I would scratch their name from history and have them never heard from again if it was up to me.
And then I wonder.. What does God say?? What does He think of all of this?
Why wouldn’t He turn His back on the whole lot of us and just let us all go down in flames? Why wouldn’t He just give this world a little nudge and send it spinning off in to the darkness of the universe? Why wouldn’t He just hit the cosmic reset button and start this whole damned thing over again?
And all I’m left with as an answer is “grace.” Because of grace. The only reason we are still living and breathing and spending a single moment on this planet is because of grace. God has every right to squash every last one of us and laugh at our stupidity – thinking that we have anything more to offer than Mike or Todd or whoever the next one will be. God has every right to stand on the rooftop and yell “Don’t listen to them!! I am not like them!! I don’t do things the way he says I do them!!” while pointing directly at.. me.
Cause that’s the truth, right?? We’re all Mike. We’re all Todd. We’re all messed up, screwed up, broken, deceitful, lying, sinful people. Now we may not be as devious or as scheming as those who are exposed and exploited but does that make us any better or any worse? Not at all. At the end of the day we are broken, sinful people in need of grace. Only God’s grace. And I need just as much of it as Mike does.
Could you imagine if all of your crap was exposed for the world to see? What if your Twitter account really detailed everything you were doing? everything you were thinking? Uh oh. We wave the “authentic” flag as though people are getting to know the real us if we post a little of our family struggles or about our issues with this sin or that, imagining that if people are given a littel glimpse in to a bit of the hard side of my life they might give me a little pat on the back for being so honest. And really it’s just misdirection – let’s give them a bit of what’s behind Door #2 so they don’t want to look behind Door #3, cause if that door was opened it’s game over.
I don’t know. I’m not suggesting that we all have stories like Mike’s. I’m not suggesting that we’ve all cooked up schemes like his. But if it was YOUR song that Hillsong was releasing and YOUR name being used to promote it and someone uncovered ALL of YOUR baggage and garbage, don’t you think it would be the talk of the town? Yeah. Sure it would.
I have nothing to say about whether or not you should play the song. Some will say that the song is born in the heart of the writer and there is no way to use the song to lead people in worship. Some will say that the song – not the writer – is anointed and if God can speak through a donkey he can certainly speak through a deceiving, lying songwriter. Some will say that the song is worthless and not very good and shouldn’t be used in congregational worship anyways. So take your pick 🙂
So there you go. You’ve heard my thoughts. I’ve read lots of yours. I’m sure this will be talked about for a while. What’s next? Where do we go from here? What do we do with the famous ones in our church culture? Let’s hear you.
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