Step right up, step right up, come on ladies and gentlemen, come and see!
You’re about to witness spectacular, amazing thrills and miracles!
Come experience triumphant feats of strength and victory!
WHAM-BAM! For just $24.99 I can give you a potion that will push the sorrow right out of you! You might get to the point that you can’t live without it, and will do anything—I mean anything—to make sure you can keep your supply, but isn’t that better than feeling the way you feel?
KABOOM! Here’s an app that will bring you companionship, complete with a 30-day money-back satisfaction guarantee—and best of all, you never have to actually care about anyone! All you have to do is swipe right! Get your desires satisfied without the hard work of real relationships!
Looking for meaning?
LOOK NO FURTHER! If you act right here, right now, and open those wallets WIDE, I’ll give you the secret of life. You want it?
Aw heck, I’ll throw it in for free, a bonus for you just for listening. Ready? It’s making sure you have more status than them.
Don’t you want meaning?
Don’t you want love?
Don’t you want happiness?
Then step right up! Step right up, ladies and gentlemen, that’s right! Today, right here, right now, you can have it all!
All your miseries will be whisked away! All your sorrows cured! All your questions answered! I’ve done it for others, and I can do it for YOU—all for the low, low price of just $299.99. And if you order TODAY, before you leave church, I’ll throw in my user’s guide, How to Look Good Even When You Feel Bad. Your neighbors will be jealous. They won’t know what hit ‘em.
Okay, I can see this is a tough crowd. Some skeptics out there, I see.
That’s good, that’s right. No one wants to be taken for a ride.
Listen, maybe you’re looking for something…else. Right? Come closer, over here. This is my premium inventory. I don’t show it to just anyone.
But maybe you’re having troubles with the neighbors.
You know, the ones who are…different. They’re not like you. They don’t belong here. They talk differently, look differently, believe differently, vote differently. I mean, just look around this whole country. What a mess. Wouldn’t we all be better off without them?
Well, here, I can give you just what you need.
I can give you anger, I can give you hatred, I can give you resentment. Best of all, you’ll barely notice. It’ll be small and subtle, a gradual, imperceptible, almost entirely unnoticeable slide to the extremes, so that they more THEY do that angers you, the more YOU can feel justified in your anger. I can give you backlash and the delicious feeling of opposing the Ones who are making a mess of everything you hold dear.
Any buyers? Any takers?
Come on, now. Someone’s got to be the first to bite.
Okay, you’re holding back. I like it. You’re tough sells, discerning customers. Good. But I’ve got all the products in the world. Something’s bound to catch your fancy.
How about this one? Right here, you might like this. I can offer you rightness. It comes in a variety of flavors: religion, politics, purity, justice. I can offer you rules and regulations, sharp lines that show you exactly who’s in and who’s out. I can give you everything you need to know exactly who to cancel, who to boycott, who to unfriend. Don’t you want to own Them? Don’t you want to be on the right side of history?
Very well, I see you’re holding out for the best of the best. You know, that’s what I like about you. You’re letting me get through every last one of these products because you know I’ve been holding back. And darn straight, I’ve been holding back. I had to make sure you were really serious. I don’t bring this out just to tire kickers.
But here it is, the crown jewel of my collection, the crème de la crème.
I can give you power.
Power is worth every penny.
Yes, yes, it’s the most expensive product I have for you here today, but only the top of the line for you. And like all good investments, it’ll give you the biggest bang for your buck! With a smaller investment, you can use it to manipulate the people around you—and for more, lots more, mind you, you can make lots of people do what you want. For the right price, you can even control armies.
And that this level, we have two models—and they’re both top of the line.
You can do it to get what you want: that sweet, sweet feeling of knowing that you’re the one who’s ultimately in control.
OR you can do it for their own good. You know, this hurts me more than it hurts you, I have to do this so that you stay in line, that sort of thing?
Either way, it’s a bargain at twice the price.
Step right up, step right up, who doesn’t want to be able to control other people?
I have to say, I’m pretty disappointed in all of you. I came here with a gigantic inventory and I’ve hardly been able to move any of it.
It’s not usually this way, you see. Usually they’re lining up around the block. Usually I’ve got crowds upon crowds upon crowds ready to give over their entire souls for this treasure.
But you—I can tell there’s something different about you.
It’s what I feared.
You love Him, don’t you?
Don’t you understand, loving Him won’t get you anywhere?
If you love Him, you’ll still have sorrow. If you love Him, you’ll still be lonely. If you love Him, you’ll have questions and pains you may never be able to resolve.
If you love Him, you’ll have to dine with people, talk with people, embrace and be changed by people different from you. You won’t be able to hate them, resent them. You won’t be able to become ever more radicalized and extreme. You’ll have to be patient, thoughtful, kind.
If you love Him, you’ll never be able to make rules and regulations that keep the Bad Ones out. You’ll have to welcome them in. You’ll have to hear their stories. You’ll have to forgive. You’ll have to ask for forgiveness. You’ll have to un-cancel, un-boycott, re-friend.
Worst of all, if you love Him, you’ll have to give up whatever small amount of power you possess for the sake of those around you. If you have means, you’ll have to spend it in service of those who are without. If you have a voice or influence, you’ll have to willingly share it with and advocate on behalf of those who have been silenced. If you have access to food, clothes, work, housing, medical care, education, you’ll have to do everything in your power to make sure others do, too.
I mean, come on!
If you love Him, you’ll have to love them.
Is that really what you want?
It can’t be! It can’t be what you want. Nobody wants it. Look! Treasure is what sparkles and shines, what everyone chases. Don’t you want it too?
If you put your heart here, with these powerless, vulnerable people, you’ll be outcast. You’ll be ridiculed. You’ll be alone.
Well—not entirely alone.
He’ll be with you there.
But what can He do for you–an impoverished, homeless teacher who couldn’t even save himself from execution?
That’s who you’re following?
That’s who you’re following instead of me?
You know, I don’t get you. I’ll never get you and people like you. You could have everything, and you choose Him? You choose Him instead of me?
Well, I can see I’m wasting my time here with all of you. I’ll just be moseying along now. There are plenty of others who want what I’m selling.
But just you listen. If you change your mind, you know where to find me.