Step right up, step right up, come on, ladies and gentlemen, come and see!
You’re about to witness the most spectacular, amazing thrills and miracles of your life!
Come watch feats unlike any you’ve ever seen!
Come right here, and get a taste of exactly what I can do for YOU.
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 literally can’t live without it, and will do anything—I mean anything, even if it means destroying your relationships and life—to make sure you can get it, but isn’t that better than feeling the way you feel?
KABOOM! Here’s an app that will bring you love, complete with a 30-day money-back satisfaction guarantee—and best of all, you never have to actually interact with anyone! Get your desires satisfied without the hard work of real relationships!
Looking for meaning?
LOOK NO FURTHER! If you act right here, right now, open up those wallets WIDE, I can tell you the secret of life.
Aw, heck, I’ll throw it in free, a bonus for you just for listening! Ready? It’s doing what feels good. Period. If you feel good, you’re happy. Right?
Don’t you want meaning?
Don’t you want love?
Don’t you want happiness?
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 $200. And if you order NOW, today, before you leave church, I’ll throw in my user’s guide, How to Hide So No One Really Knows You at no extra charge. 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. I don’t show this to just anyone.
Maybe you’re having troubles with some neighbors.
I mean, come on, you’ve got to be sick of them. They’re not like you. They’re different. They talk differently, look differently, believe differently, vote differently. Look around this country. What a mess. Wouldn’t everyone be better off without them?
And here, I can give you 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 the more THEY do that angers you, the more YOU feel justified in your anger. I can give you backlash and the delicious of 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 one to take the first to bite.
Okay, you’re holding back. I like it. You’re a tough sell, a discerning customer. 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, family, patriotism, social 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. 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. Darn straight, I’ve been holding back. I wanted to make sure you were 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 at this level, it’s up to you what model you want, they’re both top of the line.
You can do it to get what you want, or you can do it for their own good.
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.
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 even 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 temperate, moderate, 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 won’t just be able to cancel, boycott, and unfriend.
Worst of all, if you love Him, you’ll have to give up your power for the sake of those around you. If you have means, you’ll have to spend it in service of the poor. If you have a platform, you’ll have to willingly share it with 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 want you want?
It can’t be! It can’t be what you want. Nobody wants it. Look! There’s the broad, wide road—that’s where everyone else is! Don’t you want to join them there? Wouldn’t that be better than being here?
If you stay here, on this small, narrow path, with this small, pathetic little group, you’ll be outcast. You’ll be ridiculed. You’ll be alone.
Well—not entirely alone.
He will be with you there.
But who is He?
A weak, foolish, homeless man who couldn’t even save himself from execution.
That’s who you’re following instead of me?
I’ll never get you and people like you. You could have everything, and you’re choose Him? You’re choosing Him instead of me?
Well, I can see I’m wasting my time here with all of you. I’ll just be moseying along. 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.