~ Pay Close Attention to That Man Behind The Curtain ~

by E.L. Anglin

Recently my daughter and I revisited her love affair with the old film classic 'The Wizard of Oz.' Over the course of my life I have seen portions of the film, but never disciplined myself to watch the entire thing. Fantasy flicks never have been of much interest to me.

However, this time Rebecca asked me to watch the whole thing with her and I complied. I suppose I gave in because I knew she was leaving for her freshman year of College this week and I wanted to spend every moment I could with her - even if that meant watching 'The Wizard of Oz.'

So we sat and watched it, eating our popcorn and drinking our soda pop.

I must admit that I enjoyed it. To be sure, it is corny theatre. The film alternates from black and white to color. The main characters are Dorothy, her dog Toto, a scarecrow, tin man and a cowardly lion.

Each character seems to be missing something in life. Dorothy and Toto miss home, the scarecrow is missing a brain, the tin man a heart and the cowardly lion courage.

In order to find what is missing, the group is directed to "follow the yellow brick road" because it leads to the Wizard of Oz. They are directed to the Wizard because it is believed he is the only one with the power to give them what they lack.

And so through many dangers, they follow the road. They do as instructed. They trust the instructions given. The group fights imps, a wicked witch and their own personal imperfections to reach the Wizard.

When at last they reach the Emerald City, and gain audience with the Wizard, they enter a chamber filled with smoke and a dazzling light. The frightening image of the Wizard is seen on a wall and his booming voice rains down at them.

When given a chance to speak, Dorothy makes her plea for help. She informs the Wizard that the group has completed its mission, that the Wicked Witch of the West is dead, and that she and her friends expect to be rewarded for their heroic acts.

The Wizard is insulted by this. A great show is made to express his anger. The booming voice booms louder, the smoke becomes thicker, the image more vitriolic.

However, in the middle of all of the chaos, Toto breaks loose from Dorothy and runs to a portion of the room hidden behind a curtain. Jumping on the curtain he pulls it back to reveal a small man at an elaborate control panel. As the man pushes each button the image and voice of the Wizard is activated.

When the little man turns and realizes Dorothy and her friends see him for what he really is, he pulls the curtain closed and screams into the microphone, "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!"

As I watched this scene I was smitten with the irony of his command. The little man commanded Dorothy and her friends to ignore the reality of the moment in order to buy in to a myth: The myth that he was "The Great and Powerful Wizard of Oz." He commanded them to ignore what they absolutely knew as truth in order to believe a lie. He commanded them to ignore every sensory skill in order to perpetuate a theatrical persona.

There are powerful voices in Christianity who want to hide what is behind the curtain. These voices boom with authority but lack spiritual power. I now realize that some things cannot be hidden behind a curtain. I simply refuse to suspend everything I see in the Word, feel in my spirit, and know intellectually.

Religion, far too often, fails in the areas of truthfulness and transparency. Religion, based upon faulty oral tradition, is useless. It is time for truthfulness. It is time for introspection. It is time for a return to God's Word.

Everything else is a myth, and I refuse to give my life to lies. How sad to work, build, and give to a paradigm only to discover that all of the effort was wasted on a faulty theological premise.

Truth, once revealed, demands close inspection. Do not allow blind allegiance to men and their traditions trump what God reveals to you through His Word and by His Spirit.

Pay close attention to that man behind the curtain.

This writing is the copyright of E.L. Anglin and is reprinted on this site by permission. View all of his available articles here.

Page added March 2, 2015


August 23, 1997
Copyright © 1997-2015 by Lois E. Gibson
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