I just read this well-reasoned article on morality and self-righteousness. The author of the blog, ‘The Idols Among Us’—from whom I received permission to post this extract—uses the music of Sufjan Stevens; and in particular, the song, ‘John Wayne Gacy Jr.’ as a jumping off point for his thoughts. Please connect to the full article with the link below.
In my humble opinion, few musical artists are better than Sufjan Stevens. The man writes pop/folk songs like they are orchestral arrangements with lyrics that read as poetry (Now, some of you are going to picture me gushing like a thirteen year-old girl after reading that last sentence and proceed to mock. All I’m going to say is stop, think, and ask yourself a question. Do you feel lucky, punk?!? Ahem. I mean… Do you really think that’s constructive and uplifting? I didn’t think so.) One his best songs tells the story of a serial killer named John Wayne Gacy Jr. Not exactly fluff. So be warned. But after describing what this horribly deranged man did to so many people, Stevens leaves the listener with this haunting line: “And in my best behavior/ I am really just like him/ Look beneath the floorboards/ For the secrets I have hid.” It is the most damning assessment of human nature in pop culture that didn’t involve a Jersey Shore episode I’ve ever heard. To compare yourself to a serial killer is a pretty crazy thing to say. But in the context of our sinful state and the holiness of God, it isn’t. We are all just like him.