Prophet or Freak

Angus T. Jones by jjduncan_80 via Flickr.

Angus T. Jones by jjduncan_80 via Flickr.

Nineteen year old Angus T. Jones from the sitcom “Two and a Half Menofficially joined the Seventh-Day Adventist Church this past June and dissed the sitcom in a testimony and interview that just aired on November 30.  He pleaded, “If you watch ‘Two and a Half Men,’ please stop watching ‘Two and a Half Men.’ I’m on ‘Two and a Half Men’ and I don’t want to be on it.”  Jones might leave the show, turning down over $300,000 per episode.  He said, “You can’t be a true God-fearing person and be on a television show like that.”

This is a ballsy move. Many prophets, past and present, have had this enough-is-enough mentality and choose once and for all to end their cooperation in sustaining structures that oppose the values of God’s Kingdom. Admirable though that may be, sometimes prophetic activities can get a bit freaky. How can we know if they’re legitimate?

Prophets like Isaiah and Micah walked around naked (cf. Isaiah 20:3 and Micah 1:8) to enact their prophetic warnings with their bodies (some folks in San Francisco could find consolation in this bare fact). Street preachers with Bible in hand often stand on top of crates ranting about the end times.  A stranger next to you at a church bazaar robotically asks you if you have a devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. (As a matter of fact, I do, but I’m trying to win a goldfish here!)  An overserved uncle tells you at Christmas dinner every year to go to Mass more.  Evangelists march right up to you asking you to consider Christianity. (I’ve told them I’m Catholic, but that hasn’t stopped them from repeating their request.) Who are the prophets?

When Jones said, “I don’t want to contribute to the enemy’s plan,” his seemingly inspiring and even prophetic interview turned a little weird.  For some reason, this kind of talk makes me cringe, not because the speaker believes in the Devil’s existence and direct involvement in the world, but because that belief seems shot through with scrupulosity and fear. Either that, or maybe my reaction is a sign that I’ve become too comfortable with not hearing prophetic words about the Devil these days.

But now it’s your turn to chime in:

The naked truth is often difficult to bear: it can be downright jarring, but when is the jarring message prophetic and true?  What was it about Jesus’ message that made Him both attractive and repulsive?  When is the right time and place to “preach the Word”?  Should we work for change in a given structure or should we just tear it down and rebuild?  What is the Devil’s place in the pulpit?  Do you find Angus T. Jones’ testimony inspiring?

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