(Intro: This is a short story I wrote five or six years ago, long before the book Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman was published. But is seems like a perfect follow-up to the posts on his book the end of last week. Read and consider … )
Clesia had become fanatical since the moment her best friend Addley shared what she knew about the celebrity Krys Tje (pronounced te-jaa). It seemed like everywhere she ever went there were mobs of people gathered to meet him. And local fan clubs had started popping up everywhere. They talked about him, they read about him, they sang about him. Her local club (they had decided to name it the ORB) even gathered once or twice a week to hear others speak about him. In her newly elected role as treasurer, she collected dues every time they met. The funds really helped cover their meeting and traveling expenses. The mailing list for the global fan club was also growing like crazy. Clesia did all she could to get her friends signed up and committed to the world-wide club. Wait a minute, all her friends were already in the fan club. They had so much fun together and there was always something entertaining to do at the ORB.
They talked about dying to marry him but that was a somewhat common occurrence among female fans and their idols. Elvis and Michael had both claimed the title of king in the past, but Krys held the present claim to that title. In fact, he claimed that title had always belonged to him anyway. They wore his t-shirts, his jewelry. His face and name and emblem were all displayed proudly on their cars. It was so cool how his emblem was a non-capitalized ‘t’. She didn’t quite understand the other emblem. It was a three quarters version of the infinity symbol. Magazines about him started popping up on newsstands. There were pictures; there were even articles about him. The odd thing about the pictures was that they were always sketches or paintings. Not a single photographer had ever captured him on film. Of course, movies were made about him all the time and the faces of the actors portraying him frequently showed up in her visions and dreams of him. It was so exciting to learn all about him. Clesia tried her best not to miss a thing that came out about him. Going to all the fan club conferences was also a blast. She had one of the best collections of memorabilia around. Mostly T-shirts, jewelry, CDs, DVDs, books, and magazines but she also had some audio speeches of some of her favorite fan club speakers along with a few nice posters and paintings.
A lot like that guy Bono, Krys was really an activist, a revolutionary. There were books all about what he said would make life fulfilling, what he said would transform life as we know it. He was just so right on. The fan clubs were doing all they could to change the world for him. Gosh, to think of speaking to him about these things only jump started her creative imagination. To actually talk to him would have probably resulted in nothing short of a quick faint.
And then one day this incredible news came. She couldn’t remember now if it was in the fan newsletter or if it had been at a club meeting, not that it really mattered. Krys announced that he would be marrying a follower. Of course it had said the plural, but she just figured it was a misprint. She knew he was committed to monogamy. But it didn’t say who the lucky bride would be. Could it be her? Maybe Addley? Any of her friends? She knew they had to be there. And so they all started working extra hard in anticipation of the wedding day.
And then that glorious day finally arrived. Things were kind of a blur … she really wasn’t sure how she got there. Her friends were nowhere to be seen. But just like all the big celebrity shindigs, there were lots of bodyguards and endless lines. It was a bit unusual that the bodyguards were not dressed in black, especially for a wedding. The swords were also a bit over the top. At first there was this enormous herd – it was odd but for a moment the people seemed to take on the appearance of sheep and goats – the crowd was packed tightly together immediately in front of her but up ahead it was dispersing into two groups. Most folks were being routed off to the right. They seemed really disappointed. Actually, extremely anguished might be a better description. The group on the left was really small but they seemed so elated. She wondered where all her friends were. And ‘Oh WOW!’ she caught a glimpse of Krys up ahead on a platform and he appeared to be sitting in some kind of ornate chair. He was bigger and more spectacular than she could ever have imagined. Could it be possible that she was his bride?
It seemed like hours yet at the same time it seemed like just a moment. And she was about to get to the point where the crowd was being divided into two groups. The first sign she caught a glimpse of said ‘FOLLOWERS TO THE LEFT.’ Her heart nearly burst with anticipation thinking about not only being at the wedding, but possibly even being the bride herself. A few steps later she saw another sign, ‘NON-FOLLOWERS TO THE RIGHT.’ She just could not believe why so many people refused to be fans of Krys Tje. He was the ultimate, he was above them all. She had always told them so.
And then she saw another sign. She was confused. It didn’t make any sense. It said ‘FANS TO THE RIGHT.’ To the right? No, that can’t be. The other sign said she would be going to the left. She was almost to the gate. Surely there was some mistake. She began to plead her case with the guard. She started out calm enough, but got worked into a frantic state where she almost couldn’t see straight. She was beside herself. Out of the corner of her eye she saw Krys coming. He would get this whole situation straightened out. As he stepped within ear-shot, she said:
“I am your biggest fan!!!!!!”
He responded, “I did not want fans, I wanted followers.”
“But I know everything about you” Clesia bragged.
In a gentle voice he said, “I did not want you to know everything about me. I did not want to be the object of your treasured memorabilia collection. I did not even want you to sing about me. What I did want was for you to know and love me personally and intimately with all your heart.”
“But your fan club … we are growing like crazy. We are changing the very world we live in. We are changing it for you!” she proudly proclaimed.
“My desire was not for you to change the world. Do you really believe you can improve upon or even fix the perfect world that I created and that sin is destroying?” He paused to let that sink in …
Then he added “You did what you wanted, not what I wanted. What I did want was for you and those around you to be transformed by loving relationships with me.”
“But you are my idol!” she screamed.
For a moment there was a silent pause. He remembered way back to a different time in a different place. He and his follower Moses had just spent some serious time together. Moses was headed back to his people. The golden calf … why couldn’t they see? An idol is powerless and yet takes the place of the all powerful one. An idol is nothing more than the object of the desires of the people who worship it. And as they so desire, an idol makes no demands of change and transformation upon them and their status quo lives.
“An idol is what you wanted and created in your icon Krys Tje. A follower is what I, Christ Jesus, desired,” he said firmly.
Her control was already crumbling as she sensed the moment slipping away. She didn’t even hear Him reveal His real name. “How could I get to know You? I could never have gotten in touch with You.”
“Did you ever try? If you had really read and understood the books I wrote to you, if you had sought out a quiet place and listened to Me, if you had just talked to Me; you would have realized the truth. I listen to all the chosen who follow Me. I listen to the words they speak to Me, the songs they sing to Me and I look into their hearts. I also talk and carry on conversations with them. I even choose to live with them. I tell them the works to be done for My purpose and My glory. For those who truly follow, I will guide their every step. I love them. I embrace them. I AM their Shepherd and their Savior. And I indeed am THE King. But of course, you wouldn’t know any of that because you never talked to Me. You never really sought Me out. I was nothing more than a simple object of your affection.” In so many ways He had tried to tell her that so many times; but she had always chosen to pursue her own plans, to be busy, to be pre-occupied.
“But … but …” she whimpered with a sigh of defeat.
With a tone of finality he said, “I never knew you. Depart from Me.”
She would never see the wedding; she would never sit at the wedding feast. Not only would she not be the bride, she would never even see the bride.
To think she could have talked to Him and Him to her. She could have known Him personally. And what was that He had said about living with his followers?
A heavy sense of remorse and guilt began to take its toll upon her. All He had said seemed to have a familiar ring to it, like she may have heard about it or even read about it before. But if it was so important, why would she have forgotten about it? Or even worse, ignored it? WHY?
And then the overwhelming smell of smoke began to fill her nostrils …