About ten years ago I decided that I wanted to redo the upstairs bathroom in something I liked. I got some tiles off Ebay I loved, they were printed with paintings by my favorite artist Vincent Van Gogh. I did a Van Gogh tile surround over the sink, made a large quilted wall hanging of Starry Starry Night, found a few older looking fixtures to use and bought a Van Gogh print on a shower curtain.
The shower curtain print is The Cafe Terrace at Night and it's blown up huge, bigger than the actual painting.
This is it:
Looks innocuous doesn't it? People walking around at night with the light spilling into the street from the outdoor tables at the cafe. Nothing frightening at all, white draped waiter and patrons in the golden light while an azure nighttime world waits just beyond the bright lights.
You have to blow it up many many times to see the nightmare aspects of it. Such as the waiter has a nearly perfect featureless oval daub of paint for a face, no hint of eyes, nose or a mouth. Hiding in the background is also a huge crudely rendered monstrous rabbit or fox being too. Other figures skulking about with hideous features or lack of them.
I've seen them all too up close only because my toilet is pushed up against the tub area and while I'm peeing I get a view of the intimate small nightmare landscape. It truly looks like the work of a real madman from that perspective.
That's the way that the more dangerous Christian cults operate too. When you stand back and take in the entire picture of them at work in the community it all looks so pretty, so perfect, so wholesome. It's only when you get close that you notice that the smiles are forced, covering up something loathsome and controlling, or too monstrous to contemplate on first view.
Lately I've been looking through the blogs of many different prominent Christian Evangelical leaders. Some of what they say isn't so bad, till you start digging and looking at it more closely and you realize that it's terribly poisonous.
The best example I've seen lately is the Duggar girls book, "Growing Up Duggar'. It looks innocent at first, advice on courtship and relationships, but as you delve deeper you realized it could have been written by ATI/IBLP head Bill Gothard for what is espouses in the supposedly words of Jana, Jill, Jessa and Jinger Duggar. It's "ATI Lite" hidden throughout the book. If you follow what the Duggars advise in the book you're falling right into the legalistic Calvinistic thought that will drag you into a place of such fear and control. And condemnation. Guilt. All the big baddies of emotions.
It pays to take an up close look at anyone or thing that is promising you a better way through faith. Be very sure you see the hidden traps and nightmares right up front.
I've taken to never looking directly at the details of that shower curtain. The imagery is just too disturbing.