His father was a drinker And his mother cried in bed
Folding John Wayne’s t-shirts
When the swingset hit his head
The neighbors they adored him
For his humor and his conversation
He had a doting emotionally attached mother, and an abusive emotionally distant father. His family middle class. He was a bored chubby kid with average grades.
He was like us. American as peach pie and John Wayne (the actor).
He dressed up like a clown for them
With his face paint white and red
And on his best behavior
In a dark room on the bed
He kissed them all
A succesful businessman with a knack for interior remodeling. He provided jobs. He was proactive in community involvement. From Jaycee’s to parade planning. He dressed as “Pogo”, his ulterior clown personality, for the kids…for the kids…
A blessing to his community….a monster in his house.
Even more, they were boys
With their cars, summer jobs
Oh my God
John Wayne Gacy Jr. murdered the boys he hired. The young men who looked up to him as a boss and business leader. Coaxing them into his home with alcohol and accosting them with all manner of evil.
Sure, we may have no inclination to be a serial killer.
But there is a frightening hidden world of conflict, hatred, anger and bitterness that lies beneath the floorboards of the average chest cavity. Dolled up clowns on the outside can use makeup and theatrics to cover the black hole cavern inside.
Just as most of our dreams are better left in our sleep, so most of our thoughts are better left in our head. There are secrets and longings we have quartered deep down into the basement of our heart that will never leave those dark places. Suppose above our head was fixed a small screen, that projected our every thought in real time during our day to day interactions. Every spiteful curse under our breath. Every lustful glance. Every bitter jealous thought. The unfiltered truth that we hold about our friends and family.
No nuance or nicety.
We’d be terrified and embarrassed. We construct a daily facade for preservation purposes, and if it were stripped down we’d be exposed as the frauds we are. Naked truth about us, for the whole world to see. Most all would be left jobless, friendless, and maybe family-less.
This makes the gospel so undeniably attractive for me.
Jesus Christ has covered this black hole and filled it with all-consuming blood bought love. He became exposed, stripped down and made a monster for us on the cross.
He became naked.
He became a fraud.
He became family-less.
We don’t have to.
He murdered death with that cross and resurrection.
He reconciled justice and love for men and monsters like me…like John Wayne Gacy, Jr. What a world shaking scandal. Incredibly unfair…to Jesus.
The gospel of Jesus merges perfectly two deeply seated heart truths: We know man’s evil is truly great. We hope God’s grace is so much greater.
We long for this. But for the crushing of Christ’s body and raising of the same body there is no hope for a cosmic reconciliation (2 Cor 5:21).
That’s the only hope for men and clowns.