The Hypocrite

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Dillon was adopted as an infant into a Christian family. His adoptive parents were honest, hard-working people who used their religion as a guide for life. Dillon got a lot of exposure to that religion.

 

Dillon was a regular church-goer in his youth. But like many youth, Dillon experimented on the wide side of life. When he was 18, he got his girlfriend pregnant. They married and brought three children into the world. He also brought his new wife into his church community.

 

It was not a good marriage. Dillon continued with his wild ways. Alcohol and marijuana binges were Dillon’s recreation. He also had one-night stands with girls who accepted his amorous ways.

 

Dillon became a heavy-equipment operator; he had feather touch for hydraulics. But he never became all that ambitious with his talents with machinery. There were frequent periods of unemployment and bill collectors and not much food on the table. Eventually his wife left him. Dillon didn’t have much contact with his kids after that. Nor did he provide any support payments. But he still went to church, saying the prayers and singing the hymns.

 

Dillon quickly remarried after his divorce. He brought two more children into the world. But Dillon brought the same problems into this second marriage: adultery and addictions and scattered employment. This time he left the marriage. Again, there was neither much contact with the kids nor support payments. But Dillon still went to church on a regular basis.

 

Dillon never married again. But he continuously had a string of live-in girlfriends. Five years was the most he ever got in a relationship. He must have had a vasectomy for no more children came from Dillon’s loins. But come most Sunday mornings, Dillon was in church.

 

As cocaine became cheaper and more popular, Dillon added this narcotic to his binges. It seemed whenever his heavy-equipment operator work found him some extra money in the bank, he would go on a binge of some kind. When he was sober, he still attended church.

 

Finding work became more difficult for Dillon. His reputation as an operator who quits without notice caught up with him. Plus the equipment was becoming more computerized and required more paper-work. Dillon just couldn’t learn these new skills.

 

Today he lives on social assistance. He “borrows” from his elderly parents. He uses his charm to mooch off of girlfriends. Despite two wives, five children, several girlfriends, many lovers, and many drinking and drugging buddies, Dillon is a lonely person.

 

He still is a regular church goer at the Christian denomination of his childhood. But most of his fellow church goers don’t know much about him. If they did, they would be quick to judge him as a hypocrite. His shortcomings, his poor choices, and his inability to fix his life astound us. We can easily see how the lessons from the pulpit should have had a more positive effect on Dillon’s life.

 

Dillon has fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). People afflicted with this condition cannot reason out the consequences of their actions. They tend to thrive on instant gratification; long term plans do not exist in their minds. Dillon never asked for his FAS—nor is it curable. So maybe we should be thankful that all those years of going to church just might have kept Dillon away from prison.

 

Dillon must be getting something else from church. Maybe church is the only place—in his dysfunctional life—where he can find his Creator and His unconditional love.

Comments

Thomas Napers Added Sep 9, 2017 - 5:43am
If Dillon was sent to prison he wouldn’t be able to drink.  Accordingly, perhaps prison was the solution to his problem. As far as church is concerned, the best thing it could have done for Dillon was find him treatment.  
 
Who's the hypocrite in this story?  
 
Is this a true story?
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Sep 9, 2017 - 6:19am
Fortunately here in Europe church is no important issue anymore. At least not in Central and Nothern Europe.
Dave Volek Added Sep 9, 2017 - 9:48am
Thomas
 
There is a person in my life that is modeling Dillon. It is about 90% true. There are a few changes to help deter the identity. And I did take a few literary discretions to make the story a little better. 
 
For some reason, Dillon never got into much violence or theft. A lot of FAS people go in this direction as well. They end up in prison. Prison may or may not be a good place to cure addiction issues.
 
Dillon lives far away from his home town, so his church really does know him. And he does not let them come close; he just goes for the service, then leaves. When he comes home, he attends church. Enough people know him and pass their judgement on him.
 
I don't know how much help Dillon received in his life. Maybe he got some; maybe not. I suspect he would not take it as, according to my last conversation with him, he hasn't done much wrong in his life. Even if help was offered and taken, the success rate is low. Churches, like all other organizations, have limited resources, and helping Dillon might not be the best use of their money.
 
But many church goers will be quick to pass judgement on Dillon, that is for sure.
 
Dave Volek Added Sep 9, 2017 - 10:11am
SEF:
I think you are raising a great point that deserves another article. What is the purpose of a church?
 
I was in Slovakia in the mid-1990s. There were many restitution of property issues happening. One of the biggest property owners used to be the Catholic Church, which had most of its property confiscated by the communists.
 
In Trnava (nicknamed "Small Rome"), three cathedrals were about 100 to 200 meters apart from each other. They were connected by three long buildings, which became the sides of a kind of triangle with the cathedrals at the vertices. The communists took those buildings and used them for military barracks, offices, and housing.
 
I asked my friend what did the Catholic Church use those building for? (they were made around 1800). He said they were the hospitals, schools, hostels, mental institutions, elderly care, etc. In essence, the Catholic Church was the social service agency of that place and time. The aristocracy really didn't care about the welfare of the people, but the church was able to convince the aristocracy to provide some funds for these social services. I was quite amazed at how integrated the church was in this community.
 
I think many churches have lost much of this purpose. But we can see remnants of social service if we are willing to look for it. For example, the Christian churches in my home town work together to finance  a counseling agency. This agency does not charge fees for most of its clients. So the poor, working poor, and lower middle class can utilize these services to better their lives. This agency helps everyone who comes through its doors, not just church goers. Muslims and atheists are welcome. But the church goers are paying for it.
 
I can't say what is happening in Europe. But whatever good is being done by churches probably isn't being picked up by the media, giving the impression that the churches aren't doing much in terms of social outreach.
 
 
Katharine Otto Added Sep 9, 2017 - 1:40pm
Dave,
 
If Dillon has fetal alcohol syndrome, his mother must have been a heavy drinker, too, so his problems began early.
 
I guess lots of churches still provide help, like food, to the down-and-out, but it seems government has largely taken over that role, at least here in the US.  And the churches themselves look to the government, rather than parishioners, to help.  Trouble is, government can't provide the compassion that those who serve voluntarily can give.
 
If going to church can help him more power to him. Maybe God will direct him to AA.
Dave Volek Added Sep 9, 2017 - 5:07pm
Katherina
Dillon was born circa 1960. He was given up for adoption. A lot of adoption babies at that time were FAS, but we didn't know much about FAS then.
 
Government has indeed taken over the social roles churches used to do. However, my understanding of history is that the work of churches was not all that well organized and fair. And perhaps it was not all that efficient.
 
Dannl:
I was hoping you would elaborate a little for your initial comment did not give me much direction to comment further. 
 
I used to think in a similar way. There are Christians who are very religious, yet can't seem to see the obvious faults they have.  There were Christians I would be scared to be in business with for they would use the fact that I don't go to their church as a means to cheat me. So I kind of judged Christianity based on these kinds of Christians. I remained agnostic for a long time. 
 
But then I began to wonder about where these people would be without their faith. They would be a lot worse individuals if they didn't have that little angel on their shoulder poking at them. So I sort of saw Christianity still being a positive influence in their life even though they should apply the principles a lot more. In other words, Christianity is still moving these people forward--and I just don't judge them any more (or least, not as much as I used to). 
 
Dillon sure has his problems. Maybe it was his Christianity that kept him out of physical fights and petty theft. Maybe Christianity is the only thing that really made much sense to him. I don't know what is going on his mind. But those Sundays in church must have had some positive influence.  One of my points of this article was not to judge people for we really haven't walked in their shoes.
 
There is a big spectrum of Christians and a big spectrum of Christian churches. Some are on a reasonable path to doing the work of Jesus; some others, well . . . . .
 
Jesus said it best: "You can tell the quality of a tree by the fruit it bears." That has probably a helpful quote for me to determine who is on the right path or not. 
 
I recommend spending a little time with videos from Andy Stanley. This pastor has a very interesting take on the Bible. If Christians could move themselves more in this direction, Christianity would be a more influential religion. 
 
 
 
 
 
William Stockton Added Sep 10, 2017 - 9:04am
Dillon was a raging success!  Five kids.  Wow.
 
Nature is wanting us to do one thing . . . procreate.  That's it really.
We can make a complete disaster out of our lives but when we meet nature's only requirement for success, living a hypocritical life after mating is inconsequential.
Dave Volek Added Sep 10, 2017 - 10:14am
William
 
Dillon had a great charm with the ladies. Starting in his mid-teens, he always had a girlfriend at his side and often one off to the side. I never could figure out why the female side was so attracted to him: average looks, low academics, slow at sports, and (later) poor provider. 
 
I think I need to write an article or two on the poor choices our female side of our species often makes.  
A Classicist Writes Added Sep 10, 2017 - 11:20am
I believe an overwhelming amount of church-goers lead lives that contradict the teachings of their churches; I have seen it too many times to count.  What I also see all too often are those who continually wield the name Jesus, and ask for or offer prayers whilst they never set foot into a church.  I do not feel it is necessary for a believer to enter a building to worship a deity; I made the second observation re hypocrisy to illustrate the point that these people usually don't pray...
A Classicist Writes Added Sep 10, 2017 - 11:41am
And I should add that I know and have known many Christians who are not hypocritical and try to lead their lives as they feel their faith dictates.  Also, my best friend, who died a few years ago folllwing complications from leukaemia, was profoundly religious, and despite her horrific suffering, her religious beliefs gave her a lot of comfort...
Dave Volek Added Sep 10, 2017 - 5:02pm
ACW: I too have seen Christians who, while not being perfect, are using the Scriptures to guide their life in a positive way.
 
Take for example: premarital sex. Those who can follow this law usually have fewer problems to complicate their life--and that gives them more ability to serve humanity.
 
And being in a positive Christian community helps find a supportive social network. This helps our well-being out as well. If we are part of this network, we are helping others attain their social needs.
 
When religion is done right, it can accomplish great things. I acknowledge those who apply the principles to attain this station--regardless of their religion.
Ari Silverstein Added Sep 11, 2017 - 10:33am
Part of a relationship with your spouse is sexual intercourse.  If you don’t have pre-marital sex, wow will you ever know if you’ll have a healthy sex life?  More importantly, it’s possible to serve humanity and have sex with someone you’re not married to.  The two acts have nothing to do with each other. 
Dave Volek Added Sep 11, 2017 - 12:10pm
Ari:
This is a topic for another article, but I'll address in a brief way.
 
Since our sexual revolution started circa 1970, there really is no sociological sign that things have become better. In my casual reading of psychological and sociological papers, there is no correlation of any improved happiness because we have been liberated from our "puritanical" sexual morals.
 
For example, live-in couples are much less likely to be together 10 years later than those couples who get their relationship formalized by church and/or state. There is something about that piece of paper that keeps a couple together. And if there are children involved, couples that stay together
 
And there are consequences for premarital sex and/or a promiscuous sex life, which you well know. If we keep our sexual drive inside a marriage, those consequences will not become part of our life.
 
An interesting and recent development is that genital herpes used to be considered a fairly benign venereal disease, only giving its hosts a case of itchy crotch a few times a year. But it is now starting to be linked to throat cancers. More research is needed of course, and maybe there will be other consequences to be found for having this virus floating around in our bodies. 
 
Condoms don't work very well with the transmission of herpes. So if one decides to have a promiscuous lifestyle, he or she should also accept that acquiring herpes is going to be a result. My readings of this affliction suggests about 15% of Americans already have herpes, which is kind of line with 10% of Americans are living a promiscuous lifestyle.
 
We can say that herpes-afflicted people can indeed still be making a positive contribution to the world. And this is very good on these people to be thinking and acting in this way. But when they get their case of itchy crotch, they are more focused on their ailment than the state of the world. And if they are stricken with throat cancer at the age of 45, they deprive the world of 20 or 30 years of ability to make the world a better place. In essence, their choice to live a promiscuous lifestyle takes away from their ability to make a better world. 
 
And of course there are various shades of grey in this ailment. True it is that many people engage in premarital sex yet keep their activity in a monogamous relationship. Your argument that they need to find sexual compatibility before making the lifelong commitment could have some warrant here. But as these people are experimenting with relationships to find that special person, they will likely move from one relationship to another. As they make these moves, they increase their risk of acquiring a consequence of some kind. And when that consequence happens, their ability to serve the world is diminished to some degree.
 
The various religions advise keeping sex only within a marriage. There are good reasons for this advise: these rules help build a stronger society in so many ways. Unfortunately the "going to heaven or hell" part is emphasized far too much.
 
Well, I wasn't as brief as I wanted to be. But I will turn these thoughts in an article of some kind someday.
Donna Added Sep 11, 2017 - 1:12pm
Dave,
I was married for 9 years, we courted as his parents stated for 2 years. He was the perfect Catholic gentleman. Went to church every week, had a good paying job, all appeared normal. We married moved in together, and i  received my first broken bone within 5 months, he said his dinner was not cooked to his liking. He was a closet alcoholic. I stayed due to being pregnant, and not wanting to raise a child alone, i went to the Priest, and asked for his help., they had programs for drinking etc. I was told to go to alanon meetings, this would help Me understand.. 18 months later i signed custody over to my parents, this was my way of protecting her. He lost all rights, when he signed the adoption papers. I have been with the same man since 1993, he is a sweet old soul of a man. Does not drink, has his priorities straight. We have made a life together, with no marriage, and none in sight, both of us agreed.We do not require the State to say we are married, nor do we require a piece of paper from a Church.We know in our hearts and souls we are meant to be. 
I guess my point is the Christian, or Catholic, is not protected from the out side influences any more than me, who is Wicca/Pagan..
Life is all about choices, it would appear he had one made for him before he was born,at the least, he still attends his church, he has to get something out of it, maybe it is his own salvation..In his own way..
Another point, no one should judge..Lest one has walked in the other persons shoes.. )0(
Dave Volek Added Sep 11, 2017 - 8:54pm
Donna
 
I'm glad that you got out of a bad situation and found a great life partner.
 
There is no magic formula for success in a relationship. We would hope that people marrying under religious principles would somehow use that guidance to help them with their marriage. But that sometimes does not happen. 
 
I see Christians applying principles to create a better life for themselves and their families and their communities. And I see Christians using their religion as a badge of superiority over others, believing they have earned God's grace--and don't really need all that personal improvement. While I'm going to leave all the judging to God, I'm going to cautious with those whose words differ from their deeds.
 
My meager and amateur research over the years has led me to believe that, statistically speaking, people belonging to a particular faith do better at life than those who don't have a faith. And, anecdotally speaking, I would say that goes for my social circle as well.
 
I do have one friend whom I consider one of the few people who has his act really together, and it shows in his day-to-day life. He is well liked and respected and often considered a source of wisdom. He is easy to confide in. He is not very religious at all. But he has done much more good for the world than many religious people.
 
So there foolproof way to find success in life. If the tools of religion are used correctly, they can take you a long way. But they are not necessary.
 
You might be interested in videos of Pastor Andy Stanley. He has some interesting insights to Biblical Scriptures that are usually not taught in the pulpit.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Dave Volek Added Sep 11, 2017 - 9:00pm
Sorry: "There IS NO foolproof . . . "
Benjamin Goldstein Added Sep 12, 2017 - 1:30pm
I have missed where the hypocrisy is. Dillon does not point his finger on anybody, does he?
Maybe the churchgoers in your story who would condemn him for his lifestyle are hyprocrites.
Dave Volek Added Sep 12, 2017 - 3:13pm
Benjamin:
 
There are actually two layers of hypocrisy in my article.
 
The first is Dillon's outward Christian observance of the Sunday morning ritual contrasted by his life which is far from Christian principles. It is easy to conclude that Dillon is a hypocrite. Three-quarters of the article leads the reader to this conclusion.
 
The article then takes a turn to create a second layer which is more subtle. While we are calling Dillon a hypocrite, we have made no attempt to understand him. When we realize that Dillon does not have the ability to pull his life on track, then we should be asking ourselves: "Why did I judge Dillon so harshly?". In essence, we (the readers) have become the hypocrite.
 
I think this article goes back to the old axiom: "Don't judge someone until you have walked a mile in their shoes."
Benjamin Goldstein Added Sep 12, 2017 - 3:23pm
Hm, I didn't judge him when I was reading. The three-quarters of the article did not lead me to the conclusion at all. Maybe my English is too weak, but I thought a hypocrite points his finger at somebody for the transgression he himself commits. Being an alcoholic and going to church does not make one a hypocrte, does it?
It's nicely written anyway.
Dave Volek Added Sep 12, 2017 - 4:08pm
That's good you didn't judge Dillon. I judged him for many years until I learned about his FAS. Even then, it took me several more years to realize that maybe his Christianity is still a positive force for him. 
 
For those of us who have been outside a faith, going to church and not living the Christian life is hypocrisy--especially when the flaws are so obvious. Maybe we outsiders are not using definition in the right way, and maybe we need to be more forgiving. But we are quick to brand people like Dillon as "hypocrites."
 
 

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