Looks like all that talk about communism and nature was just a front. Mikhail Gorbachev has come out of the closet by confirming his Christianity. Read about it here. At least that's what he says. And to back it up, the former Soviet leader spent a half-hour in prayer at Assisi.
I'll take this at face value for the time being because I have no real reason not to. But what was it like for Gorby to deny Christ repeatedly for years? I write this in the midst of Holy Week, remembering Peter's threefold denial and subsequent glance at the Master he claimed to have never met.
I understand lying. Sad to say, I've lied myself on too many occasions. Those moments have been dominated by my own selfishness and fear of getting caught doing something wrong. I cannot, however, think of a time when I lied because I did something right. But I'm sure it may have happened.
The idea of a closet believer is so foreign to what I am used to. We are told that Nicodemus came to Jesus at night for a sermon because he was a secret believer. Pilate's wife was said to be a Christian. But my experience is with the closet heathen. You know the type: Talks about his love for the Bible, yet needs the table of contents to find any book except Psalms; Brags about her church, but doesn't seem to know many of the people beyond the occasional last name. You get the picture.
While I find it refreshing that Gorby has come out of the closet, I wonder how he was able to live with himself after all those denials. Peter got a face-to-face "Feed my lambs" experience with Jesus. Gorby got some prayer time at St. Francis' old stomping grounds.
At the same time, I wonder about the closet heathen. Would it be better for the rest of us if they would simply stop the charade? Or do we simply hope and pray (and pray, and pray) that somewhere along the line they listen to what they profess to believe?
If it's simply a matter of heart, we all have to fight off temptation and selfish desires. I just wonder if the closet heathen has fooled himself.