Here is a short story—a parable—that leads to something bigger.
Please have these two things in mind when reading: 1) despite some obvious ties to one individual, I’m actually concocting a composite “vocal artist” based on more than one person; and 2) this was written nearly two weeks ago and has nothing to do with a famous performer who died more recently than that.
Once upon a time, there was a talented vocalist. (Some people now call these “artists.”)
This singer gained a large following. She went overboard with style. She was flamboyant, known for excesses.
Her androgynous appearance was legendary, and she loved the attention. She behaved flagrantly at times—even in overt crazes and drug-induced stupors. Deviant sexual behaviors in public were commonplace with her. Still, her popularity grew.
She was known ironically as Parthenos (≈ “virgin”) and made it a point to wear Christian symbols. Many people were wowed by her and formed a fan club. Other people were disgusted.
The story went on. . . .
During what we’ll call a “necessary hiatus” in Parthenos’s career, her backup band wanted to continue to tour, so they hosted a big Parthenos Soundalike contest. One competitor rose above the others; without hesitation, the band accepted this new vocalist—”Miriam”—to play Parthenos in their concerts for the next year or so. Now, as it happened, until this new opportunity came her way, Miriam the impersonator had been the lead singer in a Christian worship band.
That’s right, a Christian worship band’s lead singer was the soundalike chosen to play this Parthenos personage who was . . . well, not Christian except for a trinket or two. As if to bolster the idea that she could “become” the other singer on stage, Miriam touted Parthenos as one of her major vocal influences. Miriam took leave from her regular church role to tour as Parthenos.
For the next several months, Miriam lived in a dream world. What a trip! Concerts, benefits, new music, more concerts, and attention! Adoring fans, knowing Miriam was not herself Parthenos, acted as if she were.
She originally thought she might “cross over” and influence Parthenos’s world from a Christian perspective. Actually, though, Miriam began to capitulate to the other world. GatherNoMoss magazine interviewed her and put her in a line with Ella Fitzgerald, Pat Benatar, and Miley Cyrus as an “influential female vocal artist.” Miriam appeared on LGBTQ TV as an ideologically compatible guest, and the host didn’t even ask her about the Christian band she had been with only a few months prior. Miriam did a solo album entitled “The Almost-Parthenos,” seeming to ignore her Christian roots.
In fact, in time, no one even remembered that Miriam had been associated with anything Christian. Her fan base shifted notably, and those who had once been inspired by the genuineness of her Christian offerings were amazed at how ideologically far away she had traveled.
Tomorrow: the interpretation of the parable