Looking Good by S. M. Hutchens


Looking Good

Coming upon an internet portrait of a handsome but wicked and venal churchman, I was reminded of what the minister of a large church once told me: "Steve, I have the good fortune of looking like a central-casting Protestant clergyman [and so he did—a lot like Hugh Beaumont], and I am very sure it's never done me any harm." He seemed a decent man; he may even have been a believer. But it didn't help that he had a practiced sententiousness in the pulpit that matched his appearance perfectly. (One must be very cautious here. Covetousness keeps us from sympathizing and rejoicing with the favored, and puts us on the path of Cain.)

Still, many important churchmen have the gift of looking like honest and holy men who would never lie and always have the best interests of others at heart. Beholding them, it is practically impossible to think they are not what they appear, especially when they have developed an air of spiritual authority and deep sincerity but in fact are as black-hearted and self-serving as archdemons. I have seen this so many times, I tend to have a built-in prejudice in favor of the gruff, homely, and ill-spoken servant of God, although I know that's not right either. It is true, however, that spiritual men are spiritually discerned, and many are deceived by the clergy with whose skulls, according to several ancient authorities, hell is paved.

S. M. Hutchens is a Touchstone senior editor.

Print &
Online Subscription

Get six issues (one year) of Touchstone PLUS full online access including pdf downloads for only $39.95. That's only $3.34 per month!


Get a one-year full-access subscription to the Touchstone online archives for only $19.95. That's only $1.66 per month!

bulk subscriptions

Order Touchstone subscriptions in bulk and save $10 per sub! Each subscription includes 6 issues of Touchstone plus full online access to touchstonemag.com—including archives, videos, and pdf downloads of recent issues for only $29.95 each! Great for churches or study groups.

Transactions will be processed on a secure server.

more from the online archives

27.4—July/August 2014

The Things Freely Given

The Bible, Sacred Theology & the Mind of Christ by Patrick Henry Reardon

33.1—January/February 2020

Surprised by Gentleness

on a Saint's Charism That Cures Toxic Perfectionism by Colleen Carroll Campbell

33.4—July/August 2020

No Option

Clear Out the Rubble & Rebuild! by Anthony Esolen

calling all readers

Please Donate

"There are magazines worth reading but few worth saving . . . Touchstone is just such a magazine."
—Alice von Hildebrand

"Here we do not concede one square millimeter of territory to falsehood, folly, contemporary sentimentality, or fashion. We speak the truth, and let God be our judge. . . . Touchstone is the one committedly Christian conservative journal."
—Anthony Esolen, Touchstone senior editor

Support Touchstone