Are you familiar with the expression “pulling back the curtain”? It comes from a scene in the movie The Wizard of Oz. Yegor Bugayenko writes: “the intrepid band of adventurers confront the seemingly all-powerful Wizard of Oz, who proceeds to unleash a bombastic tirade on Dorothy and friends. Only, the dog Toto ends up pulling back the curtain, literally, to reveal that the Wizard of Oz is nothing but an ordinary man in a machine.” 


By nature, I am an idealist.  I will always be a “Toto”.  Over the years, I often innocently pulled back a lot of curtains. To my surprise, I discovered individuals who have become lost in believing their own press, their own sycophants.  In their pride, they have become deaf to the voice of reason. Maybe some of you are also “Totos”?


I once worked for a large corporation.  Someone in charge had decided that a way to build up morale and teamwork was plan to celebrate an exceptional employee.  Quarterly, a committee appointed by company management, would decide who to give such an honor. A group of management would then parade to the employee’s cubicle, decorate it with balloons and give the individual their congratulations.  On paper, this seemed like a great idea.  However, over time, the committee kept repeatedly recognizing the same people and some of those winners were actually on the committee itself which appointed the winners. The system was rigged and bound for failure.


As a Toto, I often assume that if you tell someone that there is a flaw in something, that it will be exposed, there will have dialogue on it and resolution will be found. In the case of the corporation, I wrote the CEO an email regarding the program.  I assumed that he would want to know, as the saying goes, “there was something was rotten in Denmark”. 


Within days, I found myself having to personally meet the CEO in his lavish office. His assistant ushered me in to the inner sanctum where for the next half hour I was informed by the CEO why the employee award program was a terrific morale booster. I had no idea going in that the program was the CEO’s own brain trust.  It was like I had attempted to murder his favored pet.


I left his office a little dazed, not realizing that his long harangue was to be the same speech, word for word, that he was going to give at the next company quarterly meeting the following week. At the podium, he publicly patted himself on the back. However, within one year his morale booster hit the dust, being found completely useless in improving the company. “Pride goes before the fall”. Toto had discovered the wizard.


In the Christian community, it is not fun to be a “Toto”.  We question inconsistencies, pet projects, and possible fallacies in thinking.  Totos are not popular, no matter how innocently we may enter a conversation with those in power.  I think being a woman Toto encountering male dominated leadership can be especially hazardous.


As a Christian Toto, I pray, “God help us in these days of darkness and uncertainty.  Please open the curtains, let the Holy Spirit air out our hearts, and drive us to our knees. Expose those who are sadly lost in believing their own press, listening to their own sycophants.  Open their eyes to their pride, as they have become hard of hearing to the voice of the Holy Spirit.”  And so, little Toto continues to pray.