Faith & Fandom
Red Dead Redemption 2: I Have A Plan
Red Dead Redemption 2: I Have A Plan
I, like most of the gaming community, was extremely ready to
head back out west for another cowboy adventure from
Rockstar. I, also like most of the gaming community, missed
out on the first installment of the game franchise, Read Dead
Revolver, but totally fell into the beauty that was John
Marston’s adventure into New Austin as he was forcibly
marched down the road of Redemption by Agent Ross in Red
Dead Redemption. So, when Rockstar started teasing us with
another adventure, I bought my ticket for the hype train and
was not disappointed. I put my 60 plus hours into the game
and was grateful for the experience.
The one recurring theme that hit me the most was Dutch’s
constant reassurance that he had a plan. The entire time we
heard about his plan, it never seemed to get any closer,
clearer, or capable. He had an entire squad of outlaws and
outcasts following him blindly through the proverbial and
literal wilderness. That’s one of the crazy things about
humanity. We always follow. There is something in us that
yearns for leaders. There is something in us that desperately
wants someone to tell us what to do with our lives.
While obviously God is the best choice to follow, we still want
someone face to face. We want someone we can tangibly see
in front of us giving us guidance and helping us feel like we
aren’t alone and lost. That is how we end up with the poor
people blindly following Dutch into oblivion. That’s the crazy
thing, too. Dutch has one group of followers, they get burned
to the ground for following him, and by the time we get to the
original Red Dead, he has even more people following him. The
simple concept is, “Be careful who you follow.”
This problem wasn’t limited to the dying wild west, but pre-
dates the time of the prophets. God’s people were notorious
for having bad leaders, and following bad leaders. Oh look!
That’s still happening today. Look at what God told His people
through the prophet Ezekiel.
“Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel;
prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign
Lord says: Woe to you shepherds of Israel who only take
care of yourselves! Should not shepherds take care of
the flock? You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the
wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not
take care of the flock. You have not strengthened the
weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You
have not brought back the strays or searched for the
lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally. So they
were scattered because there was no shepherd, and
when they were scattered they became food for all the
wild animals. My sheep wandered over all the
mountains and on every high hill. They were scattered
over the whole earth, and no one searched or looked for
them.“ ‘Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the
Lord: As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord,
because my flock lacks a shepherd and so has been
plundered and has become food for all the wild animals,
and because my shepherds did not search for my flock
but cared for themselves rather than for my flock,
therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord:
This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am against the
shepherds and will hold them accountable for my flock. I
will remove them from tending the flock so that the
shepherds can no longer feed themselves. I will rescue
my flock from their mouths, and it will no longer be food
for them.” - Ezekiel 34:2-10
Even among God’s people, there have been terrible leaders.
Anytime leaders are looking out for themselves rather than the
people they should be leading, things are going to be bad.
Dutch spent his time leading their gang by saying whatever
they needed to hear at the time. He made them believe they
were a family when in reality, Dutch was just using these
people to meet his own needs and thriving off of the high of
having people follow him. There is a natural high that comes
from being a leader. It’s the feeling that people trust you,
listen to you, follow you, and love you. In cases like Dutch,
people say literally whatever they need in order to keep
people following them. Look at the stuff that came out of
“They’re chasing us hard because we represent
everything that they fear.”
“You’ve got to keep faith. They will not crush us.”
“Don’t you never leave love aside Arthur, it’s all we got."
“One more big score and we got enough to leave.”
“The promise of this great nation. Men created equal,
liberty and justice for all. That might be nonsense to. But
it's worth trying for. It's worth believing in. Can't you see
Dutch was spouting old west Hallmark cards at these people
while robbing, murdering, endangering lives, manipulating,
and causing destruction everywhere he went. People show you
who they are by the fruit of their actions. It doesn’t matter
how convincingly a leader speaks. If their actions show you
that they shouldn’t be trusted, don’t trust them.
“Scoundrels use wicked methods, they make up evil
schemes to destroy the poor with lies, even when the
plea of the needy is just.” - Isaiah 32:7
“Who devise evil plans in their hearts and stir up war
every day.” - Psalm 140:2
His gang saw what was really happening. They knew things
were wrong, but they would rather have a broken leader than
no leadership. Many of us do the same thing when it comes to
the people we allow to guide us in our lives. Whether it be
teachers, pastors, friends, family, or anyone else we allow to
influence and guide our lives, we can see when we are
following flawed, broken leaders. We know that the people we
let guide us aren’t that great, but it’s better than being lost and
alone. Seriously, look at the people who have direct influence
into your life. Are you following a Dutch right now? Scripture
gives us a guide for what leadership should look like, and even
beyond the church, these are great qualities for a leader to
“Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an
overseer desires a noble task. Now the overseer is to be
above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-
controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not
given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not
quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his
own family well and see that his children obey him, and
he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. (If
anyone does not know how to manage his own family,
how can he take care of God’s church?) He must not be
a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall
under the same judgment as the devil. He must also
have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will
not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.” - 1
Dutch didn’t live up to these standards in the slightest. Many
of the leaders in our lives don’t live up to these standards.
Being super honest, even as I sit here and type this, I fall short
of these standards. I pastor a church, chair the board of a large
children’s ministry, and write words that people read, and I fall
short of this. That’s something that defines a great leader
though — the ability to accept correction and have their
motives, actions, and direction challenged. This paves the way
“Listen to advice and accept correction, that you may
gain wisdom in the future.” - Proverbs 19:20
Anytime Dutch’s people questioned him or his leadership, they
were met with overly defensive rebuttals.
“We can't always fight nature, John. We can't fight
change, we can't fight gravity, we can't fight nothin'. My
whole life, all I ever did was fight...”
“This place aint no such thing as civilized. It’s man so
much in love with greed, he has forgotten himself and
found only appetites.”
“I can’t fight my own nature, that’s a paradox.”
“Arthur: What is the plan?
Dutch: This is the plan!
Arthur: What is?
Dutch: This is!
Dutch: Don't doubt me Arthur! I have a plan!
Arthur: Your plan is yelling at me?
Dutch: Yes Arthur! You must have faith!
Arthur: Why do you keep yelling at me?
Dutch: You aren't listening to me Arthur! You must have
Arthur: I have faith Dutch, but do you have a plan?
Dutch: Yes Arthur, this is the plan!
Arthur: What is?
Dutch: This is!”
When you follow bad leadership, you end up wounded,
broken, and blindly doing things you would never choose to do
on your own. You will end up looking back at your life in shock
at the person you became.
As John explains, “Guess about all I got left now is doubts.
Doubts and scars.”
Dutch’s poor leadership left Arthur and their team on a blazing
trail of death and chaos that cost so many people their lives
and futures, and that was all because Dutch had a plan. At the
end of Dutch’s life, when John finally confronts him at the
forceful will of the government, Dutch is still clinging to his
plan. Even with thousands of people’s lives ruined, he was still
clinging to that smoldering torch of his leadership.
Dutch: I got a plan John.
John: You always got a plan, Dutch.
Literally down to the last minutes of his life, Dutch was clinging
to the plan. Please understand this: just because someone has
plan doesn’t mean they are worth following. Not every plan is
a good plan. Not every plan is a God plan.
“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end
it leads to death.” - Proverbs 14:12.
If you allow the wrong people to lead you, you will find
yourself in the place to Yee your last Haw. Please, examine
your leaders. Challenge your leaders. Correct Your leaders. If
you are a leader, do these things for yourself. Be the leader
you are called to be and don’t take the role lightly. Don’t
follow the Dutch’s that appear in your life, and don’t allow
yourself to become one.
“Our time has passed.” - Dutch Van Der Linde