Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Christian Celebrities

What form of madness has overtaken our country that we have become a nation of idol-worshipers? Many bow down at the Fountain of Youth, hoping to stave off the telltale signs of aging through cosmetic surgery. The sad (and expensive) attempt to look like a 20 or 30 year old well into one's 50's and 60's becomes the focal point for many. Others worship celebrity. Whoever is currently in the national spotlight for whatever reason is their current obsession. (How fitting that one of the most popular TV shows to which many are addicted is named American Idol!) These days one doesn't need to contribute something worthwhile to society  in order to become famous:  the more outrageous one's behavior the more quickly they become front page news. We've seen this countless times, and lately most notably with Charlie Sheen.

I've nothing against Charlie, having never met the guy. And maybe this is my point: why should I be the least bit interested in his public antics simply because his face is plastered all over TV? The public apparently can't get enough of his outrageous comments, or gaze long enough upon the wild look in his eye.

Criminals enjoy a breadth of notoriety that would shock us if it wasn't so commonplace. The more heinous the crime, the more the public is entertained with the details through movies, books and documentaries.

The type of idol worship I find the most disturbing though is that surrounding Christian Celebrities. Isn't this phrase an oxymoron? Does a Christian have any business being a celebrity? Is it something that a follower of the humble Christ should strive for or accept?

I've watched with shocked wonder as celebrity after celebrity is interviewed on Christian TV, my heart sinking as I see the fawning manner of the interviewer. Why should we be impressed by a profession of faith when it comes from a well-known actor or other public figure? Is their walk with God somehow of more value than that of the vast majority of Christians who live out their entire lives unknown and out of the spotlight? There is something slick and contrived about Christianity which is put on display like this, something deeply disturbing, for it goes against  the grain of true discipleship.

We worship all the wrong things in society, and are too easily awed by that which is flashy. But Jesus said, "Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for their fathers used to treat the false prophets in the same way."

This is not meant as an indictment against famous individuals who become Christians. When one has lived an entire lifetime in the public eye it would be natural to continue doing so after one's conversion. I think my controversy is more with those who bring such celebrities into the spotlight, flattering them in ways which are sure to be a detriment to the growth of their newborn Christian selves. ( I can't help wondering how much program ratings have to do with these famous new Christians being sought out for interviews.) The life of Christ within us is in many respects a hidden life, growing best unseen and away from human attention. Many times a famous person has barely accepted Christ and they are whisked off for interviews, feted by what I consider to be the jet-set of modern-day Christianity.

Such abnormal attention is detrimental to the babe in Christ, and is surely placing a snare before their steps. Those who have an obsessive interest in celebrity will also fall into a snare, for they have taken their eyes off of Christ and focused their gaze on mere humans who, like themselves, are fallible and weak. 

Jesus told his disciples, "If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you.  If you were of the world , the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you".

There is much interest in famous celebrities who name the name of Christ; they are adored and quoted and treated like royalty. It is not the John the Baptists of our time who are stepping into the spotlight and doted upon! You won't find such rugged followers of Christ wasting their time making TV appearances for the purpose of promoting self. What was that Jesus said? "Woe to you when all men speak well of you . . ."
We as a nation need to repent of our obsession with celebrities. We need to humble ourselves before our holy God and put all this nonsense behind us. There is nothing glamorous about following Christ. The lust for glamor and living vicariously through the lives of public figures needs to be repented of by all who walk the narrow road that leads to eternal life.

1 comment :

Comments, anyone? I'd love to hear your point of view.