Thursday, April 19, 2012

What Will You Do?

This verse says pretty much how I feel about Christian celebrity and some of the things I've seen taking place in churches and ministries lately:

"A horrible and shocking thing has happened in the land: The prophets prophesy lies, the priests rule by their own authority, and my people love it this way. But what will you do in the end?" Jeremiah 5:30-31 (emphasis mine)

The thing is I don't really see this verse as an indictment against the prophets and priests. I see it as an indictment of the people who love it this way. The people want heroes. They want pedestals. They seek role models without digging any deeper to discover if those role models really deserve to be on those pedestals, to be doling out advice. They hand over spiritual authority to other people who aren't ready to handle it. They follow along blindly without holding up these folks to God's example. And in the process they seek people and not Him.

I've said it before here, but I'll say it again. I'm tired of Christian celebrity. I get weary of my Twitter and Facebook feeds touting all these "experts" offering advice on every topic from finances to faith, parenting to prayer, the main theme of each mini-broadcast being "look at me! look at me! follow me! follow me!"

If these folks do what they're supposed to, they can point you in the right direction. But there's always the danger that they'll start believing their own press. And when that happens, they get deceived into thinking that all's well because "the people love it this way." And if the people love it, then it must be good, right? Numbers mean that you're onto something, right?

One of the things I most loved about the book Not A Fan is one of his first points: when Jesus drew a crowd, He was most likely to run them off by saying something challenging or even offensive. He didn't deal in numbers. He wasn't impressed by who showed up to hear Him. He was just there to point to the Father. He had a mission and He wasn't there to bask in the attention, to soak up the praise. I think that if media consultants tried to give Him "platform advice" now, He'd tell them to get behind Him, Satan.

At the end of this verse, a question is posed. Maybe if we'd all answer that question for ourselves, the problem of Christian celebrity would go away entirely.
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Arlene Grimm said...

When I was a young mom, I tended to read every book on marriage and children that came down the pike.(Christian authors) One day an older lady told me to forget reading the books and read God's book! One of the best pieces of advice I have ever been given. There was one author in particular who I just LOVED and found out she had feet of clay.(Come to think of it, there were actually two in this category) I was so hurt by this...I felt I had been wounded personally. So now, I try to stick with the Bible. I find it has the answers to all my problems any way and some of the advice is pretty hard to take, especially when I feel I am in the Right!lol...Thanks for sharing ! ( I just might read this book.....)

Carol Baldwin said...

Said well.

Kathy B said...

It's such a quandary when we live in a society where author's are expected to market themselves. Humility and hiding doesn't get your message very far. Yet, I agree with what you wrote about the dangers of putting people on a pedestal, too. I wonder how Jesus would have brought his message if his time on earth were now. Would he write a book, blog, go on a talk show?

Anonymous said...

I so agree with you. It's not just Christian celebrity. It has become commonplace in a lot of churches. We must sing the "popular" Christian songs, design our churches so that "the people" will like how they look, & preach in an informal, topical style so that they will come. Whatever happened to singing hymns with deep messages & going to church because it is where God's Word is proclaimed in truth, without so much emphasis on being part of the popular crowd.

Editor and Publisher Shelly Burke said...

I agree with Arlene! We have a responsibility to know what the BIBLE says before and while considering what any "experts" say. I've decided to just study the Bible this year and not do any other devotions (not that they're "bad" just that I want to KNOW the Bible and have decided to use my time to do that!) and I've been surprised at the number of times it outright says, "You must believe this" to go to heaven or an activity "is a sin." It's very clear about a lot of issues that today are presented as "OK."

sewcool1--I love the contemporary service in our church, especially the music. I've been surprised to find that many of the lyrics are actually Bible verses so have deep meaning!But I know everyone does not agree contemporary songs and respect that. :-) I so agree with your comments too! I also disagree with showing videos, doing crafts, etc., to "teach"...of course these can be teaching tools but I don't think kids need to be "entertained" at Sunday School, they need to be taught what the Bible says. (Not that I'm against fun, by any means, but I think that before anything we all need to know what's in the Bible, and learn that FROM the Bible).