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.