Monday, May 19, 2014

Kiss The Ring

The older I get the more disenchanted I get with celebrity.  The pursuit of it, it seems, is a worthy accomplishment of a great many people, powerful and anonymous alike.  I have to admit, growing up, I believed I was going to be famous.  I wasn't sure how, I was just sure it would happen.  But I can honestly thank God for the wisdom gained from growing older to be able to realize that the path to celebrity is a treacherous one...and the world buckles under the weight of this evidence.

Have you ever stopped to think of the emphasis our culture places on celebrity and how that impacts us?  It's a bit overwhelming to think about, but just try it on for size.  Our society, our world is littered with the carcasses of those who have been swallowed whole by the beast of celebrity. In our country, we consciously and unconsciously provide the fuel for the multi-billion dollar business of celebrity. There are countless blogs, magazines, radio programs and TV shows dedicated solely to celebrities and their lives. In the last 2-3 years, there has been an explosion of 24/7 tabloid journalism, like nothing we've seen, only because our appetite for it has driven up the supply of this type of content. 

And what do we have to show for all of this? A culture obsessed with celebrity and its pursuit to the point that it's pervading the "church". When I saw "Preachers of L.A." I was convinced it was evidence of cultural rot infiltrating Western Christianity...a type of tipping point I never imagined I see.  But then again, I never imagined I'd read a recent story about a mother purposefully poisoning her child just to raise the profile of her "mommy" blog. In any case, it's an indictment of our lack of "saltiness" as the body of Christ. And, for the record, I include myself in this observation. I question myself because I know in my heart I've left opportunities on the table to speak life into people and to stand for God's truth even at the risk of making people feel uncomfortable.

I say all of this knowing full well there are believers making an impact throughout the world and here in the States...many believers paying the ultimate price for their faith in Christ. It makes me mad to think about this while I live my relatively comfortable life making some choices for the sake of comfort and convenience. But doing this comes with a price. Every choice I make has consequences, and those ripple through present day as well as throughout eternity. And that's the reality of just my decisions. When I think about that in relation to the collective power/effects of the decisions we make as a body, it's tremendously significant. The world we touch suffers because somewhere along the line, we've decided to cede power and influence to popular culture - in big and small ways - to the detriment of both ourselves as Christians and the world at large. If we're not truly fulfilling our destiny as believers, how can we expect to sharpen each other and as a result, be the type of "salt" worthy of its flavor?  

It's the challenge we as Western Christians face - deciding, as Gandhi said, to be the change we want to see in the world or to allow the world around us to change us into being people who bow before the idol of celebrity - in big and small ways - hoping to be accepted and liked for comfort's sake.  I'm praying/working to live in a way that gives strength to those around me especially in days like these and that, ultimately, my life pleases the only One worth bowing to.