Mar 23, 2012

Is It All About Celebrity?

Not long ago, one of my colleagues telephoned with a question. She called because she knows that I know more preachers than most people (“Let no one inquire whether it is good or bad”—Leviticus 27:33 a). She needed a preacher who could preach a first-rate set of sermons for a clergy gathering.

After tossing out six or seven names of those I considered to be top-quality and faithful preachers, both men and women, she dismissed each one in rapid sequence. I was getting a little annoyed and felt like Jesse, who watched as each successive son who was paraded by Samuel was not the one to be Israel’s next king  (1 Samuel 16:1ff). Finally out of annoyance I simply asked her, “What is wrong with these names?”

Then the caller came clean. “I’m sorry,” she said, “none of your names is famous enough.” It struck me as an odd thing.

Can you imagine if Paul or John Chrysostom or Peter Cartwright or Charles Haddon Spurgeon or Martin Niemöller would not have had enough of a reputation to elicit an invitation to preach the gospel? In fact, in our 21st century, sometimes what is most essential is the status of the presenter rather than the person’s competency or that the person is a faithful gospel witness. At times, it seems like it is all about celebrity.

As we move into Holy Week and journey with Jesus toward the cross, may we remember Jesus as the New Testament remembers him. He was not famous for being famous. Rather: “Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; and having been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him, having been designated by God a high priest . . ." (Hebrews 5:8-10).


Debbie said...

As Susan Cain states in her book, Quiet, we have become a society of the extroverted personality where substance and competence takes a back seat.

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