As Christians, we say we want God to speak to our nation and have a voice in our culture. But what if we are going about it the exact wrong way?
If we are honest, virtually all of us desire to grow our influence and expand our platform, even if we don’t think about it in those terms. It may have a healthy motivation or it may be one consumed with pride. That is a determination that can only be made by God and the individual.
But if your goal is to make Christ famous, instead of yourselves, have we ever wondered if achieving personal fame is the best way to go?
Our culture is driven by and consumed with celebrity. Millions of viewers watch TV shows following around people who are famous, who used to be famous, and who are famous merely for being famous.
More than that, teenagers (and others) record themselves doing ridiculous things, dangerous things, ridiculous and dangerous things, all for the hope of “going viral” and gaining your 15 minutes of fame.
Even though celebrities themselves often speak about the emptiness of fame, many Christians have decided the only way to reach culture is to baptize the celebrity obsession and trade out secular stars for Christian versions.
Movie stars may not make us swoon, but we’ve bought every book and listened to every sermon of the famous megachurch pastor.
We don’t keep up with the Kardashians. We duck hunt with the Robertsons. We don’t idolize Tom Brady. We want to be like Steph Curry.
There is nothing inherently wrong with a megachurch pastor, Duck Dynasty or the NBA phenomenon that is Curry, but if we value them simply as “our celebrities” to obsess over, we do a disservice to them and us.
So often, we seek after political power or celebrity status. We act as if Jesus is in need of those things to reach our culture. God can (and does) use those, but it is not the loudest and most effective means of communication He has.
In a celebrity obsessed culture such as ours, it may be the case that God is looking to speak through pain instead of fame.
In The Problem of Pain, C.S. Lewis wrote:
We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.
For our situation, we could reword it to say:
We can ignore even celebrities. But my hurting neighbor insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us through celebrities, speaks in our pastors, but shouts through an unknown person faithfully enduring pain: it is his siren to rouse a deaf world.
The world has seen people thank God for success. They’ve had their fill of famous people praising God. But they never cease to be amazed at those who trust Christ in the midst of pain.
Think back to how the nation stood in awe of the forgiveness displayed by the victims of the Charleston church shooting. That was a remarkable advertisement for Christianity because it was a remarkable reflection of Christ.
It wasn’t about trying to make Christianity popular or cool. It was showing Christianity to be real. And that carried weight.
God does want to speak to our nation and have a voice in our culture, but unfortunately, many Christians try everything possible to avoid the very means by which God can speak the loudest.
If you want Christ to show Himself to your community, will you allow Him to use your faithfulness in the midst of pain as His megaphone?