Celebrity Christianity, part 2:: Global Celebrity Status?

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In my previous post, I noted the negative and sinful feelings that would arise from my “flesh” when dealing with Celebrity Christianity.  In this post, I am not too sure if what I feel is morally sinful (you can help me figure it out).

As mentioned in my previous post, one of the things that really gets to me with Celebrity Christianity (in the West) is how we think that what we see is reality- the recognition someone gets is also the same recognition God gives to that person.  In other words, if we as the Western Church think that a certain pastor/model/ministry is amazing, God thinks the same.

I want to nuance my concern in this post to the idea that many times, when we do this, we also give in to the fatal error that what is true of what we see here is true for the Church worldwide.  In other words,  when a Western pastor has a big ministry, publishes books, has iTune sermons, and gets the Western Church’s attention, we think to ourselves- “Wow, this is what good, proper, effective, and powerful Christianity looks like! ”  Now, we don’t actually verbalize the next step because of our sensitivity to ideas of colonialism and imperialism, but my impression is that what we end up thinking from there, in the subtlest of ways, is that everyone, in every country, should have what this ministry has in some way, shape, or fashion. I may be wrong (and simply projecting my sinful flesh on others- I apologize), but this is what I feel.

I was reminded of this personally a few weeks ago.  A friend of mine said that a seminary in Indonesia was thinking about inviting the two of us to go and teach there for a week.  Exciting stuff, especially for a person who loves to travel (and who also struggles with ungodly recognition!).   But as I thought about this, it dawned on me how utterly foolish the situation was.

According to my friend, this seminary was one in which every student had to plant a church before they could graduate.  If you think about it, this is simply amazing, not because they have to plant a church, but because of the fact that they have to plant a church in Indonesia– a country that is predominantly Muslim, a country Christians are persecuted and die because of their faith, a country that is so not like the West (for info, see here).

And if you think about it, the idea of my friend and I being able to offer something to them is pretty foolish.  I mean, sure we may have some insight into some organizational skills for church planting.  But let’s get serious- who’s living the call of Christ in more real ways?  Who’s setting an example?  Who’s gonna have the bigger rewards in heaven?  Who’s more equipped to teach about planting churches in our global world?  I really don’t think it’s me or my friend.

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8 Comments»

  Dave wrote @

Perhaps it would be fruitful for an American pastor to tell an Indonesian one precisely what you’re saying – that they are setting an example for you – and that the only thing you can teach them is some organizational skills.

  Erin wrote @

yay, Yucan posted a blog! And not one, but two! Since I joined the blogging world I’ve been awaiting this day… 🙂 Good thoughts. Challenging, as usual.

  Belisarius wrote @

Yucan, you’re back!! And oh, my Lord, I am in virtually complete agreement with your thoughts!! Oh, no, don’t tell the guys at Fundamentalist U. about that….I’ll never live it down!!! 🙂

Seriously, good thoughts.

  Johnny wrote @

Good to see you are blogging again, Yucan.

J

  Belisarius wrote @

Hi, Yucan. I had a chance to reflect on your comments of yesterday, and I wanted to share a couple of suggestions on what to say to our brothers in Indonesia.

How about this, “I am, honestly, in awe of your commitment, your courage, your dedication to God. I have to say, also honestly, that we Americans have a tremendous amount to learn from all of you. But you have invited me for a reason, and I have sought God’s face for what He would want you to hear. And I believe that I have, and I hope that you will transform that knowledge, and send it back to me. And I will take what you give back to me, along with all the incredible things I have already learned from you, and bring it back to my people in America. And I believe that will make them stronger.”

Amen.

  T.J. wrote @

Nice new post, Captain Chiu. And thought provoking as well.

  randplaty wrote @

Great posts… celebrity pastor’s are a reallly strange phenomenon I agree.

  Mike Lo wrote @

Hey Yuc,

I haven’t been by your blog in ages. But yea, I totally feel your sentiment/thoughts.

-Mike


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