Wait, wait…I don’t mean that the way you think I mean it. I don’t mean “palm sweating, voice quivering, omigawdisthatjlo?” kind of nervous. What I mean is I believe that fame is very, very dangerous, and I have a hard time trusting that anyone who has achieved (a verb that is certainly imprecise in its connotation in this case) fame has not had part of his/her soul devoured. Sound crazy or rash? Maybe, but I don’t think my nervousness is altogether irrational. Let me explain.
Well, before I explain, it’s probably worthwhile to issue a couple of my predictable context prefaces (which also occasionally morph into disclaimers). First, this particular rant is unprovoked. Okay, so not really, but it is in the sense that I haven’t had a particular recent encounter or experience with someone famous that provoked me. To the extent that this is provoked, it’s mostly a cumulative effect. And, beyond that, it’s just a good day to put a hot poker to lies and illusions. Why? Because it’s always a good day to put a hot poker to lies and illusions.
The second bit of context is this – I have a worldview. So do you, whether you realize it or not. It’s important to me that this site is accessible and worthwhile for a diverse collection of people, not so much because I have mass appeal or diversity as a goal, but because the loose-fitted community that has tended to hang around here is, at least in some ways, diverse. We’ve covered that before. That said, there would be little point to me continuing to post if I tried to boil the edge and opinion out of everything to make sure I didn’t lose or offend people. So I don’t. I mention that because what follows is a loose and incomplete assortment of thoughts and questions on fame as it relates to the Kingdom of God and following Jesus. Even if that doesn’t sound like your thing, you should play along with us anyway. I’m going to make fun of Christians if that helps. Oh wait, now the Christians are getting mad. Get over yourselves – none of you are famous anyway, so you’ll walk away with minimal bleeding (I said minimal, not not bloodless).
So anyway, if famous people make me nervous, famous Christians make me really nervous. The roots of this distrust are fairly deep for me, although they have at times been tangled up under the surface with roots of unhealthy admiration for and/or jealousy of some of the same people. I like to think most of those other roots have been yanked from the soil of my life, but I’m sure I’ll come upon a stray piece now and then as I continue to dig around in there.
Over time I’ve experienced varying levels of confusion, anger, cynicism, and grace on this issue. I’ll let you measure my words to determine my current state (if that matters to anyone but me), but I think I’m starting to settle into some real conviction to the end of wanting what God wants. That sometimes means awkward and hard declaration and conversation, but I think the Church needs to start having some family meetings about the parts of the house that are in disarray. So I guess I’m calling a family meeting, even if only about 20 people in all of Christendom will show up.
So, I’ve called you all here today because…