Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Cult of Celebrity

Social networks have become so proliferate that its no longer "cool" and "hip" to be a part of them. They are now part of the social fabric and one can find their teachers from high school, pastors, and a lot of other more "conventional" personalities online. The curious thing about social networks is that once you are someone's "friend" you can track what's going on in their life without ever actually talking to them. Want to know what the Homecoming King is up to 20 years later? Become their Facebook friend and you can see pictures of their family, find out what's happening in their day, and know where the work, where they went to school, and what their daily status is, without ever having a conversation. In fact "facebook stalking" has become a common term - the process of tracking the nature of status updates to see who's doing what, with whom, and when.

This abundance of information about ordindary people's daily lives helps create celebrities out of "regular joe's" (not to be confused with Joe the Plumber - he became a celebrity all on his own.) At first the paparazi tracked only A-List stars, then they began hunting after people who's only claim to be fame was the fact that they were famous. Now, everyone has the opportunity to broadcast their personal business and get "fans" and "friends" alike to follow them.

While this cult of celebrity is an interesting social phenomenon, it's also a scary one. Christians especially should be wary of the pride it can create. It's human nature to desire attention, but that's not what God has required of us. He has asked us to be humble (James 4:6), a servant (John 13:12-17), and to seek Him above the acclaim of others (Matt 6:33). Sure, its rewarding to gather as many "friends" as possible, and to try to capture the attention of those who surround us, but how much greater to attract the attention of our Creator, and to get a "well done" comment from the One who's opinion really matters. After all, even those who have long-standing relationship with the paparazzi in this world see their fame slipping away. Why not be celebrated in the kingdom that will last forever instead?


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Better Things Ahead: The Cult of Celebrity

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The Cult of Celebrity