Yes, it’s cliche by now, but I had to have the Michael Jackson has passed away post. I figure enough time has passed that I don’t come off as too trendy, though.
Don’t worry, this post isn’t going to be about my memories of Michael Jackson or what my favourite song of his is or even about the colourfulness of his life most recently. When news of his possible death arrived, I was shocked at how quick most everyone on my Facebook started commenting about it. It wasn’t long before every network and news outlet pre-empted everything to follow the story (even the death of Farrah Fawcett that same day became secondary news).
Admittedly, I have no emotional connection to anything Michael Jackson did (unless it sounded like the Gaithers, it wasn’t played at home), but I was really taken aback at how much time and attention was diverted almost immediately to this superstar celebrity. I know that this is not a new phenomenon, but it concerned me nonetheless.
What does it say about our culture when we idolize and stop everything to pay tribute to a pop singer? Yes, I understand the effect he’s had on the music industry and pop culture. But I thought we were all fed up with celebrity worship. I thought that stuff like that was left to reality shows and tabloids and so-called entertainment news outlets.
I don’t remember this much hoopla and time go into covering Mother Teresa’s life when she passed away, and she accomplished way more for humanity and lived a life of integrity up to the day she passed.
Robin Dugall had this to say about a culture of celebrity worship. Go ahead and hop on over to read what he said. While he uses stronger language than I would, I have to agree that this is a sign that we are still mostly celebrity driven, narcissistic and consumeristic in out leanings regardless of how much we claim not to be.
I can’t help but wonder how much of that we inadvertently pass down to the kids we minister to. I’m not saying that we elevate celebrity to the kids. But I think that we in CM have our own version of celebrity status. We look to the big names in CM or the big churches. We go to conferences to listen to so and so more because they are famous rather than what they have to say. We want to be like them. We want to write books or curriculum or wish we were invited to speak. We buy their tapes (um I mean CDs… um download mp3s)…
Am I saying that we shouldn’t go to conferences or read books or listen to teachings by these CM celebrities? No. What I am saying, though, is that we need to check ourselves and make sure we are elevating these people to celebrity status in our minds. As we do that, we model for the kids watching us that it is OK to do the same with the celebrities they are familiar with.
What do you think about all this?
Do we have a culture of celebrity worship? If so, how do we combat it?
How do we keep from elevating those in CM to a place of celebrity and keep Jesus at the top?