Monday, July 14, 2008

Celebrity Culture vs. the Culture of Christ

I was watching the Today Show this morning and was sickened to see the glut of thousands of paparazzi camping outside each entrance to a hospital in the French Riviera, where Angelina Jolie had given birth to twins. They each wanted to get the first shot of the children which might be worth up to tens of millions of dollars. Truly the event was a sad commentary on our culture which esteems celebrities and the minutia of their lives over the life, death, and resurrection of the Christ, Jesus.

We can see that celebrity worship is really only an outwardly-focused self-worship. People worship them because they hope to become like them. Power, wealth, and adoration for the self is the goal. If only I could be pretty enough, suave enough, or get my big break, I would be worshipped like a god.

Jesus is the only man-God. "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation . . . He is before all things . . . [a]nd he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy." (Col. 1:15-18) This Christ, who is spurned by our culture, is not content with the trifles of this world. The world is his, the trifles are nothing. He who died and rose again, was unconcerned with celebrity, yet "at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Phil. 2:10-11) Christ will be exalted.

We who claim Christ should recognize this and leave our infatuations with this world, clinging to the one thing that matters. Christ and him crucified. The Gospel is a hard message with a hard life attached to it. It is the message of Christ's cross . . . and our own. We do not have to live in stark austerity, but the next time the Ferrari, or the Rolex, or the bikini-clad girl turns your head, remember Christ's blood was not shed to buy you these things, but something far greater; a share in his kingdom.

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