As I mentioned before, I really like this book: Os Guinness, The Last Christian On Earth. It is a fictional account of two enemies of the church who are plotting to destroy it. In memorandum 7, the discussion has to do with how to damage the church’s institutions. One way is privatization of faith and belief. Another way to damage Christian institutions is to continue to lead them to duplicate Western culture’s celebrity system. Here is how the enemy describes stardom and fame – and how it infiltrates Christianity.
“Politicians, it is now said, no longer run for office – they pose. But Christians too have become hooked, inhaling publicity like chain smokers, quite oblivious to the warning on the packet.”
“As Oscar Wilde has said, ‘there is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.’ Hence the celebrity, who is…’well known for his well-knowness….’ [Furthermore], publishing and the celebrity system overlap here. A ‘best seller’ is becoming the celebrity among books, one that is bought more than read, yet one that sells well partly because it sells well, the essence of successful hype.”
“You might think Christians would be held back by that rather awkward saying of Jesus, ‘Woe to you when all men speak well of you.’ Conveniently they seem to have forgotten it, particularly in America where the access to the media is greatest. Hence the celebrity system, Christian style (‘A Star is Born-Again’). Titans from the world of politics, sports, music, television and religion stride the Christian stage and screen with an authority born, not of their faith and character or their missionary exploits, but of their mass appeal. ‘Following the star’ has become the exact opposite of what it was for the three wise men. Today it leads away from Jesus, not toward him.”