The latest involves a woman whose celebrity is evolving with her life circumstance. She entered public ministry by repenting publicly of her promiscuous lifestyle, then went on the hunt for a good man to marry. Consequently, she became the new face of rediscovered modesty and chastity (don't ask me who the old face was). Now, after a whirlwind romance and marriage that has ended in divorce and allegations of violence, she has declared herself the new face of domestic violence. Send money and prayer requests now.
I cringe at such reports because I identify myself principally by my faith, and so do people like this woman. And so when such people make outlandish statements or claims--whether political, cultural, spiritual or personal--I have to somehow deal with it. They're like the cousin that makes everyone nervous because he's weird and he shares your last name. In fact, I happen to know a person who shares the exact name of someone discussed in the Time story; he lives on the opposite coast of the scandal du jour, and his ministry is profoundly different, but for a while at least whenever he introduces himself to a Time subscriber, he's going to get that look.
The article raises a particularly interesting question as it speculates why there is such a thing as celebrity church culture in the first place, and why it's so prone to scandal in the second. Here's a nice summary statement of the problem:
"Where else [but in celebrity religion] can you say that you were the church Jezebel," marvels Butler, "and then recast yourself as a pure, holy single woman living a godly life, then all of a sudden you get married in a big elaborate wedding to a bishop, with 40 bridesmaids and then go off and have a ministry with that husband and tell other church couples, 'This is how to love your husband because we got it right'? - and then your husband beats you up in the parking lot, and now you're an advocate for domestic violence?"
So, why is there such a thing as celebrity church culture in the first place? Why is it so prone to scandal?