Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Buck Stops Here and Starts Again There

I stumbled across an article at Time Online today about the legacy of scandal that attends to preachers with media ministries. I always cringe when I hear of a new one, which means I cringe a lot, because they come pretty fast and furious.

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?

4 comments:

Martin Luther said...

Simul justus et peccator.

bob/serpentuh said...

The guy above...it's like he's speaking an entirely differently language!

not bob/serpentuh said...

martin lawrence said...
f@#%$# b&@#*$ c%$#!

Gary Hill said...

I think being in the ministry spotlight too often becomes a tool of the devil. When you become popular it is very easy to let it go to your head. When that happens, we can let or guard down.

However, I am believing more that we should not get caught up in the scandals and questions of other ministries and concentrate on being the kind of servant Jesus expects us to be -- willing to wash someone's feet rather than knock them out from under the person. Let's live our lives in such a way to magnify Christ and His words and let God take care of all the other stuff.

Gary