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25 Mar '14

Do fame and notoriety cloud one's thinking?

Posted by T.J. Addington in fame, pride, success
I have been mulling on a number of situations recently where Christian leaders have made really poor decisions in my view: Rich Stearns and World Vision's new policy to hire individuals in homosexual marriages; Rob Bell and his redefinition of heaven and hell and and the controversy over Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill who tried to manipulate the system to get his book on marriage onto the New York Times best seller list. I have another private list of individuals who have seemingly lost their way when they become Christian public figures. I saddens me and causes me to ask a question:

Do fame and notoriety cloud one's thinking and cause us to make decisions and pronouncements that are Biblically questionable? Does fame tend to give us more confidence in our own wisdom than in God's wisdom? Does it allow us to cross boundaries that we did not dare cross in the earlier years?

Fame and celebrity are a dangerous calling and few seem to handle it well. We see success and that success breeds pride and we begin to believe our own press which leads to the marginalization of those who don't agree with us and soon we become isolated and unaccountable - and eventually crash! Wisdom co-opted by pride! Youthful passion co-opted by ego! Jesus co-opted by us!

I am glad that I am not famous. I never want to be. To those who are I say this: There is never more important a time to develop a cadre who will tell one  the truth than when one is in the limelight. Because when the spotlight shines on us rather than on the One who created us, we have co-opted God and it rarely has a good ending.

To be clear, I don't know the motives or hearts of those named above and am not passing judgement. I am asking a question that their actions prompt. What I do know that when our name surpasses The Name, something is wrong. And when our pronouncements are at odds with His pronouncements, the same is true. 

There is never more important a time to develop accountability and humility and to guard the shadow side as when we become important in the eyes of others. And believe that we actually are.

(Posted from Milwaukee)