day 21 – fame & the church

In thoughts on me, thoughts on people, thoughts on things on September 6, 2011 at 12:00 am

this is a subject that has been building in my heart and mind for a while, and i’m sure i will span my thoughts over a few installments.  this is based on prayerful observation, and i want to be sure to accurately portray the context of american culture and human nature.  i’m not even sure i know the extent of my own thoughts and opinions on the matter, as i see positives and negatives, good intentions and noble goals in this subject of the western church and “fame.”

movements of God naturally result in crowds, people talking about what happened, and monuments going up in remembrance of the great things God did there.  this is all over the Old and New Testaments.  i am so glad that as the Holy Spirit moves more in the western church, more and more people are hearing about it.  now, more than ever, this news is able to travel to anyone, anywhere in the same instant that it happens.  people are able to talk not only about what He has done in different places, but what He’s doing right now.  news is traveling fast.

also, i see that God is calling out His creatives.  we are receiving new songs, new visions, new words and are able to present them in a way that is beautiful, culturally relevant, and cutting-edge in art.  we have fantastic websites with appealing graphics, 5D music videos for worship songs, and just really beautifully presented media to spread the news of the gospel in a neat way.  i see the benefits in using culturally relevant means to 1) reclaim the believer’s place in the arts, 2)reclaim the arts to the Kingdom,  3) attract all kinds of people to the gospel instead of boring them to tears or turning them away,  and 4)utilizing our gifts within the church (to name a few).  i am a firm believer of letting talents thrive within the church building and making a place for them, calling out what people are gifted in and letting it grow and flourish in the Spirit and within the body of believers.

but i also see this perfect storm of good intentions and what it can turn into if we are not keeping our hearts in line with Spirit and Truth.  it is not my job to discern the motives of individual’s hearts or experiences, praise the Lord.  only He sees and knows that.  with that said, i see a trend of movements of God in the western church and a kind of church culture that thrives on a fame element.  our culture thrives on the celebrity.  i speak from experience.  CNN or People Magazine?  duh! i love looking at beautiful outfits, lavish lifestyles, hearing about who is doing what and what’s new in celebrity world.  i wish i didn’t, but it is ingrained in me.  there is something in me that likes it.  there are some things in the church that make me feel similarly to celebrity.  we have celebrities.  we have personality pastors, pastors on tv, super-relevant pastors, and hip church leaders.  i am not saying that any of this in inherently wrong, but that we place our celebrity mentality on these people that seem so together and cool.  in our nature, we place them on pedestals. i feel the same way about some worship movements, too.  we have super-teams that hear and create genuine, beautiful songs to the Lord and are hearing His voice and present it in a culturally relevant way.  we place the celebrity mentality on them.  what album will they come out with next?  how quickly can i learn their new worship songs and how soon can i see them in concert?  i see it in mega-churches, mini-mega-churches, international worship movements, conferences, international movements of a pouring out of God’s Spirit accompanied with signs and wonders, local trendy churches, the local church pastor or worship leader. when we make these things, yes, even these good things, the Thing itself, we can quickly get derailed from seeking first our First Love.


i suppose the point i’m getting at here is that we are looking to the movement instead of to the Christ.  we are looking so intently to the bearers of His movements – in pastors, teachers, authors, songwriters, speakers, prophets – instead of Him who gives them the words to say.  if you are in Christ there is no middle man between you and the voice of God.  corporate movements of the Holy Spirit, worship, teachings, et al are important and valuable and wonderful, but we must prioritize our own prayer and worship closets.  i say this to myself first and foremost.  nothing is as important as me getting alone with God, spending time in His presence and meditating on the Scriptures, and making a habit to do this daily, not to be able to check off my really together christian check-list, but because HE IS REAL and spending time with Him changes me!

scattered thoughts to start out, but i hope to address more on this again, soon.  what do you think?

  1. I kinda stumbled on here, not knowing what it was I was looking for, but apparently I found it. You said something honest I want to repeat.” I kinda like those things” in regards to the celebrity status. While their remains in all of us to some degree selfishly motivated ambitions towards the popular limelight of pseudo-christian-artist-celebrity, the real dividing line comes from the word itself, as it should. “IF anyone doesn’t hate his life, he cannot be my disciple.”(see Luke 14:26 )

    How wretched we are as fallen creatures to seek godliness as a means of worldy gain, instead of seeking God to become more like him! I hate this fallen tendency, this propensity to pervert the gospel and turn it into some focal point for the exaltation of personal vanity. It disgusts me so deeply, it vexes my inner man, and cause my heart to churn. When did the “worship” of Yah evolve into some theatrical, dramatic show and performance of the soul, and not the honest naked innermost desire of the heart directed towards him?

    Really I don’t you blame you, because I live in this culture, and i am fully aware of it’s constant enticements and temptations. The clothes, the cars, the girls, the money, the sex, the clandestine flesh adventures, the list goes on and on. There is a “bentness” in the human soul for materialism, pride, and idolatry and it goes back farther than we care to admit. Worshiping the “works of our hands” as I put it, can be the sensationalism of grandstanding done all in the name of “christian art”. We wanna put our names on it, we want the attention, the recognition, the gratification, and the notoriety that comes with the perceived territory, but the reality is, God will not share his glory with another, and so he jealously guards the anointing, the gifts, and the outflow of power upon such individuals who have given up the quest for “fame” and “status” and have instead opted out to live humbly and honesty before him in regards to the spirit and conscience.

    There are so many fakes, posers, insincere, dis-genuine, half-hearted, conceited,and puffed up individuals out there in the world who’s pride for their own life has cost them dearly the transcendent real true love of the father and his Christ. I refuse to be lumped into with that category, even though without the care and love of holy graces and mercies upon my soul, I would be right there with em, in compromise and in self-seeking.

    Tonight I was in my bedroom listening to a song that I had recorded that was received in a vision. The melody and rhythms of this particular track are really moving, and the words echo with a otherworldy dimension behind them and I am thinking to myself, I cannot even claim authorship of this material, for to do that would be the act of high treason against the beauty of God. I dare not cross that line in my heart that says, ” I can sell this and make money and get attention now.” Believe me, the tempter, the thief, and the enemy of my soul, would love to sell me that lie and pass it off, and say, ” oh it’s okay, you deserve it, after all look at all the hard work you put into it, shouldn’t you take the credit?”

    “No.” The line is drawn. I will not steal from God that which he freely gave to me to give back to him. Annais and Saphira were smitten with temptation and compromised with greed, and it cost them their lives because they “lied not to men, but to the Holy Spirit”.

    This will be a continual struggle for you until you begin to “hate your life” and disregard the limelight completely. Your art and you expression will not flower into the beautiful poetic rose of God’s beauty and truth until you learn how to say no to this apple of good and evil. I say, Seek first the kingdom, and all things shall be added unto you.” God will not withhold anything from you if you walk uprightly before him in truth. If it were not so, then God himself is the liar and I am just some damn fool with fool’s hope. No, friend I am no fool, because God is no liar, therefore those who put their trust and confidence in the word, are the wise ones. Depart now from evil, and seek purity, righteousness, peace, holiness with those who are of uncorrupt minds. Don’t take the bait, it’s rotten fruit.

    -just a damn fool walking straight into zion

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