A lot of you who click to read this blog recognize the world we live in today. It is a place brimming over with all sorts of information no more than a click of the mouse away. We have the world at our fingertips… literally. The average 20-something young adult has been exposed to more information by the time he or she hits 30 than the Venerable Bede did his entire life (at least it seems that way). But while having the secrets of the world simply a Google search away seems like a good thing, and sometime it is, it can also be a very bad thing for a lot of reasons.
Much of the data streaming across our Twitter feeds isn’t really about anything useful, but instead it is about particular people. Some of them are friends, but many of them are celebrities (see below – I’m a jock… sorry). Our culture, ever so loudly, has idolized celebrities in all realms and all walks of life.
But then there are celebrity chefs, celebrity truck drivers, celebrity scientists, celebrity nannies, celebrity moms, celebrity cops, celebrity moon-shiners, celebrity idiots, celebrity _____ (you fill-in the blank).
Make a list of how many people whose life story you know, thanks to media, but have never met. The list is pretty big I’m sure. We live in a culture that feeds the celebrity craze by offering a constant influx of data on anything and everything in their lives.
Q: Why do we find this so interesting though?
Q: What does this infatuation say about the human condition?
So here’s a few problems with this, or in other words, here’s why you should not aspire to be like Lebron James (congrats on the title LBJ!!! I know you’re reading this):
(1) It is nearly impossible not to fall into the comparison trap when you live in the celebrity culture.
(2) Celebrities are usually celebrities because they are experts in their respective areas, so comparing yourself to them leaves you feeling lacking.
***News Flash***: Someone will always have it better than you.
(3) Immersing yourself in the celebrity culture distorts your self-image and self-esteem. You begin to focus on your deficiencies rather than your God created idiosyncrasies and strengths.
(4) The media highlights and emphasizes the traits it wants to. And often times, these traits are not the ones you should cultivate.
Q: What is the subliminal message sent by the media and our culture with this celebrity stuff?
(5) Celebrities often have warped egos. They throw tantrums and wear stupid looking clothes and strut around with an aura of entitlement. Entitlement is an ultimate spiritual sickness.
Q: Did I miss anything?
Here’s the deal: God works through ordinary people. If you screw up a whole lot, have inferiority problems, suffer from a speech impediment, own a pretty average IQ, will NEVER be a celebrity, or all of the above and some – WATCH OUT! You are a prime suspect for God to work through.
Moses, Amos, Jeremiah, Peter, all ordinary guys. Look at Jesus even! He was raised in a hick-town Nazareth. He had parents surrounded by scandal because everyone thought they jumped the gun on the whole sex and marriage thing. His family was too poor to buy the normal temple sacrifice. He was a construction worker by trade, pretty much an uneducated working class-citizen. And a lot of people suggest that he grew up fatherless.
All this to say that ordinary people are usually God’s favorite instruments. He has chosen to love your neighbor through you. Don’t get caught in the celebrity comparison trap. You have other things you’ve been called to do and other sources to compare yourself too that are much more eternal.