I was 11 years old, it was March and the Nickelodeon Teen Choice Award show was on (I was a sucker for award shows). At the end of the show they would always “slime” an actor or a musician, this year they decided to slime Shawn P Diddy Puff Daddy Combs. As he excepted his award for doing something, he said one thing that has stuck with me until today, “I would like to thank God for this award.” At that moment I realized that Puff Daddy was a christian and I was a christian, Puff Daddy is cool therefore I am cool. From that moment on I would start to look for the “cool” christians that would give validation to my beliefs.
Pretty crazy that I would need a celebrity to tell me that christianity was cool and even a life worth living, but I needed to hear this. Maybe because others followed what celebrities said and like what they did, or maybe it was because 96% of the time it was not cool to be a christian. Whatever it was, I got my validation from celebrities.
Fast forward to 2010 and the same thing is happening, only a little bit more covert. Today we mask this by looking for the approval of celebrities in what we are doing. I am not a 11-year-old boy anymore, I am a 24-year-old guy that now hopes most celebrities are not christians (see Mel Gibson) and instead looks for celebrities stamp of approval. Well, semi celebrities, more like christian world celebrities. Nothing like getting a big name christian speaker, blogger, or musician to stamp their word of approval on you with a tweet, video endorsement or even a post about what you are doing. For some reason the gatekeeper that is the christian celebrity holds the keys to validating a movement or an idea.
Don’t believe me? Go and check out any blog that has had a small amount of success (maybe one big post or wrote a review of someones book) and did not mention “insert big name christian” here in their tweet or replied to their comment in the comment stream. Listen, I am not complaining about this. I have done this as well. Part of the way that I spread the word about scarletcordm.com and prayer for prostitutes was that I got the “christian celebrities” to tweet about it, even Max Lucado tweeted it out. The blog went from getting about 14 views a day to over 1000. But it was almost like I (we) need that stamp of approval to say what we are doing is right. And I see this all the time with people who are looking to get to be friends with “big name blogger a” and “big name author b” because it could make the next “big name whatever”
Even though I have progressed 15 years since Puff Daddy told me I was cool,
I still am looking to be on the in-crowd of celebrity christians. Why? Maybe because I want to be a celebrity christian? maybe, maybe not. Or maybe it is because people have given those celebrity christians approval and validation and I/we are looking for people’s approval and validation.
Whatever happened to finding approval in the Lord?
We might have a validation problem that needs to be flipped on its head.