Coolness and Celebrity Culture

As promised, here is a reflection from Don Miller. This one still has my head spinning:

I was wondering the other day, why it is that we turn pop figures
into idols? I have a theory, of course. I think that we have this need to be
cool, that there is the undercurrent in society that says some people are cool
and some people aren’t. And it is very, very important that we are cool. So,
when we find somebody who is cool on television or radio, we associate ourselves
with this person to feel valid ourselves. And the problem I have with this is
that we rarely know what the person believes whom we are associating ourselves
with. The problem with this is that it indicates there is less value in what
people believe, what they stand for; it only matters that they are cool. In
other words, who cares what I believe about life, I only care that I am
cool. Because in the end, the undercurrent running through culture is not giving
people value based upon what they believe…

The thing I have to work on in myself is the issue of belief. Ghandi believed Jesus when He said to turn the other cheek. Ghandi brought down the British Empire, deeply injured the caste system, and changed the world. Mother Teresa believed Jesus when He said everybody was priceless, event he ugly ones, the smelly ones, and Mother Teresa changed the world by showing them that a human being can be selfless. Peter finally believed the gospel after he got yelled at by Paul. Peter and Paul changed the world by starting small churches in godless towns.

Eminem believes he is a better rapper than other rappers. Profound. Lets all follow Eminem.

Here is the trick, and here is my point. Satan, who I believe exists as much as I
believe Jesus exists, wants us to believe meaningless things for meaningless reasons. Can you imagine if Christians actually believed that God was trying to rescue us from the pit of our own self-addiction? Can you imagine? Can you imagine what Americans would do if they understood over half the world was living in poverty? …If we believed the right things, the true things, there wouldn’t be very many problems on earth.

But the trouble with deep belief is that it costs something. And there is something inside me, some selfish beast of a subtle thing that doesn’t like the truth at all because it carries responsiblity, and if I actually believe these things I have to do something about them.

There’s so much to say about this. There are directions Miller didn’t explore that I want to take this idea. Questions about how the “coolness” culture interacts – probably in destructive ways – in faith communities, especially my own, and I hope to write on some of those ideas later.

Thats the beauty of Miller’s authentic, conversational style. It not only makes it point, but it inspires open, self-reflection.


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