My friend Ben and I were asked to speak at a youth group weekend and we decided to begin our little series by talking about Esther and Jonah and Daniel and in doing so tried to learn lessons about not separating ourselves from the world around us but not becoming just like everybody else either. Jonah was our example of someone who thought he was better than those around him and so we talked about how important it was that we have more humility and indeed self-awareness than that. It is really important that we are IN the world, that we don’t distance ourselves so much from it that when it looks for us we are no-where to be found. And because you're kidding yourself if you don't think that that is exactly where and who you are.
Esther was our example of someone who had managed to blend in to the background. Before she took the brave decision of ‘coming out’ as a Hebrew no-one, not even her husband the King, seemed to have any idea that she was a Jew. While we are IN the world we should ask for the grace not to become OF the world. Not to fall for the charms of the world and think that all the stuff that it offers is actually worth having. We are no use to the world if, when it does come looking, it discovers that we are just like everyone and everything else. And we are settling for something less than we might enjoy.
And then we got ourselves to Daniel, the hero of the piece, who managed to find that coveted third way and actually keep his feet upon it.
I had decided that I wasn’t really going to get in to this here because most of what I was excited about and challenged by from that particular line of thinking I have already covered in some of the other Daniel Blogs. But then I saw the videos I have embedded below. I have long been amused by the significance Christians can place on the discovery that a celebrity shares their faith. It seems to give a hit of vindication and validation, perhaps another angle of the kind of sense which sees people buy celebrity endorsed products. When running an entertainments website for students, some friends and I organised a competition the prize of which was some merchandise given to us by the British dance act Basement Jaxx. Noticing that one of the group’s members had written “God Bless” before scrawling her signature on a poster we decided to try and start a rumour that the band were all Christians just because we enjoyed people’s reactions. But surely the giant elephant in the room would tell us, if only it could talk, that the whole notion of celebrity is just utterly ridiculous when considered in the context of the Upside Down Kingdom of God.
In the actual videos some of the pictures that have been chosen of the female celebrities sit beside their words like odd shoes. I’m not commenting on the actual people in these videos, on what they do, on what they believe or anything else. Indeed some of the quotes are pretty interesting, others profound. It’s simply the notion of Christian celebrity and the photograph choices made by the person behind the editing that at times almost sees me burst out laughing with incredulity (Please see the last frame!). Choices which seem to be rooted in the logic of sex-sells advertising. If they are beautiful, scantily clad even, and they say it, well, I guess you really MUST be worth it.
"Who'll be the salt if the salt should lose its flavour? Work a miracle in my heart."