America loves a hero. There is no denying it. It never ceases to amaze me how a person can be elevated to godly proportions here in our country. We see it all the time. Even worse, it is not just America. All over the world people have their very own role models. Heck, we even have a show devoted to it (American Idol). As I was reading a magazine the other day and listening to music, I came to a stunning realization: Christians have their very own idols as well.
Now let me be clear, I’m not talking about the blatant worship of somebody other than Jehovah … but even then the lines are starting to blur. How often do you quote your favorite author, pastor or speaker? Count how many times a week you say “Well ______ says that…” How about musicians? Covered over many Christians walls are the faces of Bono, Jon Foreman, Mac Powell, Chris Tomlin and David Crowder or whoever else you are listening to these days. We know everything about them. We know that David Crowder’s wife broke her arm skateboarding with him and that Bono feels that AIDS in Africa is a huge problem. We read their books, listen to their music and watch them on TV. We feel this connection with them because, hey, they are Christians too! And why shouldn’t we? The more people we can get famous the better we will be able to bring the gospel of Jesus to the nations right?
I witnessed this first hand. I have a good friend who is an excellent singer. So good in fact, he decided to audition for American Idol. Not only did he make a few of the cuts but he was actually on TV and sang in front of millions of TV viewers. After the show (he got voted off), offers for possible record deals and television shows started to come in. What was really disturbing, were the comments that people had about him as he started to become more well known. Comments like “I sure hope he can use his fame for a worthy cause” or “Maybe with another Christian in the business we can start to have more influence in this country.” To tell you the truth, when I first heard these comments, I thought nothing of it. In fact, I may have even nodded in agreement. Now however, I see exactly what I was actually thinking at that moment. I wanted a Christian Idol. I wanted somebody who could be displayed among the world so that they could know that all Christians aren’t judgmental, they aren’t self absorbed and egotistical and they don’t all listen to terrible music. I wanted a human version of God himself, displayed for all the nations to see. They become our very own Christian poster boy/girl.
How wrong of us to think this way. Do we really think that God needs man to display His glory? Are we that self-absorbed to think that God needs man to spread His fame? How frustrated do people get when one of our Christian Idols falls. Or even worse, says a swear word. I remember when people were ticked off at a Christian magazine because they put Bono on the cover. They were mad because recently, Bono had said the word “F***” when giving a speech. How upset do Christians get when a well-known speaker/idol falls into temptation with lust? Even worse, how often do you see people’s own salvation judged based on these actions? I remember when I heard somebody talking about a band that for all of my knowledge were Christians. They were saying, “Oh yeah, I don’t think they are really a Christian band because well, they go to parties and I heard that a few of them really liked drinking and stuff.”
Idolatry in its purest form is putting something other than God in a place where only God belongs. This includes my favorite pastor, speaker, musician, actor/actress or anyone else you feel is worthy to be elevated. I was first awakened to this by a Christian actor (who has been put on this elevated level by many people) was speaking. He simply said: “My fame is dead.” This world is way too big for me or anyone else to really make a name for ourselves. Our fame echoes for about five minutes after we die and it is over. The name of the Lord, Jesus Christ, echoes throughout all of eternity. Instead of working to elevate a man to His place, how about we leverage our lives for a name that will echo into all of eternity?[Bryan Navarro is a 21-year-old college student who wants to make movies if he grows up. He currently resides in Oxford, Ohio with his opera singer/violinist/cheerleader roommate Matt.]