I stayed up far too late last night, but I couldn’t really help it. It took a while to get my kids to bed. Rowan, my oldest, makes it a point to battle his bedtime every night (Can someone explain to me why kids fight bedtime? I’d pay money to have someone scold me and send me to bed at 8:00pm every night. I mean, really.), so he wasn’t asleep until closer to 9:00 and I still had dishes to do, toys to put away, coffee to prepare and a husband to call.
It was 10:45 when I finally hung up the phone after saying goodnight to Erik. I still felt a bit too awake to fall asleep, so I clicked Instagram and started scrolling through pictures.
Babies. Sunsets. Kids in football uniforms. Someone’s dinner. Selfies. More babies.
Then I got to a string of photos from a group of friends I know attending a big Christian leadership conference this week. Pictures of them with pastors, authors, speakers, musicians. I smiled and lazily made my way through the comments of some of the photos. A few of them caught my eye.
“OMG, she’s my FAVORITE!”
“I can’t believe you got to meet him!”
“I’ve never really been jealous of any of the Christian celebrities with whom you rub shoulders, but would LOVE to be able to sit down with her!”
Oh, sweet Lord. Christian celebrity? The apostle Paul is rolling in his grave right now.
But, I suppose there’s no other way to describe it. These regular, ordinary people who we’ve placed on impossibly-high pedestals. Celebrities. Getting famous for following Christ and talking about it. Something about it feels weird.
If you think I’m being judgmental, let’s clear the air.
I recently signed a book contract. A two-book contract, actually. It’s with a major Christian publisher, and my first book is about a pretty popular topic amongst Christianity right now.
I remember staring at the blank line with my name printed underneath, waiting for the ink of my pen to roll over the top of it. I stared hard at it for a while. Am I adding to the problem? I asked myself. Do I really want to do this? My name on the cover of a book. It’s a writers dream, right? Sure. But for someone who places a high value on obscurity, having your name appear on bookshelves around the world loses its appeal really quickly.
I’m passionate about the message in my book. I hope the whole of the Christian church reads it, because I believe in it so much. But, if the message in the book catches wind & takes off, do I have to start getting up on stages and, heaven forbid, force words to come out of my mouth in front of an audience? Is this how it’s going to be? Can I just say no?
Is there a balance between wanting others to read your work and signing up to be part of the Evangelical Christian Consumerist Megamachine?
Where’s the line between faithfulness and ambition? Does such a line exist? Are they mutually exclusive?
Inevitably, a celebrity falls. They come tumbling down off the high platform we placed them on – the platform that we helped build with our dollars and word of mouth. What happens when they fall? We turn our backs & talk behind theirs. We crucify them with our words.
I don’t know where evangelism ends and marketing begins. Or church and capitalism. It’s all grey haze to me, but I’m desperate for clarity as I start to tiptoe into the waters of influence and spotlight, alongside many others being yanked out of obscurity. I want the world to hear what I have to say because I believe what I have to say has been gifted to me.
I just worry about being in the temple when Jesus walks in and flips over tables.