The Pedestal Complex

Posted: January 6, 2012 in christianity, evangelicalism, humility

Chuck Colson, writing for The Christian Post:

People used to be celebrated in our culture for accomplishing something special. George Washington won the Revolution; Charles Lindbergh flew solo across the Atlantic; Wilma Rudolph set a world record in the 100-meter dash. Now, people are famous for, well, being famous.

That’s how people like the Kardashians and Paris Hilton become celebrities. Or take the pop singer Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, otherwise known as Lady Gaga. To gather all the notoriety and money she can, the moderately talented Lady Gaga will say, sing, or do almost anything, from simulating sex in videos to blaspheming God in her songs. She was named one of the most influential people in the world by Time magazine. Please! …

Even worse, the cult of celebrity has seeped into our sanctuaries. Like the culture around us, churches too often reward the sizzle and not the steak. Too many people in the pews would rather have a celebrity in the pulpit instead of a good shepherd of souls, a good servant leader. …

According to theologian Os Guiness, we expect the pastor to be a shrink in the pulpit, a CEO in the office, and flawless in his family life. Heap on top of all that our desire that the pastor be a spiritual rock star, and these expectations can lead to pastoral frustration, burnout, and even financial and sexual immorality.

Is it any surprise, then, that the Church has been rocked over the last few decades by clerical scandals?

Friends, celebrity worship – in my book Being the Body I call it the Pedestal Complex – has no place in the Church. Let’s honor and care for our spiritual leaders, of course. But let’s be sure to keep them off our pedestals – for their sake and for ours.

Check out some of my own musings on this topic:

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