It seems that not only does the autumn bring cooler weather and shorter days, it also brings a flurry of celebrity programmes on television. Celebrity Big Brother was launched a few weeks ago and the BBC has started to drip feed announcements of who will be taking part in this year’s Strictly Come Dancing competition.
It’s probably true that our generation is unequalled in its fascination with famous individuals, but the cult of celebrity is really nothing new. For example, those who study church history have noticed a striking similarity in the cult of saints in the Middle Ages and the cult of celebrity in our own day. In both cases ordinary people find themselves attracted and drawn to the life lived by the famous and have a deep desire to emulate that life. Another similarity is a fascination with clothes and other objects that once belonged to the famous.
But have you noticed that celebrities are often treated in a two-faced way? Our culture puts them on pedestals and adoringly laps up details of their lives, but when the same celebrity inevitably comes up short in some aspect of his or her life the very same culture is merciless in its tut-tutting criticism.
What do we make of all this as Christians? Let’s remember that Christianity offers us something completely different to the cult of celebrity. The gospel doesn’t present us with a “perfect” lifestyle that we find ourselves aspiring to, rather it is the power of God to save us from our sins. There’s no place for the cult of celebrity in our hearts.
Yours in Christ