One of the reasons the gospels have endured as scriptures that give shape and meaning to our lives is that they consistently speak directly to our cultural moment.
In every era since they were written, the gathered faithful have found signposts of wisdom that speak to the controversies and struggles of their time. The same is true for us.
Today we read in our gospel about Jesus and fame.
Celebrity is the currency of choice in our culture. Even money and power fade before the respect given to the famous.
There are a number of rungs on the celebrity ladder of status.
It starts with metrics as small and simple as Facebook likes or Instagram and Twitter followers.
Then it progresses to a ratio: how minute of a level of trivia about your life can you get multiple news outlets to cover?
Amateur celebrities can only get network news to cover them when they win Nobel prizes or maybe die.
Professional celebrities can get wall-to-wall 24-hour cable news and online coverage for which tie they wear or bag they carry to an event.
There is the special class of celebrity that has attained the right to go by only one name, like Beyonce, Madonna, Bono, or Pele.
And then you have the absolute monarchy of celebrity culture: people who have not actually done anything noteworthy, they are simply famous for being famous.
But what’s the real harm in celebrity culture? It’s just fun, right?
It gives us a break from our problems to leaf through a magazine or sit for an hour in front of the TV keeping up with the Kardashians.
Well, it turns out that our culture’s glorification of celebrity has a dark side. Continue reading