Last week there was a celebration of Evening Prayer at Hampton...
It’s been an eventful start to 2016 and celebrities around the world have hit the news for various reasons. It’s also becoming more evident that popular Christians are starting to infiltrate mainstream media more and more. From Justin Bieber finding his faith in God, to Kirk Franklin collaborating with Hip-Hop superstar Kanye West, we’ve had it all. Grammy award winning worship leader Israel Houghton announced his divorce earlier this week and the majority of the Christian world were in unbelievable shock. In a world where Gospel singer Erica Campbell has reached one million followers on social networking site Instagram, and Kevin Hart has reached 30 million, just how much of an influence do celebrities have over us?
Celebrities tend to have an influence over the way we dress. Those who listen to Hip-Hop music are more likely to dress differently to those who listen to Rock music. Why is that? Maybe we’re influenced by what we see in music videos and at concerts. Fashion brands pay fortunes to stars to sport their clothing, so there is clout to think that fans are heavily impacted by what they see. Should we be influenced to the point that we want to look like the people we look up to?
Popular people can also influence the way we speak. Being a youngster who grew up in London, I remember how certain words would come in and out of fashion. Words such as cool, wicked, and sick were all words that we picked up. There were people I grew up with that went through a stage of talking in an American accent because all their favourite celebrities were American.
Behaviour is something that can also be influenced. In a time were social media and reality TV shows are really popular, we are much more exposed to seeing behaviour patterns of the people we admire and subconsciously letting those patterns affect us. Social Media has also brought us closer to celebrities than ever before. So close that some feel that if they do whatever they can to grab some attention, their favourite celebrities will notice them. Justin Bieber and One Direction are particularly known for having hugely dedicated fan-bases.
In essence, celebrities are normal people like us, but we tend to put them on pedestals. In the eyes of some, celebrities can do no wrong. This is why when someone like Kirk Franklin makes the decision to collaborate with Kanye West, some fans are left disappointed. Maybe this is because the celebrity they thought they knew did something that doesn’t fit the quota of the fan. We put so much faith in celebrities that when someone like Israel Houghton announces a divorce, we’re more shocked than when we witness divorce in our own circles.
What does the bible say about celebrity influence? Well, not much that I can find, but it does say a lot about idols. Ultimately, it is okay to admire someone and be a fan of their work, but Jesus is the ultimate celebrity. He is the one who saved our souls so we need to be careful, that we aren’t giving His glory to someone else. Exodus 20:4 says "You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.”
We are all designed to worship something. That’s why people get so passionate for their favourite football team, artist, or actress. We have something inside of us that makes us want to like things and support things. We must make sure that our worship is for God and not for humans, because humans aren’t perfect and they will always fall short, but God never fails.