the hollywood king is dead, long live the King.
I was reading an article the other day about “the death of the movie star” and how, with the advent of streaming services and social media, the mystique that once shrouded the likes of, well I’m sure you can think of a few A-listers who maybe aren’t so “A-list” anymore, has all but completely gone by the wayside.
I grew up in church. I grew up in Christian school. I went to Bible college. Through no fault of theirs, only my own psychological and emotional issues, I had a somewhat distorted view of Christianity. Well, not Christianity per se, but the leaders I saw up on the stage. There always seemed to be this “mystique” to them. I’m not saying they did this on purpose (although some of them did, I’m sure.) For some reason, I thought they were all super holy, not a horrible sinner like me. I thought they talked to God like Commissioner Gordon talks to Batman, just pick up the special red phone and you have a direct line to the savior. I thought that these, “Christian Jedi masters,” I heard, day in and day out, prayed 5 hours a day, fasted twice a week, and healed anything that was sick within spitting distance. What was their secret? What was wrong with me? Was I just not spiritual enough? Was I just not holy enough?
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to realize that everyone, even the people we consider to be “heroes of the faith” struggle. If anyone was a hero of the faith, it was the Apostle Paul, and he said things like, “I am the very least of all the saints,” and “I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle…” Everyone struggles, even the guys on stage.
You want to know the secret to Christian living? THERE IS NO SECRET. Pray, fast, seek the Lord, suffer, question, wrestle, have faith, feel faithless…this is the Christian life. Don’t be deceived by the smoke and mirrors. Of course we will have victories. Of course the Lord will use us in ways we could have never expected or even imagined. We say “yes and amen” to all the promises of God. But don’t have a distorted view. The path is narrow, and it is littered about with thorns, thistles, and the occasional falling rock. Be careful not to esteem some people higher than you ought to. And don’t lose the faith when those people inevitably disappoint you. Jesus will never disappoint you. Put your trust in Him.
Brennan Manning in his book, “The Ragamuffin Gospel” says it much better than I ever could:
“The gospel of grace nullifies our adulation of televangelists, charismatic superstars, and local church heroes. It obliterates the two-class citizenship theory operative in many American churches. For grace proclaims the awesome truth that all is gift. All that is good is ours, not by right, but by the sheer bounty of a gracious God.”
“The Good News of the gospel of grace cries out: We are all, equally, privileged but unentitled beggars at the door of God’s mercy!”
Oh, Amazing Grace. How sweet the sound. That saved a wretch like me!
The Hollywood king is dead, long live the KING.