“Maybe, instead of trying to do something really, really big,
God is preparing us for something really, really – small…
of mustard seed size…
In a very quiet conspiracy destined to change our lives and God’s world.
Lord! Your plans, not ours. Your ways, not ours”
~ Andrew Park (inspired by author Tom Sine, 2008)
It seems that with every so-called Christian revival of significance throughout history, it began with something of mustard seed proportions, and then grew by God’s grace, into something very much bigger than itself.
Be it a few humble women whose passionate prayers set off a Welsh revival, or a few hippies of the mid-60’s who discovered the radical faith message of Jesus’ Gospel setting off two decades of Jesus People Revolution, it all began with a few ordinary people having found mustard seed faith, humility and passion to reach out to their own base cultures inspired by Gospel-grassroots ideas, rather than grandiose aims estimated to elevate themselves as religious saviour celebrities to the masses.
There is nothing wrong with being a celebrity. Jesus was a celebrity. A celebrity is simply someone who is well known for some reason. There is nothing wrong with that. But there is a difference between just being well-known, and being the object of “celebrity worship” and being treated as someone “above all the rest in personal importance”, which all too often is attached to being a Christian “celebrity/expert” in our time of pop-star worship leaders, pop-star preachers, pop-star Christian activists, writers and so on.
If you want to find where the biggest culture of elitism is occurring in our Churches today, you don’t need to look much further than our celebrity preachers and artists. And they are not known and celebrated for their countercultural activism or the prophetic utterances and cries toward the church or governments as God’s truth-tellers risking life and limb for speaking “inconvenient truths” and Gospel-based solutions to address those. They are very politically correct, and avoid saying anything which might offend anyone for “ministry reasons”.
I am thoroughly tired of the self-indulgence of many so-called Christian artists who seem far more concerned with hype-drugging their followers into hedonistic spiritual deliria, than challenging them with the radical hard-truths of the Gospel way, and calling them to live those challenges instead of worshiping worship for its own intoxicating pleasure.
If we want a genuine Christian revival to be birthed involving and not excluding artists, then this cancerous culture of celebrity worship directed to pop-star artists and preachers must be rigorously challenged and a stop put to it! It is simply another form of idolatry, and it needs to be recognized and addressed wherever it emerges. In fact, I think it is the Christian artists themselves, who, in their role as contemporary prophetic agents of God, need to be the main spokespeople against it! FULL STOP.
So now that I’ve said this, I hope I have “ruffled a few feathers”, because that is what God has called me to do. Change will not occur unless we are prepared to say uncomfortable things, evoking change for the better. It is the loving thing to do.
Our artists need to “Be” different to the world’s celebrity machine, by exemplifying much higher standards than those proposed by popular culture.
Christian artistic endeavour must not be seduced into the self-deception that only the “big” is good, and the little is not worth considering. Mustard seed faith must displace and replace grandiose delusion. From many accumulated small acts of humble service, “from little things, big things grow”(Paul Kelly, 1991 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/From_Little_Things_Big_Things_Grow).
Leave the big things to God, and let us faithfully and graciously attend to the little things and give thanks to God when they grow.
Being humble, means not blowing our trumpets of self-importance in the market place, and re-interpreting ourselves into servants of the surrounding community who become a mutual blessing to us in their gracious receiving of our humble acts of service. Rejecting all the fanfare, whilst treasuring the wealth found in genuine relationship and fellowship. In the end, we are all equals in the sight of God. Being able to do something for somebody else doesn’t make us better than that person. Maybe they can do some things far better than us?
Andrew Park ~ July 2013
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