I love “Ducky Dynasty.” I laugh at Uncle Si’s crazy vocabulary, how Willie cannot get his family to work, and how Phil tries to teach his grandchildren the life of the woods. They are as funny as they are insane, which is why I love watching the show and why it is a hit.
But, I don’t want the Robertson Family to be role models for the church.
I think Tim Tebow was a great college player. His successes at the University of Florida is the stuff of legends. His NFL career … not so much.
However, I do not want Tebow at the example of the ideal Christian.
If we were to take a quick glance of modern-day Christianity we would see that the Robertson Family and Tebow are the center of our faith experience. Christian bookstores are filled with references to these two cultural icons. Even more, much of their popularity can be traced to strong support within the Christian community. They are who we desire to be like. They are our role models of Christian discipleship.
I have no problem with the Robertson Family or Tebow receiving support from the Christian community because of their faith and values. My concern is that they are part of a larger problem, which is the celebrity-driven nature to our current Christian experience. We idolize famous Christians and make their lives (especially the rich and famous aspect) the epitome of Christian discipleship.
This is just a natural outflow of our celebrity-centric culture. We are obsessed with the rich and famous. We want to look like our favorite movie star, play like our favorite athlete, and sing like our favorite musician. It is, perhaps, only natural that Christians would be equally obsessed with celebrities who proclaim faith in Christ.
However, we often take this admiration for celebrity Christians to extremes by making their lives the example for all other Christians to follow. While the Robertson Family and Tebow are deeply committed Christians they should not be viewed as role models for faith. The reason is that we too often connect their financial or athletic successes with the blessings of faith. Our obsession with these two, and others like them, take us down the path of believing that those who are financially rich or successful are those blessed and loved by God. It is a posture that ignores the poor and our call to grow in the humility of Christ. Celebrity worship isn’t what the church should focus on or be about.
What I wish for is that we look to servants of faith as our role models. Servants who seek to serve Christ and love others. Servants who are busy sharing the Kingdom of God in soup kitchens, addiction groups, inner-city developments, rural missions, and so many other important areas. Servants who want for Christ to be made known in their lives and in the lives of others. Sadly, we do not hear of these servants, because our mindset is such that attention is only given to those who are famous or have made a name for themselves.
For too long, the church in America has been fascinated with celebrity worship of Christians, whether it is the Robertson’s and Tebow or a celebrity pastor. This is not a new trend. It is not a trend that will be corrected overnight. However, it is a trend that will only be corrected when we want to become less like our favorite celebrity and more like the servants of Christ who never receive much of our attention or focus.