Why Cranky Christians Criticise Christian Celebrities – PLEASE STOP!

One of our Prime Ministers, in recent years, proclaimed that Britain is a Christian country, and that the Anglican church should spearhead a revival of Christian morality. The statements were brave and almost unprecedented from a PM in living memory.

While many Christians were celebrating his bravery, some immediately engaged in friendly fire, picking holes in his “brand” of Christianity and questioning his sincerity.

This has led me to think about many famous politicians, pop stars and celebrities that have openly made statements about their faith, who have then gone on to be criticized by Christians. It seems our response to famous people’s statements of faith is sorely lacking in grace and thoughtfulness.

Those unacquainted with the pressures of leadership and the nuances of power think Christians in power should simply “Big mouth” theological slogans. They are naively unaware that we need to be wise with our words if we wish to continue to speak in places of influence. Even Jesus, the Truth Himself, at times chose not to answer goading questions from his peers, or even chose to answer their questions with questions, a common distraction media technique today!

Of course, many Christians of influence are also going to get it plain wrong, failing to speak up in moments when they could and should. But please, let’s be real, who of us hasn’t failed to get  the right words out in a moment of pressured conversation at work – and that’s without cameras in our faces! Get real! Get gracious!

Truth does not always need fanfare. Sometimes it waits for it’s moment. The Truth Himself, Jesus, came to earth and chose to “pay the relational rent” as some put it, before getting to his strongest, most radical preaching. We need to recognize even Jesus did not lay the full truth on people all the time. Words must be shaped with wisdom for the occasion.

Here are 10 reasons why I think some believers have ungracious cranky attitudes to famous Christians:paul-david-hewson-434928_1920

1. People think Fame equals Spiritual Maturity, or that expertise in one area, means expertise in all areas. It seems that some think that because someone is famous or politically influential they will automatically be a mature Christian. But a leader in one area of life does not make your an expert in all areas, or theologically experienced, in Church. Has anyone thought that if that famous Christian came to their church, they would probably need the new believers course, or have some basic questions to learn about? These people are gently trying to bring their sapling faith into their sphere of influence like everyone else in a church. Cut them some slack theologically.

2. People think “My Brand of Christian is THE REAL one.” It is in moments like these that we realise why we are called PROTEST-ants. We protest endlessly about people who don’t share our exact “take” on things. It reveals the immature (frankly demonic!) divisions in Church. Just because he doesn’t dance in worship, immediately denounce pre-marital sex, tongue talk, or sound like a rabid evangelist, we criticise… as if the sweet baptist chap who is our neighbour is not going to heaven because he’s not quite like you! We will feel such fools in heaven when we ALL realise how dodgy parts of our theology was!

3. People think all should “Treat their jobs like Pulpits”. As if a Prime Minister is going to give an altar call in Prime Ministers Question time! Get real! Like Daniel and Joseph tried to bring God influence to their ungodly worlds through wisdom, so can every pop star, politician, celeb … but in a measured way, otherwise their influence simply ceases to exist. (All influence is given and earned…not imposed) Their jobs are like yours; there is protocol.

4. Cranky Christians love bold statements, not edgy Questions. We love bold statements of faith, and struggle with honest questions. What about the gay issue, creation, single parenthood, sex outside of marriage. These questions would not give Jesus a sleepless night and every young Christian has the right to ask them, even publicly. It’s part of the journey. Try not to sound cranky when they’re raised!

5. Some People expect SIN to be denounced in every interview. I have seen time and again famous Christians have to dodge around the classic difficult subjects. We need to understand that many media interviewers are always trying to goad Christians into speaking about things like homosexuality, because the interviewer knows that if he can make the Christian sound cranky, it will be a “good” interview (for his ratings!). Once, when I was being interviewed about something entirely unrelated, the BBC interviewer was determined to ask me about my beliefs on homosexuality, which I knew would simply dis-rail everything I wanted to say. So I simply responded “We LOVE Homosexuals in our church, and I want them ALL to come to my Church” (which is one side of the truth!). Wide eyed, the interviewer was lost for words. And we got on with what I’d actually come to talk about! Don’t expect full theological debates on sin on TV. Some Christians in media are fighting to steer away from being portrayed as cranks…which the media love to do! (Of course there are other moments when we should indeed wade into the debates on these things).

6. Sometimes it’s just because Cranks are just, er, … cranky. Sometimes I think cranky people just feel they have a right to be cranky with everyone. It’s not just celebs, but they lay into “friends” on social media, their pastor or their favourite football teams manager – They are publicly, openly, unabashedly rude. Cranky is just how they do life. BUT THAT’S NOT CHRISTIAN! I think they’ve missed the “love is…” verses, forgot that the world will know we are disciples because of love for one another (yes, even for that denomination you personally disagree with you “Fount of all truth”), and that the bible gives very clear protocol for accusing elders, correcting brothers and winning the world….. And in case you hadn’t guessed it, lambasting people on social media isn’t it!

7. Perhaps, Some Britons actually have issues with success, leadership & authority. I actually wonder if our desire to pull apart famous Christians at times, comes from the national hobby of tearing down authority figures, evident in some of our society. The same, defensive insecurities fill Christians, who cleverly hide their lack of grace behind theological protests.

8. People just love “kicking others”. No-one is into friendly fire like the Church. We tear down pop stars who fail morally, or who don’t call down hell fire on Homosexuals. Let’s learn to LOVE EVERY brand of Christianity .. and learn from them all.

9. It easier to criticise than pray. If someone’s been brave enough to mention the “C” word in the public setting (You know how hard that can be in the office, let alone the media!), stop picking holes in their statements…PRAY FOR THEM! They are your brother, sister..or at least are TRYING to be!

10. Finally, I have seen so many pop stars, celebrities and politicians simply give up on their faith, because after trying to raise the subject of Christianity, or even failing in some way, criticism lays into them in the form of theological attacks, hate mail and ridicule…BUT NOT from the media, or from the “world”…. Can you guess WHO actually bashes the faith out of them…?

I was in Westminster recently where one MP told me of another whose brand of Christian faith had been so attacked that it left him a shell of his former self. The source of the destruction?…..Christians. Shame on us.

Please pray for your brothers and sisters…. and stop the social media bashing!

Comments

24 comments on “Why Cranky Christians Criticise Christian Celebrities – PLEASE STOP!”
  1. Kevin Lawlor says:

    Excellent – a much needed word!

  2. An excellent blog. In this world we need to show Christian love through our words and actions. We can all be involved in various ways whether it is through Street Angels, speaking face-to-face with national politicians on subjects on which you have an expertise to help influence policy, helping with Food Banks and so much more. Often we underestimate our own Christian witness and how positive words can help change the world. As it says in Ephesians 3:10 (MSG) – Through Christians like yourselves gathered in churches, this extraordinary plan of God is becoming known and talked about even among the angels!

    1. Bless you Peter!! Here’s to 2016!!

  3. Stuart Falconer says:

    Your words are wise as always Jarrod but when it comes to David Cameron his actions speak louder than his words.
    His foreign policy (Syria), his immigration policy (Calais), his defence policy (Trident), his economic policy (Bedroom Tax); I could go on and on.
    Time and again he has proved himself to be without compassion, morals or integrity and my instant reaction when I read his words was to cringe, knowing the backlash he and the Christian faith would receive.
    I fully admit that I need to learn and practice grace more fully and humbly but when it comes to Mr. Cameron I have a real struggle….

    1. Great points Stuart. It is hard to separate policy from the person, and yet I do feel for leaders attacked by the church if they express Christian greetings. Guess that’s my point.

  4. John M Hoyle says:

    More mature Christians are responsible for helping less mature Christians to progress in their faith, understanding and practice, while recognising that they themselves also have further progress to make by growing closer to God. Therefore we should be self-critical and critical of others. This is the best form of criticism, aiming at a positive outcome, not being destructive. The same is true of all followers of faith or moralists.
    Hence criticism of our P M is certainly appropriate. Are his words and actions above criticism?

    1. Valid point yes!! But I think my point is that people seem to not be able to separate the person and personal faith from the policies… I do feel for them, as the end of my blog states. Attack policies yes, but we have no right to judge the genuineness of his faith.

  5. Annmarie Harrison says:

    I guess its studying social sciences for like forever it seems now, that has caused me to analyse this article. The irony is astounding! Zachsdad is clearly bashing Christians who apparently bash other Christians. We don’t all believe the same thing, any JW will tell you that once you start talking about the Blood of the Lamb. Homosexuality is an abomination, for the bible says so. But that’s not to say its the worse sin ever, sin is sin. My aunt happens to be gay, and issues of sex outside marriage, although i strongly disagree with, and have reasons to, it doesn’t faze me. And if a few famous people fall by the wayside cos of a few letters written to them, PHULEASE! Has the writer never heard of the parable of the sower? And yes of course we need to be building one another up, but the amount of obstacles i’ve had put in my path.., you simply keep your eyes on Jesus less you go astray!

  6. Megan Tucker says:

    Thanks for writing this Jarrod. I don’t claim to know loads about politics, but it always irritates me how quick people are to attack people like David Cameron. They forget the massive weight of responsibility on such a man’s shoulders and expect perfection from him at all times. The harsh truth is however, that most people would run a mile from taking on that level of responsibility if they were faced with it. We are so quick to judge and so slow to realise we ourselves would probably make a hash of things at times if we were in the same position of authority. It takes guts to lead (in any realm). The fact is if ANY of us were prime minister, we would make just as many “Mistakes”. Jesus is the only perfect leader so I think people need to wake up a bit and dismount their high horses! Yes, we have the right to take note of certain faults and speak up about them, but some of us need to discover some much needed grace and balance in voicing these things.

    “Two men looked out of prison bars, one saw mud, the other saw stars”. Lets thank God that we have a prime minister who at least acknowledges God and biblical morals to some extent! It’s all about perspective. (Phil 4:6) Quit whinging, Recognise “the stars”, Thank God for them, and pray about the “Mud” instead!

    …Rant over 🙂

  7. Nicola says:

    Lets focus on jesus we all think our style of worship is the right one. It doesn’t matter so long as God Jesus holy spirit his word love and serving his people are central to what we say and do

  8. Guernican says:

    It’s interesting that morality has to be “Christian”. As a Christian, which would you rather: that people had faith, or that people were morally upright?

    Speaking as a non-believer, it seems a pity to me that Cameron chooses to bring the banner of religion into the political landscape. I don’t see what he has to gain: he risks alienating non-believers, who – according to Gallup – make up the majority of people in the country, and polarising believers like yourselves over the definition of the morality in question.

    In terms of what are loosely described as “Christian values” (and I mean this in the spirit of the thing, as I understand it, rather than the letter) I see no reason why I have to believe in the New Testament to be charitable and compassionate. So, to reiterate my question: which would you rather, Pastor Jarrod? A country of morally decent people with no faith, or a country of professed faithful with a moral compass all over the place?

    1. zachsdad says:

      Great comment! “Would I rather people had faith or morality..?”. Shame it has to be either/or. As a member of society I want people to be kind, good, moral, law abiding.

      But from an eternal grand perspective, without a specific faith In Jesus, who in my case I believe to be the Ultimate Moral Compass, our sins are not forgiven and our eternity insecure.

      To me faith and morality are intrinsically linked, not because ONLY Christians can be good or nice, but because I believe Jesus to be the creator and source of all goodness… My world view simply cannot separate the two, whether I find them in a Christian, Muslim or Atheist.

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