Sunday, January 31, 2016

a then and now momenet 2012: Rachel Held Evans considers why sheeple follow Christian celebrities, in 2016 appointed to an Obama adminsitration administrative post [updated]

Back on February 6, 2012 Rachel Held Evans wrote a piece about celebrity pastors.  It could have been about celebrity Christians in general but Evans restricted the scope of her piece to celebrity pastors.  Much of it was boilerplate discussion about why "we" do this.  The piece as a whole isn't worth quoting at much length.  In fact the bold-type bullet points suffice for summarizing much of the piece.
We make celebrity pastors when we believe they can do no right or do no wrong.
We make celebrity pastors when we become their disciples rather than Christ’s.

We make celebrity pastors when we measure success by numbers.

We make celebrity pastors when we think we need them.

I’m no psychologist, but I suspect a big part of what drives celebrity-pastor culture is insecurity. It is part of human nature to long for an authority figure to tell you what to do and how to think, someone to lead the kind of life you might not think you’re strong enough to lead. But Christians, of all people, should be different. For inside each one of us lives the Holy Spirit, who convicts us, guides us, teaches us and reminds us of the things Jesus taught.

Perhaps the first step to moving past a celebrity pastor culture is to listen to that voice, to remember we are all followers of Jesus, all heirs to Christ’s Kingdom, all part of the priesthood of believers, and all capable of bearing the sort of fruit that comes from the stubborn, everyday faithfulness of regular people who  have been transformed by an amazing God

Ah, if only those sheeple would just stop being sheeple, huh? Thing is, if everyone listened to that voice they'd realize that there's a wealth of Christian reflective writing that's public domain in addition to, ah that's right, the Bible.  Then nobody would have any reason to buy Rachel Held Evans' books (or those of Mark Driscoll) because people would interpret the Scriptures for themselves.

But in reality the people who say they want the people to not be sheeple actually need the people to be sheeple enough to read them or they don't have their jobs (or hobbies).

Take this author:
Rachel Held Evans is a New York Times best-selling author whose books include Faith Unraveled (2010), A Year of Biblical Womanhood (2012), and Searching for Sunday (2015). Hailing from Dayton, Tennessee—home of the famous Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925— she writes about faith, doubt and life in the Bible Belt.

Rachel has been featured in The Washington Post, The Guardian, Christianity Today, Slate, The Huffington Post, The CNN Belief Blog, and on NPR, The BBC, The Today Show, and The View. She keeps a busy schedule speaking at churches, conferences, and colleges and universities around the country.

A lifelong Alabama Crimson Tide fan, Rachel is married to Dan. Her preferred writing fuel is animal crackers and red wine

If people just relied on the Holy Spirit to guide them into the truth and not rely on a Christian celebrity Rachel Held Evans wouldn't have sold very many books. 

What Evans' 2012 piece failed to do (and was it intentional?) is to account for the mechanics of the star-making machine.  Without the machinery of mass media in place there could not be celebrities of the sort we have now.  In the apostolic era the super-apostles had letters of recommendation.  In our era they can tout being a best-selling author on the NYT.  Ah, yes, but then that would mean that Evans herself could be one of those self-promoting super-apostles, couldn't it? 

It seems recently Rachel Held Evans can have a nomination administrative appointment to celebrate. [updated 12:28pm, misread the wording]

If she weren't a Christian celebrity in her own right could she even have been considered for such an appointment?  Can a Christian blog post posing a question on a public issue ever be something besides rhetorical? ;) Over the years I've differed with some Christian bloggers about Rachel Held Evans, it has been said of her "she's asking questions".  My beef with her kind of Christian blogger is that, like a Mark Driscoll, the questions she keeps coming back to seem to be leading questions and rhetorical questions.  Meanwhile ...

In light of what she's decided to not say or do with respect to Tony Jones and Julie McMahon it's hard to shake the impression that having lectured the sheeple on how they don't need to be sheeple back in 2012 because they don't need celebrities , Rachel Held Evans has her own role in the celebrity manufacturing machine to play. 

I've been saying this for years but the two celebrities Evans and Driscoll are two sides of the same coin, the money that the Christian pop culture establishment has been able to make money off of literally and figuratively left and right.

Mark Driscoll had his turn for a while, it seems that perhaps Rachel Held Evans is getting her turn, too.  If Evans still holds to her 2012 proposal, her being able to be a Christian celebrity might as well be "your" fault because you think you need to read or hear what she has to say.  Would 2016 Rachel Held Evans be willing to use her 2012 theory of the popularity of celebrity pastors to explain the existence of her own fan base in 2016?

1 comment:

molly245 said...

At the risk of wishing you 'celebrity status" I do wish more people would consder this kind of analysis of RHE.....I've often wondered where she'd be if she only used 2 names...