Longing For the Tiny Wireless Microphone (Part 2 of Why Christians Want To Be Like Donald Miller More Than Jesus)

A few weeks ago I wrote about how Donald Miller made countless Christians believe that one day they too could be a religious celebrity. Via his down to earth nature and non-super conservative Christian ways, his readers long to be like him – a respected Christian leader of sorts who holds no pastoral role nor ministry yet is looked to as an authority.

This is not unique to Christianity, at some point nearly every kid wants to be the star on stage, either as an actor, comedian or the one holding a guitar with lights illuminating them. However in recent years as Christianity has continued to develop its own (peculiar) subculture and therefore celebrities, that desire to be sought after and highly regarded has exploded.

One of the dangers of advancing in the faith is that it can fill you with a sense of pride in your knowledge. I remember in college I somehow emerged as an informal leader of sorts among my Christian cohorts. I attended a non-religious institution and I had nothing to do with the campus ministries, but among the Christians that hung out together I rose in rank.

Of course it felt great, who doesn’t love being seen as wise and knowledgeable and as the answer guy?

I remember some people came to me with a spiritual question, based on an event in the Bible, I had never heard of, yet I wowed them with an on the fly “I’m smart and can figure out your question” type of answer. Inevitably this phase didn’t last long, as my own questions and presumptions humbled me and helped me calm down a little bit.

I think the danger in being a leader is your own ego naturally swells up, and if you answer enough questions and doubts you think you’ve got a lot figured out. You even think because of your insight that you therefore are enjoying a close relationship with God. Maybe you even understand God.

And when you think you’ve got a good enough grip on the divine that’s when you fit him into a system of cause and effect, a system of this is how it all works, a system of this is what God is.

He doesn’t fit in those very well. For a silly, probably out of context example – in the New Testament times people thought Elijah was going to come back since he didn’t die but ascended to heaven. Well Elijah did come back and he didn’t. He didn’t return as himself, but as John the Baptist.

So just be careful, because God doesn’t stay pinned very well, and he can humble people with the best of ’em. Know that knowledge doesn’t equal knowing, nor do answers equal a relationship. And ultimately your goal is people following Jesus, and not people following you, as appealing as it sounds. A better world is made when we aren’t so concerned about the spotlight making us look sexy.

Have you ever fallen in the trap of thinking you’ve got a pretty good handle on God? Have you had that desire to have people following you, to have your name be discussed and, well, praised?

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2 Responses to Longing For the Tiny Wireless Microphone (Part 2 of Why Christians Want To Be Like Donald Miller More Than Jesus)

  1. David says:

    I am really a reluctant leader. God told me in a prophecy in 1998, and it’s true. I don’t like taking all the responsibility – it makes failing a lot softer. I enjoy teams, and don’t mind leading them. I do, however; push everyone to be their best, and I’m always glad to take that back seat. I have seen little kids trained in the gifts of the Holy Spirit do amazing things. After all, they have the same Holy Spirit we do.

    Many years ago I wanted to know all the Bible answers – and after Bible school, seminary training, ministry school and 30+ years in the church, there’s a lot I still don’t know. I still like to do a little teaching – especially about something I believe God will demonstrate. There is no sense teaching on healing if no one expects God to do anything about it. I love to watch God at work.

    I’m not an intellectual, so pointed debate, and “authoritative” answers bore me. Religious people make me nuts. I prefer to quietly go about my business. I have been raised up in leadership at my new church, and I am simply “David.” No titles, no big names, no name in the bulletin – none of that.

    I got all big on myself in Brazil about 10 years ago and the interpreter, my best friend scolded me on the platform. It’s never happened again.

    I am an experiential Christian. If God said, I want to check it out. I love healing, prophecy, and sign and wonders. I don’t enjoy it a lot, but casting out demons is also amazing. To date, I haven’t seen anyone raised from the dead, but I hope to before I die. You cant be good at Supernatural things, only God can. The problem is in the natural things that church folks think they can do on the their own power. There you’ll see the “Me Fest” in action.

    Christian stardom will never last under persecution. How fast would the church empty out if congregations were burned, members jailed, and everyone with a blog mentioning Jesus was hunted down? It’s entirely possible (http://web.archive.org).

    Thanks for letting me tell you how humble I am. I feel pretty good about it. 🙂

  2. haha love the last line! I think just about anyone who finds themselves being a leader gets a little big on themselves, its just to easy and tempting to fall for the line that you are so good and so pleasing to God. Thanks for the extended note David, I enjoyed reading it!

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