The Problems of the Human Celebrity

Forget Donald Trump

Forget Michael Jordan

Forget Oprah Winfrey

Why would I start my entry like that?

I am trying to make the point that human “dignitaries” or “celebrities” are unapproachable.

Dr. Willard wants us to rid our minds of the idea that God is unapproachable.

Maybe we think of God as a dignitary, the Supreme Deity who sits in heaven, the One who knows about us but He does not want to know us.

Let’s think about earthly celebrities: they have people who do know them but it is a limited number. We call the privileged few who know a celebrity a “confidant” and the people who attend to the needs of a celebrity, a member of their entourage. An earthly celebrity often has bodyguards to protect them from intruding common people who could cause harm to them. In other words, it is hard to get close to a celebrity.

In grad school, I studied “corporate communications” which is a fancy name for the type of communication that goes on at work. One of the terms I found myself pondering was the term “sharpening.” It seems that a common thing to happen to any communication that goes up to a leader in an organization is that it gets changed.   The more negative message becomes more positive, the idea that bosses don’t want to hear negative news. This means that leaders or celebrities don’t hear the whole truth. They hear some sugar-coated version.

Even if human dignitaries could have a constant flow of accurate messages, they could not comprehend them all.   They would suffer from information overload. Too many messages coming to a person too fast is just too hard to process. Humans can go crazy trying to attend to too many communications all at once. This past week, like a lot of us, I paid some attention to the “Pope’s Visit to America.” Of course, I don’t know the Pope but he seems like a nice person. Wherever he goes, there are lots of people, people who want to be with him, touch him, get a word from him. He could easily suffer from information overload. I have noticed that he does things from time to time that break through the crush of information. For example, he plunges into the crowd of onlookers and kisses a disabled boy on the forehead. To me, it seems like he is making an effort to connect with someone. He cannot connect with five hundred thousand who are surrounding him but he can connect with one. He has narrowed his focus. He cut through the information overload.

Again, Dr. Willard wants us to rid our minds of the idea that God is unapproachable, that He is too busy to attend to us, that He is exclusive like an earthy celebrity, that He is insular like an earthly celebrity, that He is snobbish like an earthly celebrity.

In Matthew, Jesus said let the children come to Him:

“Then some children were brought to Him so that He might lay His hands on them and pray; and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, ‘Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’ After laying His hands on them, He departed from there.”

2 Cor. 8:9. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.

From James 2

“My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom He promised those who love Him? But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of Him to whom you belong? If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.

The Bible is literally full of passages that highlight the value of the common person.

The question is, “Why would God not want to communicate to us ordinary folk.”

Given what is written in the Bible, Dr. Willard says “we should be surprised if He does not want to speak to us.”

To conclude, I will use a reference Dr. Willard uses [E. Stanley Jones]: “Does God guide? Strange if He didn’t.” Jones has a kind of paraphrase of Isiah and Exodus when he says “He that made the tongue and gave us power to communicate with one another, shall He not speak and communicate with us?”

Forget Donald Trump

Forget Michael Jordan

Forget Oprah Winfrey

Clear your mind of the earthly celebrity.

That is step 1 in understanding that God can speak to us humans.

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