When You Love Them, but You Just Can’t Listen to Them
I really want to watch the awards shows — the Oscars, the Golden Globes, the Grammys and even (secretly) the Country Music Awards. I really do believe it’s a great way to catch up with what’s happening in our culture, familiarize myself with who’s making an impact in our children’s lives and also keep an eye on who is shaping or expressing our American values. Yet every time I start watching one of these shows I regret it. I don’t regret it because I loathe celebrities. In fact, it’s the opposite — I respect them for their stunning creativity and love them as a “made-in-God’s-image” human being. I actually pray for them daily. In no way do I hold their moral standards against them or believe that I’m any better or more loved by God than them.
The main reason I regret watching these shows is because we’re forced to sit through the acceptance speeches of our talented and often opinionated award-winning celebrities.
To be exact, I love these people because they are created in the image of God, but there are at least three reasons why I find their speeches impossible to listen to:
1.They talk with an arrogant confidence that exceeds their level of expertise.
Celebrities may have achieved fame and prestige, but there’s a phrase that I have come to believe we need to say more and more often in every circumstance — despite social status. It’s a phrase that represents a level of heartfelt humility and helps acknowledge our limited understanding of topics we haven’t properly studied or mastered. This phrase is simple: “I don’t know enough to reach a conclusion about that.”
It seems to me that the best phrase our beloved celebrities could use to express their thoughts on environmental science, vaccines, abortion, fossil fuels, Wall Street, banking, etc., is “I don’t know…” I cannot imagine they have mastered every angle of every topic in a way that qualifies them to speak as experts on these matters. Having a strong opinion doesn’t make us a voice of strong authority.
2. They express a moral condescension that can feel judgmental.
I know I don’t agree with celebrities’ political and moral positions most of the time, but I’m not an idiot. The positions that I hold on these topics are important to me and haven’t been randomly or ignorantly crafted. Instead, they are driven by values that I hold deeply and for reasons that are significant to me and our culture. When expressing their opinions, celebrities often lecture us about being intolerant bigots — using a tone that is overtly and stereotypically intolerant. This is not only inconsistent, it’s deeply disrespectful to who I am and how I perceive the world. My opinion counts too, doesn’t it ?
3. They regularly misrepresent opposing arguments to their own positions.
I certainly don’t mind if award-winning celebrities disagree with me, but they often ridicule and mock my arguments using arguments I wouldn’t actually make. Moreover, they challenge my positions without taking any time to understand the positions they’re criticizing. Almost every time they mock a position that I hold, I find myself yelling at the TV screen, “That’s not even what I believe!” Sometimes, their version of my argument is so ridiculous I even say “… who believes that? Nobody even believes that!”
Celebrities are a high-profile example, but I’ve noticed that these are the same three reasons why I find it difficult to listen to some public preachers or “preachy” social media Christians. The awards shows teach us something crucial about expressing our opinions. If you are serious about representing Jesus well in your Christian faith, avoid all three of these ugly traps when “sharing” publicly — especially with people who don’t necessarily agree with you. Never let your friends, family or coworkers ever say about you: “I love them, but I just can’t listen to them.”
Authored by NCC Lead Pastor Dan Williams | northcentral.org