As reported by Brittany Slaughter at DHJ| It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the leader of Hillsong, New York has come out swinging against racism. It’s almost like if you don’t make some public statement screaming about racism and accusing anyone and everyone of it you aren’t relevant. Maybe these celebrities think that they’ll lose credibility. Maybe they’re afraid of losing their fans. But do they really care as much about these issues as much as they appear to?
What makes a leader stand out is not how they blend in and cave to the world, but how they stand out for good, even if it isn’t popular. What’s scary is the number of “Christian celebrities” that are so quick to make statements, jump on the bandwagon, and cast blame. They think that they’re showing love and making a difference for Christ but they aren’t. All that they’re doing is looking exactly like all of the other extremists out there.
Carl Lentz, the pastor of Hillsong, New York, was a guest on the podcast, “Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man,” earlier this month. During the podcast, when asked how the church is dealing with racism, he said, “I think, in fact, the church might be one of the biggest propagators of racist ideology in our country.” He went on to say how at his church they “value all people.”
That’s great. But the problem comes when you devalue people by accusing them of being racists for doing nothing wrong. It sends an offensive message to innocent people that aren’t racist, love everyone, and are just doing what they can to make the world a better place.
Lentz and the host of the podcast talked about white privilege and power. If by white privilege you mean people working hard for what they have then sure. What about people like Oprah and Michelle Obama? I’m not a fan of either woman, at all. But they’re both uber-successful and famous. They don’t get called out for having black privilege. This is because they didn’t get to places of prestige and power because of privilege but because they worked for it.
So did most of the other white Americans in the world. Sure, there are the few that are spoon-fed. But guess what, there are spoon-fed African Americans too. It’s because we live in America, the land of equal opportunity.
Carl Lentz is a dangerous example of the problem with the idea of “Christian Celebrities.” Believers that become famous can talk about wanting to use their influence for Christ all they want, but it means nothing if they use their influence to please the world instead of God.
All in the name of showing love like Jesus.
“Christian Celebrities” run the risk of becoming narcissistic as people look to them for the answers instead of God. Instead of turning to the Bible when they have questions about the world or their faith, they look to people. Sinful, imperfect people.
Lentz is a prime example of this. What is unifying about telling the church they’re spreading racism? From what I’ve seen, the church is doing what it can to promote unity, love, and kindness. We don’t need these narcissistic celebrities trying to tear us apart.
We need to look towards Jesus and take a step back from blaming one another for racism.