Celebrity Christian author Philip Yancey was talking earlier today about the way that we shouldn’t want to be celebrities because the celebrities he knows (other than himself) have become who they are because of a desperate need for affirmation from other people on account of a void that they feel on the inside. I’m not sure that completely describes me; I’ve begged God over and over to crucify that part of me. And what I keep seeming to discern is that I have a legitimate tenacious hunger to speak a truth that I’ve been given to share with a wide audience. It seems that I have a genuine prophetic vocation. So I feel like I’m supposed to try to network with the big dogs, the orange wristband people who are actually legit, as part of how I pursue my vocation. And it ain’t working so well.
It’s hard to untangle my personal junk enough to ask the right analytical questions about what’s going on here. But what would a national progressive Christian gathering look like that was intentionally anti-celebrity? What if we got our books signed by the yellow wristband strangers sitting next us whom we actually got to know instead of the celebrity authors for whom we try to come up with some intelligent comment in that ten-second window when they ask who they should write it out to? What if the “conversations” that we’re supposedly having at these gatherings weren’t panel discussions between orange wristband people but actual conversations in which yellow wristband people interacted in small groups? What if marginalized people themselves really were in the vanguard at these types of gatherings instead of just the “experts” who study them? I almost want to take back everything I wrote in my last post defending the emergentsia for its whiteness.