Christians sure do like winners. We like it when we find out that a successful business person is a Christian. We will buy his books, listen to her podcasts, invite him or her to speak at our conferences, and buy the videos.
We like it when champion athletes are Christians. We like it when they give praise to God for their talents and the victory. We will invite them to our retreats and conferences. We will cheer for them even if they are not on our favorite team. We like winners.
Not only do we like ‘famous Christians’ but we like our winners in our own churches. We like successful business men and women to serve on our boards and councils. We like their business savvy. We like that they give our church a good name by their involvement in the community and with us. We idolize these people.
As much as we love our winners, we hate being betrayed by them all the more. If our business person is caught embezzling or our champion athlete is caught having an affair, we turn from adoring to angry in a flash. That is until an appropriate amount of time has passed and we can invite them back into the fold with their “Regrets and Reconciliation” Tour.
Maybe ‘idolize’ is too strong of a word when it comes to our winners. But what do you think we should call our adoration and admiration for them? Why are we so drawn to their books, seminars, and podcasts? Maybe our (mis)understanding of faith demands these things to prove it is real.
All I know is that we seem preoccupied with strength, dominance, power, and influence in our politics, economics, and social structures. Winning shows the world how powerful our God truly is. When we win we prove that our faith is not a faith of weaklings and cowards. Who wants a representative that looks and acts like a weak and defenseless lamb? We want a roaring lion with power and majesty to represent us.
If Jesus were around today, he would not be on the current speaking circuit. His ministry was a train wreck. He wasn’t all that good looking, no matter what you have seen in the movies. He was weak and people pushed him around. His followers we recognized as ordinary and unschooled. This is not the stuff of ministry legend. In a book about how to have a successful ministry, his would be the one described as what not to do. In other words, if Jesus were into fashion, he would be a Glamour Don’t.
That’s probably why the Gospel has such a hard time getting traction with us. It asks us to go in the opposite direction of success and recognition. These are the very things we crave. This causes us to go to great lengths to maintain our status and make it all sound spiritual. We have made the Gospel about being strong and wise when it is about being weak and foolish. We have made it about being noble and admired when it is about being lowly and despised. We have even managed to wrestle strength out of weakness and dominance out of submission.
Maybe we need to reconsider how we define winners and losers and in the process remember what it means to have God’s strength made perfect in our weakness.
What do you think? Are we attracted to power and authority? Does our preoccupation with success and strength hurt our proclamation of the Good News? What do the Scriptures have to say about the subject?