I have been thinking a bit about Tiger Woods recently...
The dynamics at work in public and private life are worth considering. Celebrities like Tiger have no qualms about using the media to magnify their lives on the global stage, increasing their fame and fortune as they do so. But the necessary consequence of this is that one day that same media might deflate their lives on the global stage as well. Deal with it! If you want them to puff up your balloon in the public world, be prepared to have them pop it as well. That is the life you have chosen. You can't use the media for a decade or two and then suddenly turn around and say, "OK - I want my privacy from now on - turn around and go home." Compassion is in short supply in our world and it needs to be spent where it is needed most - and so when a celebrity falls into a deep dark hole out of their own foolishness, I train my mind to control the flow of compassion.
There is, of course, another pathway celebrities can choose. Adding an ordered private life of integrity to their dizzying public life. That 'what you see is what you get' quality. That 'go on, media, shine your light anywhere you like in my life and you won't find much about which to write which will interest people.' However such is the corrosive nature of their level of access to money, sex and power that we seldom see this alignment of public and private worlds. It is a bit tragic because celebrities with a global reach coupled to a private order could do a lot of good in the sort of world we live in. (I guess there are a few of them around)
I have been thinking a bit about Brian Tamaki recently...
Before you start quoting me out of context (!), let me say I am not in the crowd who throw the "cult" word at Tamaki. I was embarassed when that conversation was had on national TV. The language was too strong and too aggressive and Tamaki handled himself with gracious restraint. I respect Tamaki for what he is achieving for the sake of Christ in a part of NZ society where the church has failed. I think I understand what is behind the '700 men making their promises' and I am going to give Tamaki the benefit of the doubt and refrain from being critical.
But I still have deep concerns which evoke deep prayers for him and his ministry. What I struggle to understand are the massive billboards with "a super city needs a super church" on them, together with Tamaki's photo. What is the thinking behind this strategy? Why are these billboards needed? Gee - I hope Destiny's brains trust knows what they are doing with these. They make me squirm with discomfort. Biblically, they seem wrong-headed. Strategically, they seem ill-advised. I would have thought that the people of God living distinctive lives as they immerse themselves in that part of the world where God has called them is sufficient marketing. It is so viral.
To me this billboard approach starts to feel like the celebrity approach. To me there is here an overheated desire to be noticed and known. This invites unwelcome and unnecessary pressures that become difficult to withstand. The media glare will switch on. The search for inconsistency between public and private worlds will intensify. I hope and pray that they maintain the personal integrity and nurture the spiritual resources to withstand the heat so that the name of Christ will not be embarassed at some later date.