Monday, October 29, 2007

david beckham and a faith amid celebrity culture

These are notes to guide a recent radio spot, reflecting on what it means to be Christian in today’s celebrity culture.

Good morning listeners. According to the radio yesterday, David Beckham was a sell-out.

David Beckham is that English soccer guy, now living in Hollywood. And his soccer team, LA Galaxy are going to play an Aussie soccer team, Sydney FC and then a few days later, a Kiwi team, the Phoenix.

Tickets for the Aussie soccer game had gone on sale this week and tickets were sold out. Within a week. Sold out. 83,000 people, selling out $100 a ticket, to see David Beckham.

Now these are not football fans. Nor are these homesick Englishman, desperate for a win after losing the rugby World Cup.

Most of these 83,000 people are paying 100 bucks to see “brand Beckham.” Not a footballer. But a celebrity. Famous for his fashion sense and hair style, famous for his marriage to pop star Posh Spice.

A friend of mine, Scottish Baptist pastor, John Drane, has recently written a book titled Celebrity Culture. How do Christians live in our celebrity world? What is a radio viewpoint when Beckham sells out?

My friend, John Drane, argues that our celebrity culture is actually a fantastic window for Christians and the gospel. But only if we’ll step outside our narrow Christian boxes. Why?

Well firstly, because celebrities, like David Beckham, remind us that in our world today, truth is now relational and personal. We buy tickets to Telstra stadium not because thousands of people are interested in the game of soccer, but because of the life and times of a person, brand Beckham.

Which is surely what Jesus was meaning when the said “I am the way, the truth and the life.” That we find truth through the life and times of a personal relationship with God.

So Christianity needs to move away from abstract waffly ideas about God, and get back to the truth of meeting a person, up-close and personal, called Jesus. And that we as Christians need to get better and more confident about being up-close and personal, talking about our relationship with a person called Jesus.

And secondly, and related, we Christians need to get more honest. It’s time for us stop trying to be holier than thou, goody 2 shoes.

Which is why I love the Bible. I do’’t find holier than thou, goody 2 shoes when I read Peter or the prophets or David. I find real people, struggling with doubt and fear and tough decisions and in livingn in messy human relationships.

Which is fascinating when we consider that at the heart of our celebrity culture, people are just like that. We love it when our celebrities become human, real people just like us. So we’re in this culture that allows celebrities to be honest.

Which we need to do as Christians. Because it’s for honest people, struggling but still seeking Jesus, upclose and personal, as the way, the truth and the life. That’s my viewpoint.

Posted by steve at 10:10 AM


  1. Not commenting on the 2nd part but I’m not sure I agree with your intro

    The people I know going to see Beckham play are very definitely football fans and they are not the only ones. He IS an amazing footballer. They don’t like Man U, they are indifferent to Barcelona and the Galaxy. They couldn’t give a toss about Nike shirts or Kangaroo skin boots and plastic hair product. They just want to see Beckham curve one in from a free kick or provide a pinpoint cross from an outrageous position… just once with their own eyes… (or better yet be denied by a 3rd tier Kiwi player!)

    No dispute with the rest of your article – just standing up for my football loving mates… ;o)

    Bless you brother

    Comment by Randall — October 29, 2007 @ 10:20 am

  2. Randall, average Sydney FC crowd is about 10,000, yet 80,000 sell out at Telstra stadium. That’s 70,000 people more than normal. Hence my statement/hunch, that a good number are turning up for other than football reasons.


    Comment by steve — November 2, 2007 @ 8:06 pm

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