It seems that it has become somewhat of a trend for celebrities to share their faith. In general, this is good news and is worth sharing (evidently without falling into some kind of celebrity idolization!). Still, it can also serve as an occasion to reflect on our own faith as well as how we minister to others.
So, what is a Catholic to do with all these situations? Many celebrities are sharing Bible verses, quoting priests, and singing Christian music while at the same time still leading a typical Hollywood lifestyle void of Christian values such as modesty and purity. There are some, like Steph Curry, that appear to make faith more than just a Tweet or FB status. You can find a list of Catholic celebrities here.
Let’s take a look at three of the most recent examples:
Lady Gaga recently posted on Facebook a picture of her with her favorite priest and then quoted his words about the Eucharist:
“Thank you Father Duffell for a beautiful homily as always and lunch at my pop’s restaurant. I was so moved today when you said.. ‘The Eucharist is not a prize for the perfect but the food that God gives us.’ – Father Duffell, Blessed Sacrament Church
Former Miss America, Rima Fakih, known to be the first Muslim to have the title, recently converted to Christianity and has not hesitated to share it with her Twitter followers.
Steph Curry is a Christian (seriously) and has more than once shared about his faith.
After leading his team to the most winningest season in NBA history, ESPN is reporting that Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry will be named this NBA season’s MVP (his second time receiving the honor). The video below offers a great testimony.
“People should know who I represent and why I am who I am,” Curry said in his previous MVP acceptance speech, “and that’s because of my Lord and Savior.” He also added: “I can’t say it enough how important my faith is to how I play the game and who I am. I’m just blessed, I’m thankful for where I am.”
5 Things to Remember About Christian Celebrities
1. They aren’t God just because they are famous.
They’re human, just like us. We can’t fall into the trap of idolizing these celebs or taking their words, views, and actions as truth (remember that they are people too and probably do not even want to be held to such standards!). As with anyone, we must examine carefully their words in order to see if what they are saying aligns with God’s truth and Church teaching.
2. They’re human like us. They’re not perfect.
Sometimes we hold these celebrities to a higher standard than we do ourselves. Yes, it’s true that the celebrities mentioned above don’t always live out Christian values in their actions at all. Even in cases such as Lady Gaga, a woman who has unfortunately done a variety of obscene things, let’s see how we can take advantage of this opportunity to make it clear that anyone can turn back to the faith and that even amongst such a lifestyle the desire of God continues to be present. Making hate-filled comments about them over social media is not going to convict them of their wrongdoing and it definitely won’t attract others to Christianity. What’s more, it is not at all what Christ did in similar situations. Instead, let’s take advantage of this opportunity to support any and every effort to draw closer to God! Though we can make a statement about lifestyles that do not follow the Gospels and correct false teaching, we can’t pretend to know where anyone is at in their relationship with God. Only God can judge that, and each and every one of us will have an opportunity to receive His mercy until we die.
3. They have the power to influence… good and bad.
Celebrities have a lot of influence. They are models for many, especially the youth. This can be good or bad depending on how they exercise that responsibility. I think it is a healthy thing to remind them of this responsibility and to encourage them to set the high standards for society. When they do so, they are to be applauded!
Take a look at a few of the comments made on Lady Gaga’s Facebook post. Right or wrong, she definitely got people talking about the Eucharist and for this we should be thankful! The first comment below is particularly touching.
4.) We can use their words to start conversations and connect with others.
We can utilize the power of a celebrity’s influence in our own evangelization efforts. It’s a lot more natural to start a conversation with, “Did you see what Lady Gaga posted about the Eucharist? What do you think of that?” than “Do you believe in Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist?” Again, these are a great example of how anyone can turn back to the faith. We all have struggles, yet we can always come back to God! Pop culture is a common ground that we can use to initiate good conversations with friends, family, and co-workers. Ask questions that will get them thinking about their own beliefs.
5.) We need to pray for them.
I know it might sound funny, but I’ve always had the heart to pray for celebrities. Mostly because I realize that they have a lot more power to influence the lives of others than most people do. They are in the public eye, which makes being a Christian even more difficult. (Not sure I would care to have my sins broadcasted on every gossip show and the headline of every tabloid!) Pray for your favorite celebrity to grow stronger in their faith and come to a deeper understanding of what a life lived for Jesus looks like. And remember, we are indeed all sinners! If you ever get a chance to meet them face to face, ask them to pray for you too!
Questions for Discussion:
- What do you think the priest that Lady Gaga quoted meant in his statement? What do you think prompted her to share it? What truths can you find in it?
- If you were a celebrity, do you think the public would be critical of your claims to be a Christian? Does your lifestyle align with what you preach?
- Why do you think Christians tend to get so excited when celebrities speak out about the faith? Do you think we view celebrities as idols?
(Featured image taken from Lady Gaga’s FB page.)
A few hours after the publication of this post, Lady Gaga shared a moving response on her Instagram account. Here is our response: