One of my favorite songs of the past couple of years is Brad Paisley’s “Celebrity,” a mockingly humorous jab at the talentless-yet-notable crowd that makes up 90% of our entertainment culture. The chorus says:
Cause when you’re a celebrity
It’s adios reality
Sadly enough, this notion is especially true when it comes to celebrities and Christianity. Two recent celebrity expressions of Christianity—one by Jane Fonda, the other by Moby (who, in case you’re wondering, has nothing to do with the great white whale)—reveal such a detachment from reality.
The ever controversial Jane Fonda, who in a recent interview to publicize her new book, broaches the subject of spiritual journey. Fonda claims to have become a Christian a couple of years ago, but was soon driven away by fundamentalists:
And then I began to go to Bible study class, and it didn’t take long for me to think, “Uh oh, I’ve made a terrible mistake, this is not for me.” I started going to churches and I fled. I just fled.
Q: Because the teachings led you to believe it was a patriarchal system?
A: Yeah, yeah. What I was feeling on my own was not a “Lord above.” It was not — well, it certainly had nothing to do with woman being the downfall of man. You know —
Q: You couldn’t relate to the “old man in the sky” idea.
A: It wasn’t a man in the sky! It was, it was: Come on! When we talk about — depending on how you talk about it — God, the Almighty, Sophia, a greater power, whatever — can’t you understand that this is beyond gender? This is beyond anything that we can imagine. I mean, we can’t even describe it. I understand why people latch on to gender things, but this is not a man. But because people have taken it so literally, it becomes gender and hence, hierarchal. And it just made my teeth grate. The more I studied, in the very kind of linear, fundamentalist way, the more I felt reverence leaking away from me.
Not to worry, though reading counterfeit gospels, Fonda has found her way back. The champion of The Vagina Monologues has now come to link Christianity with feminism:
I think feminism is about the spirit. I think feminism is another way of teaching what Jesus taught, that we are all full human beings with the right to have our humanity seen and respected. That is what feminism is, and that’s what Jesus taught.
Not to be outdone by Jane Fonda, pop musician Moby has also developed his own brand of divergent Christianity. The cover of the current Relevant magazine features Moby as the headliner, saying “Moby: Why He Loves Jesus But Not The Church.” The article is not online, but Thunderstruck.org has a few excerpts:
As a Christian, I feel very shut out from a lot of contemporary Christianity. My understanding in what it means to be a Christian is to, in our own subjective way, recognize Christ as being God, and recognize our shortcomings and our failings, and try and live according to the teachings of Christ as best we can. And what I find so strange is I look at the behavior of so many Christians, and I don’t see any aspect of the teachings of Christ represented there.
Moby freely admits that his own actions don’t always square with the teachings of Christ. Bobby Maddex points to a recent interview in Planet Out where this fact becomes quite evident:
As a matter of fact, I was talking with my friend Laura, who sings on my record, and we’re both getting to the point where we want to start families. We’re convinced that if we have children, we’re going to do everything in our power to make them gay. Like maybe drinking a lot of extra soy milk while she’s pregnant, or anything that would work to make that happen. I’d just rather have a really sharp, interesting, smart gay son than some big dumb hetero meathead.
Call me Ishmael, but Moby’s belief/action system seems far removed from biblical Christianity. In fact both Jane Fonda and Moby appear to have each created their own religion. In Fonda’s case, she molds Christianity to reflect her feminist beliefs. Moby simply adapts Christianity to his own warped celebrity worldview.
While both Fonda and Moby seek to disassociate themselves from the church, they still want to associate themselves with the head of the church, Jesus Christ. In doing this, they remove themselves from any authority that is outside of themselves. They make Jesus into what they want him to be, which in the case of Jane Fonda and Moby appears to be little more than a name dropped to achieve some sense of social credibility. Jesus still carries a bit more credibility in our culture than Krishna.
A year ago I wrote about the dangers of churchless Christianity. Fonda and Moby are exemplars extraordinaire. God did not create us to go it alone.