Every so often a person in the limelight steps out to share his or her faith. Bob Dylan sang about being saved; Johnny Cash, Elvis, U2 and most recently Avril Lavigne have all shared songs with explicit and implicit Christian themes.
I remember being in college and a fellow student explaining the imagery in U2’s popular hit “Beautiful Day”:
See the bird with a leaf in her mouth
After the flood all the colors came out …
The student spoke with heightened enthusiasm. But I’ve got to be honest — the fact that he was so overly excited made me a little sad. To me, the lovely song contained only a tiny sprinkling of Christian sentiment. And yet my fellow student seemed to be grasping at straws, as if he was receiving some sort of validation for his own faith simply because a famous person was giving a passing nod to Noah’s Ark.
Sure, most of us have been bit by the celebrity bug — including me. I certainly have clicked on my share of “Mark Wahlberg shares his faith” blurbs because it’s exciting to see a famous person striving to live a Christian life. I always assume the actor or rock star is “going against the flow” as tinsel town has long been considered pagan territory. I’d imagine someone making a bold Christian statement in such a setting is met with serious opposition. I’d imagine Kanye West could tell us something about such serious opposition with the impending release of his album, film, and clothing line ‘Jesus is King’ — a project he keeps dropping hints about on social media, and then most notably shared at a recent surprise preview show in Detroit.
With songs entitled ‘Baptized’ and ‘Sunday’ and ‘Sweet Jesus,’ West’s project appears to be a clear statement about his beliefs, something the multiple Grammy-winner has been opening up about more and more over the past few years. What’s not to be admired? I’ll definitely be praying for him.
But you know whom I hope to focus on even more than any celebrity, especially in regard to her spiritual growth? My best friend Steph. Sure, she already knows Jesus, but since this journey is full of mountain tops and shadowy valleys, Steph deserves my devoted attention if I’m really going to call myself her friend.
I’m just saying it’s absurd to pay so much more attention to celebrities or to feeding my own entertainment needs rather than being meaningfully involved with the ones I love. Yet I do this all the time when I waste my time — when I give hours to Netflix, or mindlessly surfing the web, or even flipping through a stupid amount of fluffy magazines when I could be taking my best friend Steph to Jesus in prayer.
Speaking of Steph — she recently challenged me to pray a 54-day rosary novena with her for a mutual friend who is in a time of crisis. Now a few other women have joined in the effort. We’ve been shooting each other little notes of encouragement: “Don’t try to say it all at once! A decade in the shower; a decade in the car …” I can tell we’re all delighted with the camaraderie and the renewed commitment to Our Lord and his Mother. It’s certainly blowing the dust off my prayer life.
So who’s your Steph? I realize that in this hyper-individualistic day in age such friends are hard to find. But keep looking. In an effort to battle the loneliness I face as a homeschooling mom, I recently stepped way out of my comfort zone and signed up for a Bible study at my local parish. Sure most of the other participants are old enough to be my parents, but we’re having a blast, studying together, encouraging one another, praying together — living in the joyful communion that’s inherent to our Catholic Faith.
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