“We are in a dangerous place when the church is looking to 20-year-old
worship singers as our source of truth,” he wrote.
“We now have a church culture that learns who God is from singing modern
praise songs rather than from the teachings of the Word.”
John Cooper, lead singer for the band Skillet
I’ve been hearing a lot about a single word as of late.
The word is “influencer”
Now granted, I get it, I understand it…as in I know what the word means and all…
however, I’ll offer it as defined through the lenses of the 21st century…
What is an influencer?
An influencer is an individual who has the power to affect purchase decisions of others
because of his/her authority, knowledge, position or relationship with his/her audience.
An individual who has a following in a particular niche, which they actively engage with.
The size of the following depends on the size of the niche.
It is important to note that these individuals are not simply marketing tools,
but rather social relationship assets with which brands can collaborate to achieve their
Think social media and those who are constantly in some sort of limelight on
FB, blogging, tweeting or news thread.
They tend to be constantly on the web’s airwaves.
Their names, be it in or even out of their circles, are well known.
They’re usually young, trendy, progressive and the majority worship at the altar of the
latest culture gods.
They are liked and followed by the multitudes.
Matters not too much what they’re worshiping…they are liked and followed none the less.
They want to wield power with both their words and their ways…
all because of their choices and their likes and dislikes.
Their whims and fickleness actually have sway with the whims and fickleness of others.
And we must note that this influencer business has been in the news feeds a lot this
past week as there have been some “Christian Influencers” who have very publicly
recanted their faith.
I don’t know about you but when I feel lost and dismayed, I certainly don’t want to
Attention, especially public attention, is the last thing I want.
I actually want to be alone.
I don’t want to publicly shout my dismay or sense of shame over a life I only
thought I was living.
I would instead tend to fall into a deep abyss of introspection and perhaps even a bit
Yet isn’t that how we are when we feel angry and disappointed by someone we feel
has deeply let us down?
We want to fuss and cuss the cutting sense of betrayal.
And we usually do so very loudly and very vocally…
We’ve been wronged by gosh and we want the world to know it!
And so I’d like to ask…is that what all of this current trend has been about??
This very public angst offered up by a bunch of young Christian ‘influencers’ who are
feeling wronged and let down by…God Himself?
And for what?
I have written about this before but I think the story is more than worth repeating
right about now…
I think we all know of Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
that tiny little white and blue-clad nun who spent her life tending to the
needy and destitute of Calcutta?
Well—-long before she was known as Mother Teresa…
a young Albanian nun who was a member of the Sisters of Loreto out of Ireland
had gone to India as a teacher. It was in 1946 that Mother Teresa experienced what she
would later refer to as a “call within a call”
She was riding on a train heading off to a retreat when she plainly heard, what she
would eventually write, was the voice of Jesus.
He said to her, “I thirst”
Mother Teresa would go on to say that what she had heard was her call within a call…
her ministry was to change, leading to the formation of the Missionaries of Charity.
An order dedicated to caring for the least of the least.
Mother Teresa would toil from 1948 until her death in 1997, carrying out this
call within a call.
She would spend a lifetime fulfilling the need that Jesus had laid upon her heart.
However, it was eventually made public, years following her death,
that Mother Teresa had confided to her confessor that after that initial moment on the train…
she never heard the voice of Jesus again.
She would lament to a deep darkness and palpable sense of separation.
This, as St John of the Cross, would so famously record, was the Dark Night Of The Soul.
A seemingly and almost physical disconnect from God.
A life within a dark empty abyss.
Anguish filled her soul yet no one ever knew of her pain.
It mattered not that she felt a separation of faith, she had been told what to do and
she, in turn, spent the remainder of her life doing it—
despite the personal pain and suffering.
Doubt mattered not, the poor and ailing needed her.
Day after day, she’d spend hours in prayer—yet there was never again that
Never was there that internal sense of oneness with God.
And yet Mother Teresa persisted.
There was no public display of angst or resentment.
There was no recanting of her faith due to a silence from God.
She had been told what to do and she remained faithful to her word despite her own sense
of personal loss.
That’s the thing about faith.
It is not based on feeling.
It is not based on recognition or of the feel good.
It can be very difficult and it can be very lonely.
Yet it is full of perseverance and consistency.
I recently read an article about an interview with Franklin Graham, the son of
the Reverend Billy Graham, regarding this recent spate of young Christian “influencers”
recanting their faith.
Graham said he is especially disturbed by Christians who publicly renounce their faith in Christ,
citing a warning from the Book of Revelation.
“(God) warns churches that turn their back on him and these young men who have renounced
their faith have made it so public,” he said.
“Why did they make it so public?
I think they just want publicity.
Otherwise, why didn’t they just leave their faith and just be quiet about it?”
He wondered if the reason why was so that other Christians might join them
and fall away from the teachings of the Bible.
“Shame on them,” Graham said.
“You’ll stand before God one day and give an account to Him.”
We must put our faith in Jesus Christ, not a celebrity influencer.
And when we find ourselves facing difficulties in life,
we must turn to the Bible instead of self-help books.
Here is to the consistency of Faith…
“Reading the holy Scriptures confers two benefits.
It trains the mind to understand them;
it turns man’s attention from the follies of the world and leads him to the love of God.
Two kinds of study are called for here.
We must first learn how the Scriptures are to be understood,
and then see how to expound them with profit and in a manner worthy of them . . .
No one can understand holy Scripture without constant reading . . .
The more you devote yourself to the study of the sacred utterances,
the richer will be your understanding of them, just as the more the soil is tilled,
the richer the harvest.”
St. Isidore of Seville, p. 201
An Excerpt From
Witness of the Saints