The team effort— the perfectly synchronized flow of muscle, oars, boat, and water; the single, whole, unified, and beautiful symphony that a crew in motion becomes— is all that matters. Not the individual, not the self. Brown, Daniel James. The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics (p. 179). Penguin Publishing Group.
A theme runs throughout this great book–While each athlete, each member of the team, is exceptional and gifted, before anything else, they are a team. ” Great crews may have men or women of exceptional talent or strength; they may have outstanding coxswains or stroke oars or bowmen; but they have no stars (p. 178f.). This smacks in the face of American celebrity Christianity. Stardom is intoxicating and dangerous. Something happens to people, to movie stars, to athletes, to politicians, to pastors, to Christian leaders, when one’s name and face is plastered all over magazines, signs, billboards, advertisements, books, and social media. We start to believe what others say about us. We buy into the image of us that is being fabricated. We get too big for our britches. In the process, the danger is that we might become aloof, isolated, egotistical, demanding, arrogant, unkind, immature.
In the church there are no stars: Ephesians 4: 1ff.:
As a prisoner of the Lord, I beg you to live in a way that is worthy of the people God has chosen to be his own. 2 Always be humble and gentle. Patiently put up with each other and love each other. 3 Try your best to let God’s Spirit keep your hearts united. Do this by living at peace. 4 All of you are part of the same body. There is only one Spirit of God, just as you were given one hope when you were chosen to be God’s people. 5 We have only one Lord, one faith, and one baptism. 6 There is one God who is the Father of all people. Not only is God above all others, but he works by using all of us, and he lives in all of us. 7 Christ has generously divided out his gifts to us.
One…one…one…Its about unity not star-power.
- We avoid stardom when we seek to live out a life of humility: have this mind in you that was also in Christ Jesus (Philippians 2).
- We avoid stardom when we give people-family and close friends–permission to speak into our lives, say the hard things, and we listen and learn, and change
- We avoid stardom when gentleness becomes a word that describes us. Allowing us to let go of our ego driven achievement orientation. There is scarcely any other virtue which the demons fear as much as gentleness. Nikodimos, St. The Philokalia (Kindle Location 1138).
We are called to be disciples of Jesus, not stars.