I’m No Superman

Whenever I go out I see people that I know. I also see people that I don’t know but know me.

Let’s just keep this between me and you, but sometimes I don’t have a fat clue who I’m talking to. I assume they went to one of the churches that I worked at.

I love seeing people. Well…except for those few who I don’t have a fat clue about that then call me on it by asking if I remember them. Don’t ask me that! Thankfully I remember faces. Unfortunately names are harder for me to remember.

Many times I am eating out with a friend and after I’ve said hello to a bunch of people they will say, “Man, you are famous.”

Um.

No!

I am not famous and do not want to be nor strive to be famous. Ever.

I want to be known.

You see fame is about celebrity. And celebrity is an unhealthy and unrealistic expectation to put on anyone. It’s impossible to not let people down when they’ve built you up as a celebrity. In fact so many of the stories that I’ve heard of people leaving churches has come down to the pastor being a celebrity.

Even at a small church I have to guard against it.

When the pastor is a celebrity everyone wants to get to know him. That means that people are afraid for the church to grow because then they won’t get as much time with the pastor.

When the pastor is a celebrity it means that people can remove the human elements from them. People treat the pastor as if he is Superman. It feels good when they are happy but when the pastor lets them down it stinks. People can unload on the pastor because he’s not human. He’s a celebrity.

When the pastor is a celebrity the church is built around his personality.

I’m not a celebrity.

Celebrity magazines love to show famous people with their makeup off. I don’t wear makeup but the proverbial makeup is coming off.

  • I’m a normal human. If there was anything superhuman about me it might be my farts. I feel like I fart a lot.
  • Five minutes ago I sneezed a snot rocket into my arm. I was just trying to cover my mouth while cooking breakfast and all the sudden AAAACHEWWW! Next thing I know I felt like Dr. Peter Venkman from Ghostbusters. 
  • I have a hairy back.
  • I have large man nips. See the dictionary page on this blog if you are not familiar with nips.
  • I get grumpy. Really grumpy. In fact I’ve been grumpy for 24 hours. I think it’s because I’m tired. I have been extra crazy busy. None the less I thought to myself that I’m glad I’m not my kids. When my kids get grumpy I attack them with a tickle monster until they are un-grumpy. I hate to be tickled and would probably start throwing punches like a feroucious chinchilla.
porcupine

Not a chinchilla. This porcupine will have to do.

  • Now I am kind of a like a celebrity in that my wife has said on multiple occasions that she’s nervous if she dies I won’t know how to pay the bills. I assure her that I will find someone to take care of that for me.
  • For three years my biggest prayer was that God would not let me go bald. I ended up shaving my head because my bald spot resembled the Thunderdome. 
  • I have smokers teeth and have never smoked a cigarette in my life. No one notices until I take pictures with my wife. I take a lot of pictures with my wife.
  • My posture is the equivalent of Quasimodo. 
  • The other day I pulled out a dustball of prehistoric condition from my belly button. Monica wanted to Tweet it. I wouldn’t let her. I told her that I do that once a day. I’m not sure where it comes from but HUGE dustballs collect in my belly button.
  • After I clean said belly button lint I smell my finger. It always smells gag nasty. I think I smell it with the hope that one day it won’t smell like death.

I could go on but I’m afraid I’ll scare off the remaining 2 readers that kept going through that bulleted list.

What’s my point with all this? I’m human. I’m not a celebrity. I’m no different than you.

By the grace of God I’ve consistently walked with Him for years. But my prayers have no more power than yours. I have no more special insight with God then you do.

I don’t want to be a celebrity. I want to make Jesus famous. I don’t want to be a celebrity. I want to be known.

I want people to know me so they can show me grace when I screw up. I want people to know me so that they can help me when I’m weak and allow me to help them when they are weak. I want people to know me. Not a celebrity version of me. The real me.

I don’t know if you know me or not. What I do know is that if you go to church there is a great chance that people are trying to make your pastor a celebrity. He’s human. Even if he’s an awesome human he’s still human.

Respect the pastor. Honor the pastor. Don’t make him famous. It doesn’t work out well for him or for you.

Why do you think our culture is so obsessed with celebrities? How do we not make someone we look up to a celebrity? 

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Rob Shepherd

I am the full-time husband of a wonderful woman! I love being married! We are proud parents to twins, Hayden and Reese. In my spare time I am the pastor of Next Level Church. I have a relationship with God and it is an adventure. Oh and I wrote a book. It's called Even If You Were Perfect Someone Would Crucify You.

16 Comments

  1. March 18, 2014

    I don’t get it. We think because someone appears in movies or TV, or can sing, that their opinion on this or that is more important than someone else’s. If makes no sense to me.

    Reply
    • March 18, 2014

      Larry, that’s why I love that James points out that Elijah was a man just like us. That Elijah guy did some amazing miracles. But he was a human being used by God.

      Reply
  2. March 18, 2014

    Only here at robshep! I know I have said that before, but this piece is so you.

    Reply
    • March 18, 2014

      Daniel, I hope that’s a good thing. From what I can tell from the other comments that might a gross thing.

      Reply
  3. Lisa King
    March 18, 2014

    After reading this, Rob…I might have to go wash my hands if I shake yours! LOL! You are right, we are all human. The only Superman is Jesus! And he doesn’t even need a cape. The last couple of days I have been thinking about, Grace. We are blessed with Grace from God to forgive us for all our failings and human characteristics. We need to exhibit that to others. I read an article today about a local 16 year-old high school student that was arrested for being “tipsy” in class. Wow…how about just getting him/her help. We want to judge and punish people right away without giving them the Grace that God gives us everyday. Not that our actions shouldn’t have consequences, but we should show more Grace and Understanding. We would want the same.

    Reply
    • March 18, 2014

      Lisa, I do wash my hands often. I’m kind of a germaphobe. I completely agree with you and grace. We need truth and discipline but it shouldn’t overshadow grace.

      Reply
  4. shepherdmim
    March 18, 2014

    Interesting consideration:
    Certain positions carry with them an element of “celebrity”. Public speaking poses a fear close to death for many people. Consequently, pastors, professional educators, actors who speak in public forums are often treated as a celebrity, and are looked up to partly because they have influence with large public groups of people. It’s like the first grader who is so excited to see his teacher in the grocery store. She is out of her traditional paradigm and the student has seen her; that makes the student famous and gives him something to talk about. Not much different than the fan catching a glimpse of an actor or wanting an autograph. We feel like we know the celebrity, but are relatively unknown ourselves. However, if we can personally encounter the celebrity, we can share some of the celebrity status. We have some talking points and can boast of our encounter with someone who is known and more influential than we are. I think the bottom line is we each have a great need to be recognized and known-

    Reply
    • March 18, 2014

      Mim, I love celebrities and I love meeting them. I just don’t ever want to turn them into idols. I understand that they are humans with flaws. Just like me. Great thoughts as always!

      Reply
  5. Lauren Cory
    March 18, 2014

    This blog post definitely made me think about all the stuff going on with Pastor Mark Driscoll right now and the stuff posted in the news this week. I don’t follow or really know much about Mark Driscoll other than listening to one or two of his sermons. But, he mentioned the idea of being a “celebrity pastor” in his recently public apology letter. Did you read that or hear about that?

    http://www.reddit.com/r/religion/comments/20gg40/mark_driscoll_addresses_mars_hill_church/

    Reply
    • March 18, 2014

      Lauren, I did read that. He’s one of the many things that inspired this post. Thanks for sharing that link.

      Reply
  6. jebatthebeach
    March 18, 2014

    First >>>>>>>> TMI !!!!!!!!

    I’ve met several celebrities … They are regular people!!

    Reply
    • March 18, 2014

      Joan, I warned you I was taking the proverbial make up off.

      Reply
  7. kelly miller
    March 18, 2014

    I see everyone as equals. You made me think of the superman song, “I’m just a man, in a funny red cape”

    Reply
  8. Stacy
    March 18, 2014

    Great blog and I am still laughing from the “snot rocket” bullet. I have always wondered what to call those and now I know. Thanks!

    Reply
  9. Michele
    March 19, 2014

    Hmm. I gross out easily. So I’ll check the “yes” box on that for this post. But your point about celebrity is spot-on. And not wanting to turn them into idols is a challenge. I like what LarryTheDeuce said about how many in the public take celebrities’ opinions more seriously than those of regular folks. What is their special training to be in a position of knowing more than anyone else? I think we like celebrities because their lives appear to be simulacra when compared to ours. But in reality, they have the same worries and insecurities that we do, just perhaps on a different scale. I used to think it would be neat to be famous–a celebrity. But the more I see, the less I like. So strike that. I’ll go with your concept of being known.

    Reply

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