Hobbits and Third-Culture Kids: Befriending the Strangers Among Us

I love J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. From the first time I picked up the well-worn paperback volumes of Tolkien’s works from the shelves of our family’s library, I have felt a strange kinship with the places and characters of Middle-earth. Undoubtedly, I am drawn to this world and story because it is, as Tolkien himself admitted, “a fundamentally religious . . . work” that reflects the True Story of our own earth (The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, 172). Rather than serving as a momentary, illusory escape, it illuminates from real life, reminding me of what is true and urging me to fight for all that is good and noble and right.

Just as powerful (and in some ways even more so) is that in the pages of this epic adventure, I also see my own story. As a younger reader I was, like most preteen boys, drawn first to those characters who exhibited the greatest feats: Aragorn, in particular, was a favorite, along with the wizard Gandalf. As the years have passed and I have returned again and again to this story, however, I have been drawn ever closer to the Hobbits.

I am not drawn to the Hobbits because I have faced dragons, scaled the heights of Mount Doom, or borne the fate of the earth on my shoulders. Those tasks have already been accomplished by Another who long ago bore a great weight up a hill to defeat a dragon. The particular affinity I have felt with the Bagginses comes from their peculiarity — a peculiarity I share as someone who has been “there and back again,” or what some have called a “Third-Culture Kid.”

Strange Hobbits

Both Bilbo and Frodo, during their adventures with the big folk of the world, undergo a change that sets them apart from the other Hobbits of the Shire. For Bilbo, the change brought no burden. Though he was “held by all the hobbits of the neighbourhood to be ‘queer,’” he was “quite content.” He may no longer have fit the expectations of a respectable hobbit, but he was at peace in his own home and “remained very happy to the end of his days” (The Hobbit, 275).

Frodo’s own experience bears some resemblance to Bilbo’s, though without the same measure of peace. After he and his companions save the Shire from Saruman, Frodo departs for the Gray Havens. A deeply saddened Sam exclaims, “I thought you were going to enjoy the Shire, too, for years and years, after all you have done.” Frodo responds, “So I thought too, once. But I have been too deeply hurt, Sam” (Lord of the Rings, 1029). Bearing the mark of his wound at Weathertop and the effects of the One Ring, Frodo is no longer at home in the Shire. Though no one can easily see it, the indelible marks of his adventure have made him an alien among his own people.

Children who grow up away from their home culture bear a similar resemblance to the Bagginses. By all appearances, they seem to fit in with the good folk of their “Shire.” Yet prolonged adventures in distant lands have produced changes in them that do not disappear upon their return. Because they have spent time in the worlds of men, dwarves, and elves, the Shire becomes for them a different place. A certain sense prevails that they do not quite fit in with the other Hobbits.

Third-Culture Kids

The technical term for this group of people is Third-Culture Kids (TCKs). A TCK (also referred to as a “Global Nomad”) is defined as

a person who has spent a significant part of his or her developmental years outside the parents’ culture. The TCK builds relationships to all of the cultures, while not having full ownership of any. Although elements from each culture are assimilated into the TCK’s life experience, the sense of belonging is in relationship to others of similar background. (Third Culture Kids, 19)

In other words, they have absorbed and assimilated to aspects of multiple cultures such that they belong partially to all of them without fully belonging to any, a “confusion of cultures,” as one TCK put it (37). They sustain a wound that will “never really heal” (Lord of the Rings, 1025). Everywhere they go (except when together), they are prone to experience a sense of alienation. They recognize that they don’t really belong, at least not as others do. At home everywhere, they are home nowhere. In their countries of origin, they are often difficult to recognize. TCKs are hidden immigrants who bear all the marks of citizenship yet often feel distinctly out of place. They are Hobbits without a home.

TCKs respond to their out-of-placeness in different ways. For some it proves a more challenging identity than for others. Upon return to a “home” culture, some just want to fit in and leave behind all the strangeness their upbringing carries with it. Having learned to adapt to new settings, they blend like chameleons into their surroundings, often escaping all but the most practiced eye. Others revel in their cultural nonconformity, eager to invite others to share in their unique upbringing, taking every opportunity to recount the joys (and perhaps hardships) of their adventures.

“TCKs are hidden immigrants who bear all the marks of citizenship yet often feel distinctly out of place.”

Regardless of how TCKs feel, the experience of being a global nomad means that, for this group, the biblical description of saints as “sojourners and exiles” is palpable (1 Peter 2:11). They experience the reality of being an alien everywhere they go. This terrain can be difficult to navigate, of course, but few TCKs would trade their nomadic past. Time spent as aliens abroad has given them a deep appreciation for others. They’ve learned to see the world through multiple lenses. Many gain insight and wisdom beyond their years.

One TCK puts it this way:

Besides the drawbacks of family separation and the very real adjustment on the permanent return to the [home country], a child growing up abroad has great advantages. He [or she] learns, through no conscious act of learning, that thoughts can be transmitted in many languages, that skin color is unimportant . . . that certain things are sacred or taboo to some people while to others they’re meaningless, that the ordinary word of one area is a swearword in another. (Third Culture Kids, 77)

In other words, the “wound” may be permanent, but — as I and many other TCKs have discovered — it unlocks passages to whole new worlds.

Rich Tapestry

We might be surprised by how many people today fit the description of a TCK. In an increasingly globalized world, many families spend significant time overseas. Business developments or a military reassignment might require an international move. A church might send a family to the mission field. Local circumstances might cause a family to relocate to a new country. There are more TCKs among us than we realize.

These global nomads bring with them a unique opportunity — quite simply, the opportunity to discover. Understanding what it means for TCKs to have spent significant time overseas requires knowing more than where they lived and what strange foods they ate. The complex of interweaving histories, cultures, experiences, and questions requires time to unravel and draw out. To those who don’t share similar experiences, the intricate web can appear too daunting to even attempt navigating.

Many TCKs discover that few have the patience or desire to get to know their past lives beyond the bounds of the Shire. Content simply to know the strange Hobbit grew up overseas, they move on with life as normal and expect the TCK to fit right in. Too often, TCKs receive the unspoken and unintended message that their background, while interesting, doesn’t really matter. Leaning in to their past and drawing out their experiences will reveal that what first appears as an incomprehensible tangle turns out to be a rich tapestry of intermingled hues.

Seek Out the Stranger

In my experience, it will take work to discover that beauty. Most TCKs do not go about spilling the myriad details of their past. They’ve learned that the lack of shared background creates an unconscious impasse that few seek to traverse. The few who do often find that they’ve entered worlds unknown, filled with dichotomies of the strange and familiar, the shocking and beautiful, the sorrowful and joyful.

Don’t neglect seeking out opportunities to get to know the TCKs in your midst. Identify who they are in your church (whether among adults or youth). Invite them over for dinner or take them out to a global restaurant of their choice. Ask them to show you their mementos. Participate in their traditions. Listen to their stories. If you’re a pastor or ministry leader, consider reading about TCK experiences so you can better minister to their unique needs. Learn to see the strange Hobbits in your midst, embrace them as fellow pilgrims, and lean in to the beauty you are bound to discover.

45 Miles North of Pittsburgh

Written by Carl R. Trueman |
Wednesday, July 17, 2024
The psalmist tells us to put not our trust in princes…But the awful events of Saturday remind us that this statement is true, not merely because our leaders are limited and flawed but also because, like the grass and the flowers of the field, they can pass in the twinkling of an eye. Only the Lord and the Word of the Lord remain forever.

Last week, whenever anyone asked me where I live, I typically responded, “45 miles north of Pittsburgh.”
By 8 p.m. on Saturday, I found myself a resident of the most famous county in the world. Ten miles from where I am sitting now, a 20-year-old attempted to take the life of Donald Trump at a rally. For the time being, everybody knows where Butler County, Pa., is.
It is odd to be so close to a moment in history, but it is also important to set that moment in context. Political assassinations are as old as politics itself. The histories of Greece, Rome, and, indeed, even the Old Testament kingdom narratives are not exceptional in this regard. And the modern age has produced enough of them. The Kennedy murders of the 1960s still loom large in the American mind. And if Charles de Gaulle died while watching television, it was not because of the lack of effort by his enemies to have him dispatched somewhat earlier and much more violently. Indeed, the last three decades in the West have arguably been the exception for their lack of assassins. Not yet 60, I can recall the deaths of Aldo Moro and Olaf Palme, the shooting of Ronald Reagan, and the Brighton Hotel bombing of the U.K. Conservative Party Conference in 1984. And it seemed at one point in the 1970s that everyone was trying to assassinate Gerald Ford. One early memory is asking my father if “Squeaky Fromme” was a cartoon character. The comparative lack of assassinations over recent decades could well be the result of better security procedures rather than a sea change in the nature of politics itself.
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Holiness in Corporate Worship

We have the holy duty of delight to clear and align our [Lord’s] day so that we may best rest in our Lord. This rest is accomplished not through laziness or isolation but with a holy vigor, as we earnestly pursue the service of God in both private and public worship.

Having grown up in a mainline church and having taken pride in faithfully attending Sunday service week in and week out, I must admit that I was a bit taken aback during my freshman year of college when one of my hallmates asked me to attend a Sunday evening worship service with him. On the one hand, I was shocked that there even was such a thing. But then also, when I looked into the face of my friend, I could see plainly through his smile that no one was forcing him to go but that he actually wanted to go back to church. “I get to go back to church” was a phrase that I distinctly recall my friend’s uttering.
I was blown away. I didn’t understand what he meant by that phrase or the delight he had in going to a second worship service on Sunday. I would not understand until two years later when I became a Christian. Now, by the grace of God and to my great joy, I get to go back to church to worship my Lord and Savior.
As we consider the subject of holiness and specifically how it applies to the Lord’s Day or the Christian Sabbath, I would like to approach our discussion from just this angle: “I get to go to church.” In other words, we Christians have an immense privilege to worship the Lord on Sunday, and we should delight in doing so.
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Road Trip Dividing Line

Did a program from my location in northern AZ and Starlink worked great for us today! Very pleased with that to be sure. Covered developments in the Republican Party (abandoning a biblical view of marriage and softening their position on abortion), the attempted assassination of Trump, the wild and crazy stuff being said about Mary saving Trump, or Ephesians 6:11, etc., as well as Todd Starnes’ amazingly embarrassing tweet about leaving any church that did not discuss the assassination attempt on Sunday.
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Protecting the Family Name

It is a conversation I had with my son-in-law while he was pursuing my daughter and expressing his interest in marrying her. It is a conversation I will need to have with a second son-in-law if the day comes when he expresses his interest in marrying my other daughter. It is a conversation about the family name.
The conversation goes something like this: I believe that our family name has come to mean something. We have worked hard within the church and the local community to make the Challies name stand for something. It has a reputation. And by God’s grace, I think it is a good reputation, a reputation for faith and love and integrity. Our neighbors and fellow church members know the name and know what it entails. And by becoming part of this family, you gain the ability to enhance or diminish that reputation. I want you to take that seriously.
The fact is, a good family name is both a blessing and a responsibility. It is something that is entrusted to us. Those who take on the name or otherwise become closely associated with it, gain the duty of protecting and enhancing it. Far be it from any of us to bring reproach upon that name and embarrassment to those who bear it. “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches,” says Solomon. It is more precious than money because it cannot be purchased with money. It can only be earned—earned by long commitment. And what is earned by a long and earnest commitment can be destroyed by a single careless word or thoughtless moment.
What is earned by a long and earnest commitment can be destroyed by a single careless word or thoughtless moment.Share
When we become Christians, we gain the distinct honor of taking on the name of Christ. We become Christians, Christ-followers, Jesus people. He graciously and unashamedly grants us the family name so that wherever we go, the name goes with us. And so does the sacred responsibility of honoring the name by living lives that are worthy of it.
“Let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ,” Paul exhorts, and “Walk in a manner worthy of the Lord.” When we act in ways that imitate Christ and are consistent with his commands, we guard his name and protect his reputation. But when we act in ways that are unworthy of Christ and inconsistent with his commands, we dishonor his name and tarnish his reputation. The choice is before us every moment of every day, in tests and trials, in decisions and opportunities, in public and private. The choice is before us in this moment and every moment.
A good family name is a blessing and we do well to be faithful stewards of it. How much more when that name is associated with Christ himself and when the reputation is not just good but perfect and not just temporal but eternal? How much more when the name we bear is the name that is above every other name? How much more when the name is the very best name of all?

Digital Discipleship for Your Children, Part I

Technology is here to stay, and can be harnessed helpfully. We can worship, work, and play as worshippers and image-bearers without a total ban on screens or online access. But such spiritual success will only come with some vigorous cultivation. 

A little over eleven years ago, I published Save Them From Secularism. I wanted to fill a gap in the parenting literature. As I see it, the majority of helpful Christian parenting books deal with the heart, motives, behaviour, correction, communication, and roles. Few deal with a child’s deep view of reality: his imagination. The shaping of the child’s overall picture of reality is the most fundamental shaping force in his life. In the book, I argue that the imagination can be shaped, in cooperation with the Holy Spirit.
When I originally wrote, social media was just hitting its stride. There was no such thing as ten year-olds with smart phones and multiple social media accounts. Child YouTube stars hadn’t even been dreamed of. No one yet saw that screens were going to become the new cocaine. But in the online world, ten years is equivalent to a whole generation. It’s occurred to me to add some chapters to the book.
In the last few years, some good literature has come out that helps parents with the dangers. Predictably, the first Christian responses were all about the content: pornography, violence, and false teaching. That remains an important area to guard and shape.
More recently, writers have been dealing with the negative ways people use the internet: time-wasting, pseudo-relationships, addictive scrolling, gossip, and the negative traits that come out in people: envy, boasting, narcissism, lust, voyeurism, ungodly speech hiding behind anonymity, and covetousness.
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Do We Really Believe That Singleness and Marriage Are Equal in God’s Sight?

It is good for us to understand that the modern focus on marriage in the church is not how it has always been. The monastic movement, for all its flaws, was an attempt to take 1 Corinthians 7 seriously and to use your life to wholeheartedly serve Jesus without the divided interests that come from marriage and children.

Those who are not married and those who are married are of equal value in God’s sight. All people are made in the image of God. All Christians are saved only by grace through the blood of Jesus Christ shed on the cross for our sins. In no way does our marital status impact whether we are of value to God.
The apostle Paul famously says this in 1 Corinthians 7. In fact, he holds up singleness as superior for serving God in some ways, for instead of having divided interests you can live for God with all your heart.
This is not controversial theologically, yet do we truly believe this in practice? Christians and churches can teach marriage as such a worthy goal that single people are unintentionally alienated. Christian groups campaign for marriage in the wider culture, which is needed and timely. There are all kinds of ministries in most churches for marriage enrichment or for children. Well-meaning Christians can make unhelpful comments to single Christians in their churches about marriage, even trying to set them up with others they know. While marriage is a good gift from God, we can give the idea that it is the goal in life rather than serving God in whatever state we happen to be in.
And that’s before consider the family pressure many young adults feel to get married. There are many tense moments at family gatherings for the average single adult when their parents imply (or simply say!) that they are in some way less worthy because they have not been married.
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Why Did God the Son Become Human?

Hebrews 2:5–18 gloriously explains why the divine Son had to become human to redeem us from our sin and to restore us to the purpose of our creation. It’s no wonder that Jesus alone can save us, given our plight before God and the kind of Redeemer he is.

In the eleventh century, Anselm of Canterbury famously asked, “Why did God become man?” It is an important question to ask since it takes us into the rationale for the incarnation, and thus into the heart of the gospel. Anselm’s answer was that God the Son became man to fulfill God’s plan to save sinners by making satisfaction for their sin. No less can be said. But Scripture gives a number of reasons for why the incarnation was a necessity in the divine plan, and the most detailed text that gives us some of these reasons is Hebrews 2:5–18.
The entire book of Hebrews focuses on the supremacy and glory of the Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. By expounding multiple Old Testament texts, and by a series of contrasts with various Old Testament figures, the author encourages a group of predominately Jewish Christians with the truth that Jesus has come as the Lord in the flesh to fulfill all of the promises and expectations of the Old Testament.
Beginning in Hebrews 1:1–4, the author uses a series of comparisons and contrasts to unpack his thesis that Jesus is superior to all of the Old Testament figures before him, including Moses, Joshua, and the high priests. But he begins by demonstrating that Jesus is superior to angels. First, Jesus is greater than angels who serve God because he is the divine Son (Heb. 1:5–14). In contrast to angels, the Son is identified with the Lord due to his greater name (Heb. 1:4–5), the worship he receives (Heb. 1:6), his unchanging existence as the universe’s Creator and Lord (Heb. 1:10–12), and the rule and reign he shares with his Father (Heb. 1:7–9, 13). Angels, on the other hand, are simply creatures and ministering servants (Heb. 1:7, 14); they are not God-equal with the Father. Second, Jesus is superior to angels because he has come to do the work that no angel could ever do. By assuming our humanity, the Son becomes the representative man of Psalm 8—the last Adam—who undoes the first Adam’s covenantal disobedience and ushers in the new creation by bringing all things into subjection under his rule and reign.
In Hebrews 2:5–18, the author focuses on the centrality of the incarnation to the fulfillment of God’s redemptive plan, which is his final argument for the superiority of the Son. In so doing, a four-part rationale for the purpose and necessity of the incarnation is given. Let us look at each of these glorious truths in turn in Hebrews 2:5–18:
5For it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. 6It has been testified somewhere, “What is man, that you are mindful of him, or the son of man, that you care for him? 7You made him for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honor, 8putting everything in subjection under his feet.” Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. 9But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
10For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. 11For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, 12saying, “I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.” 13And again, “I will put my trust in him.” And again, “Behold, I and the children God has given me.”
14Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. 16For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. 17Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
1. The Divine Son Became a Man to Fulfill God’s Creation Intention for Humanity (Heb. 2:5–9).
The author demonstrates this point by an appeal to Psalm 8. In its Old Testament context, Psalm 8 celebrates the majesty of God as the Creator and the exalted position humans have in creation. The Psalm reminds us of God’s creation design for humans, namely that we were created as his image-bearers to exercise dominion over the world as his vice-regents (Gen. 1–2). In fact, in transitioning from the quotation of Psalm 8:4–6 to Jesus, Hebrews stresses the honor and glory of humanity by emphasizing how God intended that all things be subjected to Adam and, by extension, to all humanity: “Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control” (Heb. 2:8b). However, as we know from Genesis 3, Adam disobeyed, and as a result, all humanity is now under God’s judgment. Hebrews makes this exact point: “At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him” (Heb 2:8c). When we look at the world, we know that God’s creation design for humans has been frustrated; we do not rule as God intended us to rule. Instead of putting the earth under our feet, we are eventually put under the earth as God’s rebellious image-bearers.
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Blaming the Devil for Bad Things Denies God Is Sovereign

We need to hold onto the truth that God is sovereign, that even through hardships he is working what is good. If we don’t, when hardship comes we will either label God impotent (by blaming the evil) or we’ll question his goodness.

Imagine you wake up early in the morning and tuning into the radio you hear of an incident that took place in the night. You hear the reporter saying that they have never seen something like it before. All the bars and nightclubs have burned up and no one was hurt. Knowing what happens at bars and nightclubs, if you’re a Christian you would probably rejoice; you’d praise our sovereign God. ‘Thank God something happened to those places. Now our young people won’t be wandering around in them.’ We will say that God did something in the night. We’d praise him in the morning.
Now imagine a different scenario. Another morning. You wake up to the news that your government wants to stop the gatherings of believers. I am sure that we’d come together and pray against such a thing. We might even be tempted to say that the devil is at work.
So, who’s in control when major events happen? Do we attribute the good to God and the bad to the devil? Well, the devil is undoubtedly at work. And we know that he opposes God, both his plans and his people. While Jesus gives new life, in abundance, the enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10-11). Does this make our world a kind of cosmic wrestling match? Should we attribute bad things to God? Or can we just blame it on the devil? In this article I’m going to argue that God uses everything for his purposes, whether good or bad. Nothing falls outside of his power or plans. He is sovereign over everything he made.
Who Stands Above Suffering and Evil?
When we only attribute good things to God’s action, we limit him. For it implies that God is powerless to prevent bad things. In fact, by doing this we give power over to the enemy. We share God’s sovereignty with the evil one.
Now, consider the biblical witness. Scripture contains countless stories of people experiencing hardship, even immense suffering (Job 1:14-19). Were these things to happen to us we’d be tempted to say God doesn’t love us; or that he doesn’t care about his people. We rightly associate God with power and protection, preventing harm. However, the men and women who endure tremendous suffering in the Bible often recognise God’s control. They entrust themselves to his sovereignty. They cling onto God’s love when they don’t necessarily understand his purposes.
As Job cried out, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb and naked shall I return. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:20-21). Joseph understood, “you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good” (Genesis 50:20a). Neither deny God’s sovereignty. Nor do they question his goodness. Instead they understand that God is in control.
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Corinth, Christ and Celebritiesb

Televangelists and mega-church pastors strut their stuff for all the world to see. Not all misuse and abuse their positions in this way of course, but far too many do. And how often does mere eloquence, wit, good looks or youth become some of the main qualifications?

In many ways things are not so very different today than what they were 2000 years ago. Problems we face in the church today were problems back then. We might have new names for some of these things, but the core issues continue. Anyone familiar with the two letters the apostle Paul wrote to the believers in Corinth will get my drift.
Back then a major issue Paul had to deal with were the “super-apostles”. These were leaders and teachers (often false teachers) who tended to put their personalities, their prestige, and their power forward as their credentials. They thought they were superior and more authoritative than people like Paul.
In 2 Corinthians especially we find him spending a lot of time dealing with this. In 2 Cor. 11:5-7 he puts it this way: “I do not think I am in the least inferior to those ‘super-apostles.’ I may indeed be untrained as a speaker, but I do have knowledge. We have made this perfectly clear to you in every way. Was it a sin for me to lower myself in order to elevate you by preaching the gospel of God to you free of charge?”
He boasts not in great power or speaking ability or popularity, but in his weakness, so that Christ might be glorified: “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. I have made a fool of myself, but you drove me to it. I ought to have been commended by you, for I am not in the least inferior to the ‘super-apostles,’ even though I am nothing” (2 Cor. 12:10-11).
He had made all this clear in his first epistle to the Corinthians (1 Cor 1:26-31):
Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”
Today things are no different. Indeed, with the new technologies and global media, it can be even more of a problem, with televangelists and mega-church pastors strutting their stuff for all the world to see. Not all misuse and abuse their positions in this way of course, but far too many do. And how often does mere eloquence, wit, good looks or youth become some of the main qualifications here?
I recall some 16 years ago writing about one of these super-pastors who would not go anywhere without first sending through a list of his demands. I had mentioned a terrific article in Charisma magazine by J. Lee Grady which spoke of the “deadly virus of celebrity Christianity.” This is how he described what one celeb leader required before coming to speak:

a five-figure honorarium
a $10,000 gasoline deposit for the private plane
a manicurist and hairstylist for the speaker
a suite in a five-star hotel
a luxury car from the airport to the hotel
room-temperature Perrier

Wow. Imagine Paul or Peter or John or Luther or Spurgeon or Lewis or Paul Washer sending out such a ludicrous list of demands. Indeed, I once was speaking with a pastor and he discussed having me speak at his church. He asked me what my speaking fee was. I laughed and said it was as much as Paul had charged. I have never had a fee, and I never will.
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