I don't have cable.
Before you gasp, please realize I do consume a lot of entertainment. I have a digital tuner, so I get plenty of stations from Savannah for watching basic television. My wife and I also buy seasons of shows and watch them straight through. Our favorites are "Smallville," "The Cosby Show" and, in a guilty way, "Friends." We even have two seasons of the alien 1980s show "Alf."
We also watch a lot of movies -- Harry Potter's last film being our latest. Also, Facebook and Twitter are full of all sorts of ways to get your fix on what is going on. You can play games and link to sites your friends are playing on.
It seems, though, that no matter what source you use to entertain yourself, there is a fixation on the notion of the "celebrity." Historian Daniel J. Boorstin noted, "The celebrity is a person who is known for his well-knowness."
These people are notorious for being seen and known. They show up on a television show and millions watch. They are hired to be at parties so people will want to come. Large amounts of money are poured from the entertainment world into making celebrity happen. Reality television makes people stars overnight.
Where there are people, there are the famous ones.
Entertainment and celebrity are important parts of humanity. In challenging times, certain people are elevated to encourage and give people hope. Others are elevated for distraction from the labors of survival.
In the Scriptures, fame came and went on the heads of people. King David was famous for subduing the Philistines, who were a people who built cities along the sea and were invading the cities of Israel by the mountainous regions. His victories in battle (recorded in 2 Samuel 8) made him renowned because he brought peace to the people. Later, in the book of 1 Kings, David's fame was handed down to his son Solomon. Fame and kingship made the enemies of the throne fear Solomon, and the people celebrated the succession.
From the wars of David's people, great heroes were remembered and recorded, so that people who see valor and courage and remember what these people had done. They sacrificed periods of their lives, lost friends in the wars and faced injury and possible death -- so that people could find peace. When they returned home, in an age without television, there were celebrations, and heroes told stories of their adventures. They remembered those who served alongside them with swords, spears and shield.
Then, when all the people had been celebrated, the famous ones would give credit to the one who gave them the strength to meet their great challenges. King David himself wrote of the greatest celebrity of all, the Lord their God:
"I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever.
Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever. Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.
One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts. They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty -- and I will meditate on your wonderful works.
They tell of the power of your awesome works -- and I will proclaim your great deeds. They celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness."
-- Psalm 145: 1-7
In the challenges of life, whether you are a celebrity or you celebrate the lives of others, remember the source of all life, who gives us breath and the ability to enjoy all good things. He is greater than the greatest on the Earth and loves you deeply.
This is why we worship God.
Daniel Griswold is the director of youth at St. Andrew By-the-Sea United Methodist Church. Read his blog at www.danielgriswold.wordpress.com. Follow him on Twitter @dannonhill.