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Life and Religion

Expecting Christian behavior from Christians
What's the standard for Christian celebrities?
 
Published Wednesday, January 29, 2014
by Raynard Jackson

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Meagan Good's plunging neckline caused quite a stir when she presented the award for best gospel artist at last year's BET Music Awards Show. As a self professed Christian and wife of a pastor, was she out of line for her attire?

I have been delaying writing this column for more than a year, but in light of recent developments, it’s time to address the issue of Christianity and celebrity.

Last year, actress Meagan Good created a controversy when she wore an extremely revealing blue dress at the BET Music Awards show. The dress was low cut, and she was wearing no bra. Let’s just say her “twins” were have a moving experience and were filled with excitement, if you get my drift.

I must admit, she looked exceedingly gorgeous in the dress.  I have always viewed her as one of the few actresses in Hollywood who carried herself like a lady.  I often tell girls, “You are a woman because of your age, but you are a lady because of your behavior.”  Meagan is definitely a lady in my eyes.

BET asked Good to present the award for best gospel artist during the show, so I assume she wanted to get attention for her outfit, which is pretty common in Hollywood, and attention she did get. Good has always professed her Christianity in public and had recently married Devon Franklin, a Sony Pictures executive and Seventh Day Adventist pastor.

Her attire set off a firestorm of criticism on social media, with many saying her dress was inappropriate for someone who claimed to be a Christian, married to a preacher and presenting a gospel award. Good went to her Instagram to respond, “…I’m not any less holy because the dress I wore – I may not be who people think I should be – but I’m morphing into exactly who God wants me to be… My excuse is never ‘I’m going to do me’ and I don’t feel that I need to make an excuse or defend or what I wore .. I know I have a responsibility – and I’m working daily to fulfill the full potential of all God has created me to be…”

A similar controversy is brewing about Christine Vest.  She is a wanna be gospel singer who recently had a baby by Dwight Howard, center for the Houston Rockets.  Her only claim to fame is getting pregnant by Howard.  Howard is rumored to have up to five children by five women over six years (no one really seems to know the real number).  So much for his Christianity.

People have been calling her out for having a kid out of wedlock while calling herself a gospel singer.  As with Good, Vest didn’t take too kindly to the criticism and lashed out at her critics.  She vented on her Instagram, “I’m sorry, but I just have to address all the…people…that consider “having a child out of wedlock” a “sin.”  Having fornication is the sin, people. FORNICATION…If you want to rebuke me for fornicating, thanks, but I have repented already.”

Allow me to proffer some unsolicited advice and counsel to Good, Howard and Vest as a fellow Christian and graduate of Oral Roberts University.

If you publicly profess to be a Christian, then people automatically and rightfully expect you to comport yourself in a certain manner.  It has nothing to do with judging you or about degrees of sin (fornication vs. lying, etc.).  Proclaiming to be a Christian used to conjure up a lot of very positive images – trustworthy, loving, caring, modest, etc.  Now we have gangsta Christian rap music; we have Christian punk rockers and Christian nude models, etc.  It’s hard to distinguish Christians from sinners.

Good, how do you justify appearing in public in a dress where everyone can see your twins in a state of arousal?  Howard, how do you justify all these babies outside of marriage? Vest, how do you justify being a gospel singer and having sex without a condom if you just want to keep it strictly on the health tip?

In a way, they are paying you all a compliment because the public’s reaction to your behavior is a testament to how the world used to view Christians and Christianity. They expected certain behavior that was beyond reproach. Each of your reaction shows how far Christians and Christianity has fallen from the standards of the past.

Meagan, yes, you have a right to wear whatever you choose, but remember you have a responsibility to represent the best of Christendom.  Or, as Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13:11, “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”

Dwight, you came into the NBA talking about being a witness for Christ to your teammates; maybe now it’s time for someone to be a witness to you.

Christine, I don’t think people are trying to judge you rather than to remind you that just because you feel you can doesn’t necessarily mean you should.

Each of you injected your Christianity into the public arena, therefore is it not reasonable for them to expect you to live up to what it means to be a Christian?

Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, a Washington, D.C.-based public relations/government affairs firm.

Comments

Thank you for this well written timely article. You struck a nerve with this one. I totally concur. I have a real problem with Christians (especially "highly visible" ones because of the influence they have) looking and acting like the world. The Bible says in 1Corinthians 10:31 "Whether therefore you eat or you drink, do all to the glory of God". God is not glorified when we live opposite to His Word. Once we establish a relationship with God through His Son Jesus, the Christ, we have to now develop that relationship by "daily" communion and fellowship with God through prayer and the Word of God. We cannot get to know anyone without spending time with them. Romans 12:1-2 says "...present your bodies a living sacrifice; holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable and perfect will of God". When we accept Jesus as Savior and Lord, our spirit gets saved but we now have to read, study & meditate on the Word of God to develop the mind of Christ. If a person's mind is not renewed with the Word of God, they will think and act like a non-Christian. There should be a distinct difference between a Christian and a non-Christian. Christians must decide to obey God's Word. We must be doers of the Word and not hearers only. Christians are physically in the world but spiritually we are in the Kingdom of God. As Kingdom citizens, we must live a Christian lifestyle as revealed in the Bible. If we want "zoe", the God-kind of life, we must live by God's Word. As Christians, we do not have to judge one another, our behavior judges us. The Bible declares we are to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. It is okay to come to the Lord as we are, but it is not okay to stay as we are. How we live is a witness to the world. When a Christian's lifestyle is contrary to the Word of God, either their mind is not renewed with the Word of God, they are disobedient or rebellious or Jesus may be their Savior but not their Lord. The world gets confused and repelled because they do not see the difference that Jesus makes in your life. The Lord gave me a prophetic Word for the Body of Christ for 2014. He says "He wants more from His people". Not more service, but He wants us to spend more time with Him. Micah 6:8 "He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with thy God". In order to walk humbly with God, we must spend time with Him. Let's purpose in our hearts that we will spend less time with people, less time on the phone, less time on social media, less than on entertainment and more time with the Lord. I pray that the Body of Christ will begin to draw closer to God. There is so much more I could say about this subject, but I realize this is for comments on your article so will say more in another venue.
Posted on February 6, 2014
 

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