Celebrity Worship will always leave you unfulfilled

Speaking generally, today’s generation (specifically- even though I hate this term as I never hear it used in a positive context- ‘millennials’) has a huge problem on their hands- celebrity worship.

If you look around the high-profile media landscape, celebrities are the infatuation of the market. Almost every news source invests large amounts of time and resources on covering the ins and outs of the lives of celebrities. For a while, all I could do was wonder why.

A specific incidence of celebrity worship occurred right before I opened up my laptop. I’ve mentioned before how I am a huge user of the popular social media app Snapchat. Today, the featured a special avenue to where users could send in their personal pictures and videos wishing the popular musician and pop culture idol Beyonce Knowles a happy birthday, and celebrate with her.

First off I just want to say that this is no mean an attack on Beyonce. She has done a lot of good for the world and has inspired many. However, just the fact that Snapchat went out of its way to glorify a celebrity on their birthday is abhorrent. Not only is the app itself literally worshipping the celebrity by adorning them with their own personal means of inflating their ego, but they’re also encouraging their users to engage in this behavior.

For a long time prior to this, I struggled with the concept of why anyone would be so reverent to any celebrity. Speaking generally, time and time again they mess up; be it high profile cases of breaking like athlete O.J Simpson or straight up falls from glory like singer Lindsey Lohan. What is the point of devoting your time, energy or even thoughts to these people?

I remember a specific time when I ranted on this to my closest friend, Adam Kronenberger, and he really explained it best- he said ‘Those who worship celebrities are looking for their God on Earth.’

When he said that, it clicked for me, and resonated to the point where i still remember those words. That’s exactly it. Those who doubt our God, the ever-present, ever-loving force that provides all the good in our life, look for their savior on this Earth.

They want something tangible. They want a God something they can see, hear immediately, smell, touch, and oh yeah- pay to even be in the presence of.

But the thing is, no matter how much they see, hear, smell, touch, or pay the celebrity they worship on this life- they’ll never be saved.

You see, our God requires they key element of faith. He doesn’t need us to touch him, to see him, and certainly not to pay him to be in his presence. He’s all around us in every aspect of our life. He simply just needs the O.K. from you.

Christ-follower C.S. Lewis said it best- “I believe in Christianity as I believe in the sun. Not because I see it, but because I see everything around me.”

A celebrity might never even acknowledge your presence, even if you devote a life-long fandom towards them. On the contrary, our God has loved you from the start. He’s seen out and fine-tuned every aspect of your life, and sent his son to die for every person’s sins, past, present and future.

To close, I want to make it clear- there’s nothing wrong with enjoying the talents or respecting the artists who have achieved fame on this Earth. However, as Christians we must stay strong and keep an energized division between worship and respect. There are too, plenty of people who have achieved earthly fame and yet keep their devotion to God first and foremost.

To those who don’t yet know Christ, but find themselves worshipping a celebrity, I encourage you to break free from the enslaving mindset of celebrity worship and turn your life over to Christ, truly the only one worthy of praise. His love not only offers more fulfillment than any celebrity ever could, but simply acknowledging his presence ensures the precious gift of remaining by his side for all of eternity.



Ranking SEC Football programs based on overall merit

College football is back. Personally, I find it the most exciting sport to watch from home, and this year, I get to be a part of it here at an SEC School- The University of Missouri. Being in the SEC is truly an elite distinction. In my most recent class, Religion and Pop Culture, we actually discussed the idea that SEC football in and of itself is a religion. Very few things in our culture evoke the sense of pride and emotion that SEC football does. To set the tone for Saturdays in SEC country, I put together a list of where each team stands headed into the 2016 season. One thing to remember is college football is cyclical in nature, and obviously each school has been higher or lower on this list from a season-to-season basis.

14. Mississippi Bulldogs | 541 wins | .491 win % | 0 SEC or National Championships | Joined: 1932

Mississippi State has grown exponentially in recent years. Flashes of success including rising to the #1 rank in the AP poll in 2014 have landed the Bulldogs some decent recruits. Despite this, they’ve struggled the most out of any of the SEC’s founding teams.

13. Kentucky Wildcats | 593 wins | .495 win % | 2 SEC, 1 National Championship | Joined: 1932

Kentucky football will always have the huge roadblock in just being a pure basketball school. They struggle to land big recruits and win games today, but have had some success decades prior, capturing the 1950 National Championship led by legend Bear Bryant.

12. Vanderbilt Commodores | 589 wins | .496 win % | Joined: 1932

Vandy is known as the ‘Ivy League School of the South’ to some, but they have yet to ever parallel their academic reputation with Gridiron success. They have yet to capture a conference championship despite being one of the founding members, alike Mississippi State.

11. South Carolina Gamecocks | 587 wins,  .511 win % | Joined: 1991

South Carolina joined the SEC in 1991 and have seen success recently, though they’ve yet to capture a SEC or National Championship in program history. They’ve been a contender in the SEC East with the help of Steve Spurrier’s 2006 arrival and look to soon parlay tradition into landing big recruits and success on the field.

10. Missouri Tigers | 688 wins, .550 win % | Joined: 2012

Since joining the SEC in 2012, Missouri has seen flashes of success, capturing back-to-back SEC East Division Championships in 2013 and 2014 only to fall short each time in the SEC Championship game. A long football legacy led by superstar coaches Don Faurot and Gary Pinkel sees the Tigers win an impressive 688 program wins, and the Tigers look to be a contender out of the East for years to come.

9. Ole Miss Rebels | 655 wins | .563 win % | 6 SEC, 3 National Championships | Joined: 1932

One of college football’s most traditional programs, Mississippi has  consistently produced great football and can be considered a cornerstone Southern football program. They were most successful from 1954-63, capturing five conference titles, but today always seem a threat to shake things up in the SEC Western Division.

8. Arkansas Razorbacks | 700 wins | .588 win % | 1 National Championship | Joined: 1991

Leaving the Big 8 in 1991, Arkansas has seen rivalries form among SEC schools, establishing a steady reputation for a pesky contender out of the SEC West. Although they won a divisional title as recently as 2006, the Hogs have yet to reign supreme among the Southeastern conference.

7. Texas A&M Aggies | 718 wins | .602 win % | 3 National Championships

Since 2012, the proud school of Texas A&M have ushered in a new era of football culture in College Station. They’ve produced a Heisman trophy winner in Johnny Manziel, and have started off many of their SEC seasons strongly, only to see it fall apart later in the season. The Aggies have a respectful football legacy and routinely land big recruits in this new era.

6. Florida Gators | 701 wins | .630 win % | 8 SEC, 3 National Championships

One of the most recognizable college football programs in America, the Gators routinely find success in almost every era. Gainesville has racked up 8 SEC titles total, and two National Championships in 2006 and 2008.

5. Auburn Tigers | 749 wins | .632 win % | 8 SEC, 2 National Championships

Auburn has established a long-lasting legacy of success, appearing in recent National Championships in 2011 and 2014, walking away with one title. Huge names like Bo Jackson and Cam Newton have stopped through Auburn, and helped establish itself as one of the SEC’s most elite forces.

4. Georgia Bulldogs | 788 wins | .649 win % | 12 SEC, 2 National Championships

Georgia has consistently put together wins out of Athens and today is a force for SEC East titles year after year. Led by big names, strong defenses, and shooting stars like Herschel Walker and Matthew Stafford have helped Georgia cement their SEC football legacy.

3. LSU Tigers | 771 wins | .650 win % | 11 SEC, 3 National Championships

Football in ‘Death Valley’ is no joke. LSU routinely puts together potent offenses and seems to often be a player to take home the conference championship. They’ve appeared in 3 National Championships in the last decade and are one of the most recognizable SEC teams.

2. Tennessee Volunteers | 820 wins | .680 win % |  13 SEC, 6 National Championships

Rocky Top has seen some elite football played over the years. Stars like Peyton Manning have established a culture of winning at Neyland Stadium, and today, led by a strong offense, Tennessee looks to add on another one of their 13 SEC titles.

1. Alabama Crimson Tide | 864 wins | .718 wins % | 25 SEC, 16 National Championships

Alabama has truly been a model program as far as SEC and really college football success in general. It seems year in and year out that the Tide are the team to beat, and it’s difficult to remember a time where they weren’t near the top of any ranking. Legends old and new have established themselves as stars at Alabama, legendary coaches arise and usher in unparalleled success and leadership. 25 National Titles to go with a whopping 16 National Championships (including 4 out of the last 7) are two numbers that may not ever be topped by a fellow SEC school.