I have a confession.
You should probably sit down.
I got sucked into the world of Keeping Up with the Kardashians.
It’s okay if you judge me. I judge myself.
Don’t even know how it happened. Some random, black, internet hole pulled me in without warning.
The family is weirdly entertaining. Sure, they’re materialistic, out-of-touch with the real world, are publicly naked far too often (once is far too often) and have zero sense of style or fashion. Kris Jenner probably pushed her children into the limelight. Certainly she gave her youngest daughters far too much freedom. At the same time, the petty fights and bizarre conversations they have – it’s like any other family. They’re in each other’s business, push each other to do better (their version of better, anyway) and come to each other’s defense if anyone on the outside dares to attack. Though I doubt they reveal their true selves on television or social media, one thing shines through the layers of make-up and spray tanner: They genuinely love each other.
Elements of horribleness and elements of absolute normalcy.
And humor. There were some genuinely funny moments in the episodes I watched.
I know. I write about theology, history, logic, chronic illness. How can I also be so low-brow?
I’m a complicated person. What can I say?
What truly fascinates me about this family is how easily, casually even, they throw around references to God, church and Christianity. In one episode, the oldest daughter, Kourtney, tells her friends that they will be going to church that evening – after they’ve spent time getting drunk and playing pinball at a Korean barbecue joint.
How do those things possibly go together?
As I sit here, knowing I need brain bleach and some time meditating on Philippians 4:8, I am reminded of this article that Karen Swallow Prior shared on Twitter over the weekend. I quote:
Instead of an intellectual tradition, it is a church built on emotion. Every sermon is a revival stump speech about the evils of the world and the need for salvation. Every sermon ends in a sentimental pop song/worship chorus to accompany an altar call in which the same handful of members weeps at the altar (these people are subsequently held up as the most exemplary Christians. I had a friend in junior high who could cry on cue; she cleaned up on attention in this system). …
…you have membership with no theological or doctrinal depth that you have neglected to equip with the tools to wrestle with hard issues.
And there’s the answer.
We have such a hard time getting church right, don’t we? Across this country, there are thousands of churches that are built on either legalism or cheap grace. Both ends of the spectrum appeal to the emotions; oddly, it’s the same emotion – pride – that they tap into. “Do these 375.32 things and God will be happy with you” or, “Do whatever you want and God will still be happy with you because love.” Either way, it’s not really about God being happy. It’s not about walking in close relationship with Him, learning to wholly submit to His will each day. No, instead, it’s about pouring the infinite Lord into some ridiculous, man-made box. “He will behave this way, because I want Him to.”
How interesting, to realize that legalism and libertinism are two sides of the same coin.
Oh, idolatry. You’re just lurking around every corner, aren’t you?
The Kardashians aren’t the problem. They’re the symptom. There are many people who live exactly as they do, just with less money and without television cameras documenting every move. They believe that God must bless whatever it is they do, because…because. It goes no deeper than that. It’s “your best life now” and “God wants you to be happy.”
Sanctification, holiness, righteousness.
What happened to those concepts?
Please, church, stop trying to be relevant. Stop trying to be cool. Stop trying to “fit in” with the people you want to reach. The true Gospel transcends time and culture. Preach that. Give people what’s real. Call them to something higher and better found in humility before God and hiddenness under the shadow of His wings. Show them that true happiness is found in obedience. That God’s law is for our good and protection.
The Kardashians need the truth. At the end of the day, when the make-up slides onto the washcloth and the extensions are removed; when the cameras are off and the silence of night descends, what are they left with? Near as I can tell, only the sorrow of believing that their value lies only in the sexiness of their bodies and the deception of a false faith.
God made these women and He wants so much more for them.
It’s our job to show them – and all the rest – that more.
7 thoughts on “Keeping Up with What?”
I am very much intrigued by your post, and after reading it, I understand the title so much better. Because at the end of the day, what are these people? Who are they really? What are their dreams and hopes and values because it can’t just be all make-up, lips and more makeup. Absolutely adore this post (did I say that already?) ❤
Good questions, Meiji. Thanks for stopping by and for the compliment!
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Aww, thank you so much, and of course. ❤️ It was my pleasure.
Thank You! And yes all this!
My husband and I are currently without a home church. We left our former church because, among other things, there was no longer any depth to the preaching or any call to live a holier life. Instead, it was all about, “Well, nobody’s perfect” and “God loves you anyway.” While it is true both that we all sin, and that God is love, whatever happened to repentance? All kinds of unChristian behaviour was being winked at, from the pulpit right on down through the pews, and if you expressed any concern you were being critical and unforgiving. Biblical content was getting scarce. Church income and attendance figures were valued far more highly than spiritual growth, and as long as the worship and sermons were entertaining, what more could you want?
Unfortunately, every church that we have visited has been basically the same so far.
We are discouraged, but not without hope, and are waiting on God for His leading.
I am truly sorry to hear this. I believe that God desires the church here in America to do some deep, long overdue repenting. In general, we have forgotten what it’s all about – the Lord. He’s the focus, the center, the purpose, the point. It’s not about being “cool” or “relevant” or “sensitive.” It’s all about glorifying Him.
I hope you find a home soon. Hugs and prayers across the internet.