In this episode we chat with journalist and editor Katelyn Beaty about Christian celebrity. After distinguishing between celebrity and fame, Katelyn explores the ways celebrity has shaped the church and Christian faith in unhealthy ways, how it has led to the abuse of power, the pursuit of growth at all costs, and the fall from grace of so many celebrity Christian leaders.

After the interview, Nomad hosts Tim Nash and Nick Thorley reflect on their own relationship with Christian celebrities, both positive and negative, and the role they’ve played in their evolving faith.

Interview starts at 17m 19s

Image used with permission


Katelyn Beaty


Celebrities for Jesus: How Personas, Platforms, and Profits Are Hurting the Church


“Celebrity is a distinctly modern phenomenon in that it relies on the tools of mass media – newspapers, television, radio, social media – to project an image or a persona that is impressive, that inspires adoration and attachment in a way that fame doesn’t. With fame, ideally the focus is still on the person’s work or what they give to the world, whereas celebrity tends to form a kind of personal, psychological attachment between the image that someone is projecting and their fans or their followers.”

“We don’t shift our understanding based on the message; we shift our understanding based on the medium.

“You’re setting yourself up for a fall when you don’t welcome and embrace a kind of accountability that hurts sometimes.”

“There’s incredible cognitive dissonance for anybody who’s involved in a church or institution where the public leader – the ‘celebrity’ figure in the organization – has a spectacular fall or has really hurt a lot of other people, has really abused their power in harmful and predatory ways.”


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