Monday, September 12, 2022

Freeing Pastors from the Culture of Personality

 

(Lake Erie, Monroe, MI)

We speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. 

We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts.

1 Thessalonians 2:4 

In this Age of Entertainment, pastors have a lot to prove, and pressure to perform. These needs came into being in a great cultural shift. Susan Cain describes this in her excellent book Quiet.

"America had shifted from what the influential cultural historian Warren Susman called a Culture of Character to a Culture of Personality—and opened up a Pandora’s Box of personal anxieties from which we would never quite recover. 

In the Culture of Character, the ideal self was serious, disciplined, and honorable. What counted was not so much the impression one made in public as how one behaved in private. The word personality didn’t exist in English until the eighteenth century, and the idea of “having a good personality” was not widespread until the twentieth. 

But when they embraced the Culture of Personality, Americans started to focus on how others perceived them. They became captivated by people who were bold and entertaining. “The social role demanded of all in the new Culture of Personality was that of a performer,” Susman famously wrote. “Every American was to become a performing self.”"  (Cain, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking (p. 21). 

Pastors: You have nothing to prove, and no one to impress. May I now free you from this?