Here’s a summary of Passion 2017, at least according to everything I’ve seen on social media and the news:
Carrie Underwood showed up for a little while. There’s something else too, I can’t think of it.
Oh yeah, there were some really pretty lights, too.
That’s what all of my friends were talking about on social media, especially the Carrie Underwood thing. I know I’m always hard on Passion, but this has taken the whole conference to a new low.
According to Fox 5 Atlanta, one Instagram user said “I’m dead! I was screaming so hard!” Similar posts were made by tons of people among my own Facebook and Instagram friends. Keep in mind that no one really talked about the movement of God in this conference, or the power of the Holy Spirit, no subjects of the sermons, just Carrie Underwood and the cool lights that accompanied this concert.
Let’s be intellectually honest for a moment: this is exactly what they wanted.
The main reason Carrie Underwood agreed to show up and sing at Passion was for the headlines, and the folks in charge of Passion were more than happy to make headlines as well. And why does anyone want to make headlines? Cold hard cash.
One could make the claim that Passion wants headlines to bring people in to experience God, but based on what I’ve seen from the people attending this year, it seems that the whole “experiencing God” thing isn’t happening there anymore.
As hard as I’ve been on Passion for just being a temporary Jesus high, at least normally I see people talking about what God is doing in their life through it, or how incredible the worship experience was, live and in the moment. At least in the past, it’s been of some spiritual value to those who have attended.
This year, it was all “Look, there’s John Piper!” “Look, there’s Carrie Underwood!” “Look there’s David Crowder!” Just a big gathering of Christian celebrities rather than an actual worship event, and Christians from around the world paid over $100 dollars to see famous people do what people in their own churches do every week.
I have a problem with the distractions brought into Passion this year. I have a problem with Carrie Underwood showing up, pulling everyone out of the presence of God to take Snapchat and Instagram videos of her, forgetting that the whole reason they’re in the Dome is to glorify God and no one else.
I have a problem with the fact that I’ve seen more social media posts about the lights and the worship leaders and the speakers, not based on the content of their words, but just who they are, than I have about God doing anything worthwhile.
It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
-William Shakespeare, Macbeth
When you make an event for the sake of people coming together to worship God and all the attention goes to a country music star, you should probably re-evaluate the way your conference is set up.
And to everyone who seemed to care more about Carrie Underwood than the presence of God, I know it’s hard when all this is going on, but you have to stay focused on the goal. Pulling out your phones to tell everyone Carrie Underwood was there is just taking you out of worship. To be honest, it’s abandoning the things of God to focus on the things of the world. Carrie Underwood is just a human being as flawed as you are. When you’re glorifying God, He should be the one and only focus. Carrie Underwood may be exciting to see, but that shouldn’t pull you away long enough to pull out your phone, record it, write something to attach to it and post it to all your friends. Just something to think about.