Faith vs. Fame: How artists can prepare for criticism [Encore Post]

As your influence expands, understand that your beliefs may be questioned

We are not just “celebrities”, we are humans and sinners, children, and our lives are not void of values because we struggle. We are as equally forgiven as our neighbor. God is never a trend no matter who the believer.” – Lady Gaga, in response to a Catholic magazine article criticizing her public image

“Baby, remember my name.”

If you grew up in the eighties, you might remember the movie and TV series  “Fame.” That line from the theme song sums up the aspirations of many artists and musicians. We work hard to produce things that will get attention, in the hope that what we create will resonate in the hearts and minds of our audiences.

Even if we’re not personally comfortable in the spotlight, in a sense we’re all hoping to be remembered.

Faith, on the other hand, is often considered a private matter that shouldn’t be judged or evaluated. But as you achieve commercial success, your entire life can become a topic of discussion, debate and sometimes rebuke.

What do you do when your private faith is challenged because of your public image?

For answers, let’s look at another public figure – Jesus of Nazareth.

Jesus never shied away from taking stances that caused some to question his motives. He often associated with elements of society that his critics considered off-limits. His fame grew as he stepped into forbidden places and talked to people who did not fit the cultural norm. In almost all of these situations, he responded to critics by asserting this principle – it’s what’s inside a person, not what’s on the outside, that makes them who they are.

If your faith is questioned as you become well-known, remember people are looking at the outward appearance. More exposure doesn’t always equal better evidence.

In fact, the more well-known you are, the less people know the real you.

As an artist, you’ll have to face critics that judge both your work and your worship. You’ll have to accept that some will never understand how your faith works in your life. Know who you are and whose you are.

Is it possible for fame to cloud our judgment and affect our testimony? Yes. We must be sensitive to how we present ourselves so we don’t send conflicting messages.  But ultimately, critics should never determine the direction of our creativity.

To maintain a proper perspective about fame,  remember that God’s desire isn’t to keep you from being known. It’s to make himself known through you.

When the spotlight falls on you, whatever is in you will shine through.

[Originally posted June 2016]


Comment below: Have you ever faced questions about your faith due to your choice of career or your artistic choices? How did you respond? 

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