I will sometimes see it on Twitter. I have heard conversations about it. I have heard it shouted many a time in the midst of a praise and worship set.
"Jesus, we want to make you famous!"
These type of statements usually come from a true, sincere place and I never would want to quench that type of passion. But let’s unpack that idea for just a moment, the concept that we can make Jesus or God famous…
That’s just silly.
Jesus and God are plenty famous. They are not just famous in the present tense, flash-in-a-pan Kardashian kind of way. They are famous across space and time. The Trinity has some serious staying power in the fame department (well, two-thirds of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit is sometimes given the Ringo treatment). The thought that we finite mortals could make God famous is ludicrous.
Now are there people who do not know who God and Jesus are? Yes and thus an important part of the Christian mission is to tell of God to people whom do not know about God. I suspect that is the heart of those mid-song cries. But I suspect the “we” that wants to make God famous is not talking about venturing to lost societies en masse.
One would be quick to respond that there are plenty of people that do not know God personally. I agree but I would counter that fame is not the problem. Especially in the United States, the context from which I hear this phrase, plenty of people know of God.
However, God is not real or personal to these individuals. It also does not help that, like other famous entities, there is a slew of inaccurate gossip going around about God. Stuff like God hates gay people. Or that God sent a deranged gunman into an elementary school because America is “less Christian.” Or that God and Ronald Reagan were best bros in high school. It’s an uphill battle.
And even if it were not, God being famous does not even begin to capture what God wants with us. I can know everything in the world about a famous person. I can even tweet at them and they could tweet back to me. But they don’t know me and I only know that famous person superficially. It may make me feel all cool, but it doesn’t really transform the way that I live.
Sometimes I wonder if the desire to make God famous subtly speaks more about our wants and desires. If God is famous, then Christians are like the cool kids that were into God before all the bandwagoners came along. Again, I don’t think that is what people mean but I wonder if there is a small thread of that running underneath. But I digress.
A relationships with God is unlike one’s relationship with a famous person. God looks upon us with far more affection than even the most kind celebrity looks upon his or her fans, which is remarkable considering that God is far more famous than Kanye or Tom Brady or Taylor Swift combined a billion times over. God loves us; each of us. You can see this in Jesus. He was literally a man of the people. He got to know the down and out as well as the rich and the powerful. It was a broad-reaching ministry, but it was simultaneously very personal. He touched people. He took the time to talk with people.
So, without a doubt, we should make God known. Yet perhaps we should not get so hung up on wanting to make God famous; as if we can make God anything. We should concentrate on showing that God is real, transformative, loving, gracious, compassionate, and good. We do that with our words, but even more so with our deeds. That’s probably a little wordy to shout out in the middle of a song, but I think it gets more to the heart of the matter.