Many Christians like to hear about celebrities or public figures who share in their faith. Whether it’s the Philadelphia Eagles, Chris Pratt, or Bono, there is perhaps a hope that those in the midst of the culture are standing strong for the faith. Its possible that the National Catholic Register‘s latest interview with rock mega-star Sting was done with hopes of strengthening the faith of their readers; but its difficult to see how the article was supposed to accomplish that task.
The article begins by showing Sting’s appreciation for the music of the Church:
I was an altar boy and I learned the Latin Mass but I loved plainsong, I loved Gregorian chant, the Sung Mass. I still think I carry some of those cadences in my composition when I compose. So I’m grateful for that.
But before we canonize Mr. Sting, we must realize that just because someone was raised attending church or adores its music, it does not make them one of the faithful. When discussing his composition of the Dies Irae (a 13th century Latin hymn), he says that it:
is normally done in a very minor key, a very doom-laden key, and I lifted it to a major key so it would be hopeful. I excised a lot of the very dark verses about Muslims being burnt in hell, and I thought it should be much more ecumenical.
To be clear, “ecumenical” means sympathy and commonality within the various Christian traditions throughout the world, and does not generally extend to Muslims and other non-Christian faiths. Notice the “hope” that Sting promotes has no basis. In other words, what do you hope will happen, and why do you think it will happen? The Christian’s hope is in the promises of God made a reality by Christ Jesus and received because of our Faith in Him. Sting just hopes for hope.
And then, in true 21st century individualistic rock-star fashion, he makes the Christian faith what he wants it to be and feels so good about himself for having done so:
And then I love what Pope Francis said about God: he said “God is mercy,” and I thought that was a profound and simple statement that people had kind of forgotten over the years. So with the Last Judgement, if God is mercy, then there’s no judgment at all, just forgiveness. I don’t know if that’s heresy or not, but it works for me
With all his hope in hope, he believes God’s mercy will mean he offers all people forgiveness, regardless if God has demanded holiness, faithfulness, obedience, servanthood, dying to self, picking up one’s cross, renewing one’s mind, and regenerating one’s heart. And Sting thinks it might be heresy (hint: yes, it is), but it “works for him”
Sting’s religious musings should remind us that celebrities are generally more interested in their art than their soul.
It feels like the National Catholic Register is hoping that Sting’s link to the Christian faith will draw readers to think they have a celebrity about to knock at the door of the Savior. Why they care? I don’t know, but they never outright condemned his clearly heretical theology.
So, come on folks!, do we really need to have celebrities affirm our faith to feel good about our choice to believe. One thing that the Protestant church has lost is its heroes. Sure we celebrate lives like Billy Graham, but those are few and far between. All the Saints of the Church are recognitions of incredible service and important contributions to the body of Christ. Whatever your view of saints are, none should preclude you from setting them as heroes and models of faith in your household. Teach them to your children. Read their stories to strengthen your own faith. A heretical rockstar will never be able to bolster our faith.