As many of us have read, the news of Christian comedian John Crist and his accusations of sexual harassment and using his status as a celebrity to manipulate other women, followed by his confession, have (once again) seen a Christian personality in the news again for egregiously sinful behavior and sent shock waves through the Christian community and beyond.
I say “shock waves”–yet each time something of this nature happens, the crests of those “waves” are lower and lower each time. For many of us, we become more guarded when it comes to whom we follow. Ed Stetzer’s words reflect many of our thoughts:
“Disappointed, yes, but unfortunately my ability to be surprised by these stories ran out long ago. Apparently, there is no end to the public failures of Christian leaders and influencers.”Ed Stetzer, “John Crist, Failure, and Warnings to Heed for Christian Leaders.”
Crist penned a confession and has cancelled the rest of his 2019 tour dates.
Personally, I liked most of Crist’s work. As one who has spent a lifetime in church world, and the last almost 28 years in ministry in church world, much of what Crist performed was a spot-on parody of this niche in our culture that kept everything lighthearted. Even now, as I think of some of his stand-up and videos, I smile.
But now those smiles are turned to sadness–and to prayer that he (and all of us) will see a number of things:
- We must pray for the victims who, by all accounts, tried to let others know, but were shunned in some fashion. We must continue to take these allegations seriously, do our due diligence, then act on the truth. And while the investigation is taking place, put them on leave (if you’re in a church setting) until the investigation is complete.
- God knows our most private thoughts and sins, which will find us out. What we do in private affects us in public–it’s subtle, but significant. “Sin is crouching at the door; it desires to have you” (Genesis 4:7). Satan is a roaring lion seeking someone to devour, so we must resist him (1 Peter 5:8).
- The ambition toward being a celebrity can be a curse for those whose heart is geared toward that ambition. Many toil in the work of the Kingdom, but inwardly desire to a “somebody” in church world and beyond. Be careful for what you ask.
- Martin Luther tells us that the Christian life is a daily life of repentance. We pray for the work of the Spirit in John Crist’s life, yes, and we continue to pray for the work of the Spirit in our own lives–every single day. The goal is not for Crist to get back on the circuit, but for him to repent of his sins, confess those sins to the ones he victimized, and stay under the guidance and accountability of a local church and their pastors/elders.
- Pray for your leaders and influencers in the Christian community. The temptations they (we) face are numerous. Paul continually asked for prayer (Ephesians 6:17-20; Colossians 4:2-6, et al) not only for the Word to go out, for the Spirit to work within!
Christ comes along to teach us much–sometimes through successes, sometimes through failure. Pray for John–and process these lessons in your own hearts as well.