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Britney Spears and Church Burnout

This is an "interesting" observation:
What’s happening to Britney Spears has me thinking about how we treat the stars in our own communities. I think Britney is more of a victim of our culture than the cause of her own demise. I’ve seen this over and over again in my own life and in the lives of others in churches. This is roughly what happens:

  1. She shows that she’s gifted.
  2. She is invited to take responsibility as an opportunity to exercise or share this gift.
  3. She, usually being young in years or in the faith, gladly takes it on because she can use her gift and there’s some gratification in her gift being recognized.
  4. She is rewarded with praise, admiration, adoration, recognition, fame and sometimes money.
  5. With rewards and responsibility comes more responsibility, so this person is given more to do or the level of responsibility is increased. They become, necessarily, committed with verbal, written or unspoken expectations or contracts.
  6. Because this person was too young or immature to recognize her own boundaries or endurance and because she was unable or unwilling to say “No!”, they start to show signs of wear and tear.
  7. In the industry, this is met with more praise and the ethic of hard work paying off is preached, as well as the old idea that this is the cost of responsibility. Our curiosity into her humanness and vulnerability elevates her even further in our own eyes. In the church, this wear and tear is met with more prayer, encouragement, and servant-theology, service and sacrifice is preached even harder.
  8. Over time she begins to crack. This is evidenced by increased absences, embarrassing mistakes, illness, sloppiness, outspokenness and surprising behavior.
  9. This is met with either pity or outright condemnation. Correction is attempted. But we still expect her to produce and perform better than she ever has before.
  10. Finally, she crashes and burns. She totally loses it.
  11. The general reaction is scorn and blame. She is perceived and treated as though she is the scum of the earth because it is her own fault. She asked for it!

I see this with Britney. I see this is the church. All the time. These people are seen as failures, burn-outs, has-beens, dead wood… whatever. And it makes me sick because we are the ones who created them. I can’t see us stopping it either because we love to be entertained and the show must go on.

This is very sad. One of the very first things that I learned about ministry is that the people is always more important than the work. I have not yet fully learned this.



Wow, this is so so true... I need to learn more from Britney...

In church, I see so many people who're unwilling to say "No!" Also, I see so many people thinking they're superman or superwoman.

To me, the usual turning point when a person begins the burnout spiral is when he/she is involved in too many things, and suddenly loses his/her reason/motivation for doing those things.

Like you said, the church needs to recognize people not ministries. People are in church because they need God and would like to know God more in the context of a community. Not all ministries are essential. We have to learn to major in the major and minor in the minor.

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  • 正如林一峰話齋,閱讀,也是一種 state of mind。
  • 所以不限文字,還有聲音影像一切雜崩能東西,都在涉獵反思消化乾坤大挪移之列。
  • 看重的只有一個字:Insight


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