In light of yesterday’s post (and the very helpful comments) I thought this would be interesting to some of you.
I was asked yesterday, after doing what’s called a “teaching concert” here at Estes Park, why I sign autographs. The questioner’s logic went like this: If you sign an autograph you’re saying your signature is worth something and that’s arrogant. I think you could also argue that it’s “celebrity,” one unhealthy step beyond simple “fame.”
So I explained. Years ago, seven to be exact, when I first started making music for a living, I wouldn’t sign autographs. And you know what? Some Christians asked me, Why don’t you sign autographs? The questioners’ logic went like this: If you don’t sign autographs you must think you’re too good for it and that’s arrogant. I think you could argue it’s acting like a “celebrity”, one unhealthy step beyond “fame.”
So what I started doing was signing autographs to please the latter group but writing under my scribble “IS. 26:8” to fend off the former group. Isaiah 26:8 says that what we should desire more than anything is the fame of God. People get my scribble but also a disclaimer reminding us both of the preeminence of God’s renown.
Of course this clever side-step of mine seems to please everyone but me. I sat at a long table of artists last night after our show to save children from poverty and signed t-shirts and CDs for an hour. One giggly girl and stammering guy after another, with the occasional “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe it’s you!” No amount of clever rationalization will ever make that comfortable for me.
But because you guys seem pretty clever, especially in the comments to yesterday’s post, I’m wondering what you’d do if you soft rocked in my shoes. What would you do after the show? What would you do if someone wanted their picture made with you, wanted you to sign their child or their arm or their CD? What would you do if they shrieked and trembled at shaking your hand?
It’s easy to spout philosophy on fame and celebrity, to draw lines about what is healthy and unhealthy, but it’s much harder for me to figure out what to do in the moment when I realize I’m being treated like a celebrity. What would you do?