Pete Ward has an essay here on the nature of celebrity in culture and missiological implications. There are some interesting points raised and I value several of the observations and critic of celebrity as an entity. However when it comes to exploring the missional nature it is again theologically/missionally conservative, and IMHO falls far short of genuine missional application. His section on Beyond Functional Equivalence is well written but is rooted in a quasi imperialistic approach to missional engagement masquerading as a radical movement. Pete suggests we must “take this capital into account” and whilst he recognises the “contested meanings” around celebrity provide a fruitful area for engagement it is very much on re-interpretative terms rather than from any position of powerlessness or that our doctrines could be wrong and need re-interpreting through genuine dialogue with the people shaped by the culture.
I am not arguing all culture is good, but equally neither is all doctrine. I simply want to hold the culture with the reverence it is due and as an equal partner with the bible and tradition in the “contested” space that non imperialistic mission should inhabit.
I hope the book that is due to follow the article will address some of these issues, but I wonder if there is an inherent imperialism or notion that we have our doctrines right, rooted in the theological or publishing culture that would never let a book like this get written. As underlying any text would be the need for an heretical imperative as that is part of what enables real dialogue in the contested space of missional engagement.