Thursday, September 15, 2005


[Excerpted from the full story on Ekklesia today] An academic conference on celebrity culture, taking place in Scotland this week, has confirmed soccer icon David Beckham as a ‘new messiah’ for a post-Christian generation. “Beckham … is all about salvation, redemption, even resurrection,” Dr Carlton Brick, a lecturer at the University of Paisley, near Glasgow, tells the relaunched Guardian newspaper today. Explains the academic, who teaches politics and sociology: “It is not me that is saying Beckham is a pseudo Christ-like figure, but it is how he is often portrayed, and it is how he portrays himself.”

Commented Simon Barrow from the UK Christian think tank Ekklesia: “I’m sure the tabloids will have a field day mocking academics for spinning long words around celebrity culture and setting up David Beckham as some kind of modern deity. But there is a serious point in all this...
Religious meaning has indeed morphed into popular culture, and that is both good news and bad news for church leaders. It shows that Christian language and iconography has staying power even in a strongly plural and secular culture. But it also demonstrates how Christian meaning can easily be absorbed into a consumer culture and robbed of its subversive, life-changing impact.”

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