Yes, that is a very dated reference to a Michael W. Smith album, one of the only two that I can stomach. This post is inspired by the words given by my good friend Christina Whitehouse-Suggs this past Sunday. Really, if you're not following her on Twitter or reading her blog, you're cheating yourself.
I used to put people on pedestals. A lot. I was the one who would ape Wayne and Garth in my heart and think "I'm not worthy! I'm not worthy!" when I would consider placing myself on their level. Youth ministry? No way am I as good as X. Speaking in church? Please; X has me beat. As a classroom teacher? I am not even worthy to dust the erasers of X.
And I'm kidding myself when I refer to my pedestaling in the past tense; today, if you were to pick three random people whose blogs I read and put my name in with theirs as someone who is a good writer, I would get all "aw, shucks"-ish and wave my hand dismissing your compliment. Part of this comes from growing up in the South, and being force-fed politeness. Part of this comes from growing up in church, and being force-fed humility. And to be honest, a large part of it extends from an at-times low sense of self-esteem.
However, we have an inherent drive in our hearts to worship something, as well as an ill-placed desire in our hearts to BE worshipped. And in there lies part of the true danger of pedestals.
When we place someone on a pedestal - mentors, teachers, pastors, writers, Joss Whedon - we put them in the position of forcing them to have to "come down" to our level at some point. Most of the time, they know that "level" is both literal and figurative in where we need to be in order to interact with us. Yet we keep trying to put them back up where we believe they belong, because we feel far more comfortable in looking up than in looking them in the eye. As an equal.
When we allow ourselves be placed on a pedestal, although whatever genuine humility we possess may try to stop it, there's something inside us that enjoys the sensation of rising above. Of being considered good. Better. Inspiring.
But no matter what your pedestal is made of - concrete, cement, lies - at some point, something will cause you to fall. The ground will shake. The foundation will crack. And your pedestal, and your ego, will come tumbling, with the danger of taking down the people who were gathered around looking up at you.
Only One that I know of was worthy to be lifted up, and we put Him there: first to crucify Him, and later to celebrate His resurrection and the forgiveness of our sins. And even though we try at times to put Him back up - putting Him "in His place," so to speak - He came down. And He continues to come down, time and again, to interact with us. To look us in the eyes. To let us touch His side. To feel His hands.
To call us beloved.
Who do you have placed on a pedestal?