Last year, we got you to “Follow” @preachersnsneakers. The Instagram account features the designer kicks that high-profile preachers like to wear as they talk about how humility is greatly rewarded by heaven. What started as a fun and harmless catalog of the latest Yeezys and Fear of God collabs is now a platform that asks some serious moral questions.
That’s why there’s going to be a book. PreachersNSneakers: Authenticity in an Age of For-Profit and (Wannabe) Celebrities will be published in March 2021. “I thought I might get a few comments and laughs, but never thought PreachersNSneakers would become this hub of conversation about how parishioners and congregants view capitalism, consumerism, and celebrity in the church. It’s a discussion we’ve avoided far too long,” says the account’s anonymous owner, who goes by “Tyler Jones.”
The book tackles a lot of questions, including the following:
Should pastors grow wealthy off religion, and why do we get so angry when they do?
Do we really believe that divine blessings are monetary, or is that just religious wallpaper to hide our own greed?
Is there a space in Christendom for celebrities like Kanye and Bieber to exist without distorting the good news?
Is it wrong for someone like you to call out faith leaders online and leverage “cancel culture” to affect change?
These are just normal questions that come up when you see someone like evangelical pastor Chad Veach in Gucci track pants and $2,500 Nike Air Max Jordans. Veach’s flock includes Justin Bieber, Chris Pratt, Russell Wilson, so as Christianity Today points out, his sweet kicks might be thank you gifts from his crew.
Nevertheless, you have to pause for thought. The Catholic schoolgirl in me is intrigued, no doubt. Much of our religion classes emphasized how one must be unattached to earthly possessions and lavish materialism to hear God’s word truly. But, hey, sometimes when you look at a pair of Alexander McQueen Larry Beetle Ornament Sneakers, you can’t help but believe in the divine. “The Lord works in mysterious colorways,” says the @prechersnsneakers bio.
“If you scroll through the PreachersNSneakers comment section, you will witness bickering and name-calling, most of which is unhelpful. A calm, quiet, empathetic person will often join the conversation and change the tone. My hope is that we can become more like that person—willing to hear others out, regardless of how tempting it is to snap back with some snark,” says Jones. “My hope is that at the end, at a minimum, people are encouraged to stop and sit with the frictions they feel, to seek understanding, nurture empathy, and to develop grace toward those who may see, experience, and express faith differently.”