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Preachers'N'Sneakers

Pastor’s Bookshelf - Welcome to my bookshelf!

Each month I will discuss a recent book that I’ve finished.

This time I’d like to talk about

Preachers’N’Sneakers

By Ben Kirby

This is a bit of an unusual recommendation - but I definitely think it’s an area of Christian Life that’s worth exploring. A few years ago a young man named Ben Kirby created an instagram account called “PreachersNSneakers” where he would post pictures of mega church pastors, or other famous Christian types and point out how much their outfits cost. The account exploded in popularity, with over three hundred THOUSAND followers, which got covered in mainstream media all over the country and the world.


In his personal life, Ben Kirby has made sneakers a hobby. Collecting and wearing his favorite styles, you wouldn’t believe what some of these shoes are worth. As such, when he saw some of these super famous pastors wearing VERY expensive kicks - he thought it worth pointing out. He had no idea just how strongly it would resonate with people, and the cultural commentary that would emerge.

It’s hard to describe just how massive PreachersNSneakers has gotten - from the website to the podcast, celebrities wearing the merch on the red carpet and even famous tv hosts writing the forward of the book (Joel McHale, who I did NOT know was a Christian before I read it).

Ben is not a pastor or a seminary professor, he’s not a theological scholar and he’s not even a perfect human being. He’s just a christian man who happened to really like sneakers, who pointed out something on instagram and started a MASSIVE cultural commentary on hypocrisy and the church.


The book is really great, including some reflections and insights that I have never seen before. I think the idea that resonated with me the most is that the primary function of certain social media sites (particularly instagram) seems to be the cultivation and creation of envy. Whether it’s creating envy in OUR hearts, or it’s our posts creating envy in OTHERS - the very purpose of the platform is something we need to pay attention to.


I would also encourage you, not just to check out his book, but his instagram page - “preachersnsneakers”. You’ll see post after post of pastors and other church leaders with descriptions and links to how much their outfit costs, and then you’ll see in the comments an intense dialogue about hypocrisy and authenticity, challenging and defending church leadership and their decisions.


I picked up the book because I had been reading a lot of really heavy stuff (thank you CS Lewis and Tim Keller) - and I just wanted something light hearted. I was surprised by the thoughtful insights, and even more surprised at how much my own heart was challenged to think more deeply about greed, envy, church leadership and the “for-profit” models of the church we use in the modern world.


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