Time magazine recently released their 2008 list of the world’s 100 most influential people. The list is divided into five categories: leaders and revolutionaries, heroes and pioneers, scientists and thinkers, artists and entertainers, builders and titans. There are both positive and negative influencers in all categories.
Some names on the list are expected: Oprah Winfrey, Steve Jobs, all three presidential hopefuls, Ben Bernanke, Muqtada Al-Sadr, Lance Armstrong, Tony Blair. Paul Allen (co-founder of Microsoft), filmmakers Joel & Ethan Coen, Lorne Michaels, George Clooney, Tyler Perry, and Rupert Murdoch.
Many are largely unknown, but have enormous impact on people and world affairs: Ashfaq Kayani (army chief in Pakistan), Oscar Pistorius (an Olympic hopeful who runs on prosthetic blades), Yoani Sanchez ( a twenty-something who clandestinely blogs from Cuba), Randy Pausch (the professor who gave his last lecture), Aung San Suu Kyi (Nobel Peace prize winner who has been imprisoned in Burma for the past 12 years), Mark Zuckerberg (creator of Facebook), Radiohead (British band who made their latest album available online for whatever price people wanted to pay)
Some names seem just plain silly (and very momentary): Miley Cyrus? Mariah Carey? Judd Apatow (raunchy movie writer)? Really?
Once again, I am struck by the absence of people who are publicly identified as Christians and especially evangelical Christians. I’m also struck by the increasing number of publicly identified Muslims. It’s also interesting that a number on the list are publicly identified as atheist or agnostic to faith.
I will never meet anybody on this list. But if these are the people influencing people in all sorts of ways, then doesn’t it make sense to pray that they might come to know and treasure Jesus?
So, I’m going to find a way to pray for the salvation of these influencers and look for others to add to the list, especially those who impact life in Lexington (Mayor Jim Newberry, Dudley Webb, UK President Lee Todd, the owners of The Dame, Coach Billy Gillispie, etc.) If I pray for 5 influencers a day, I can pray for all of these by name about 4 times this year.
What do you think? Who would you add as a cultural influencer?