The Complexities for a Christian around the Death of Michael Jackson

I need to confess that much of my reaction to Michael Jackson’s death hasn’t much reflected the spirit of Jesus.   The interesting thoughts here convicted me on this account.  (O.K.  Maybe it was the Holy Spirit convicting me through that piece of writing… However it works, it doesn’t change the basic point.)

After reading that post, and realizing that my response is lacking, I’m still left a bit empty around just what an appropriate response is.   Should we speak well of the dead merely because they are dead?  Or do we have an obligation to speak the truths we see, even if these truths are not very nice?  Is Vengance the Lords?  Or should we look out for the orphans and widows?

The answer to all these questions is yes.  The problem is that I’m not sure that the answer to all of them can be yes at the same time.  The blog linked to above hints at something central to all this.   The content of of our heart, the spirit in whih we’re acting, that may well be more important than what we actually do or say.

On the one hand,  to say that our hearts need to be filled with Christ’s love,  this doesn’t actually say what we should do.  But in some other way, if in fact our hearts are filled with Christ’s love, whatever we do, it’ll turn out to be the right thing.  (For some reasons, I’m thinking about Bob Marley: Don’t worry/ about a thing/ you know every little thing/ gonna be all right now…)

I think maybe two people, acting in love, they might end up taking two distinctly opposite courses in this case.   This is probably o.k.  Because the thing is, people know it when we’re acting in love and when we’re not.  And when we’re acting in love, there are some places we won’t go, some things we won’t say, some things we won’t do.  If we stay out of these “places” I think that we’re o.k.

Regardless of what specific course we take, I think several things will be universal, if we first act from Christ’s love:

No matter how you slice it, the whole thing is tragic.  I suspect that if we act in love whatever we do or say or will be coloured by this brute fact: There are so many things about the whole affair which is tragic.

On the one hand, I think we need to seperate his art from his actions: It’s perfectally plausible that he was a brilliant artist and still did horrible things.  And yet, someone who chooses to be an entertainer chooses a field where we (rightly or wrongly) hold them up to more scrutiny than a plumber, or an accountant.

But even this consideration is compounded by the fact that his course was in some (perhaps minor) way charted for him.  When he was a child he was thrust into the limelight.  His childhood was stolen from him.  But at some point, we just have to start holding people accountable for their decisions, even if they’ve gone through tough stuff.

Finally, there is the fact that he has not been convicted of wrong-doing.  But it’s a valid question: if he’d had less money and fame, would he have been?

I guess this all leaves me throwing my hands up in the air.  And realizing that if I don’t have anything helpful to say I should probably just keep my big mouth closed about the whole thing.


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The stories that speak to our soul begin at a home where things are good. Cinderella is happy with her father. The three little pigs have grown up and are ready to move on. Bilbo Baggins knows his shire. Adam and Eve walk with God in the garden. My story isn’t much different. There was a time and a place where it was so good. There was a community for me. And there was joy. We were filled with a sincere desire to do what God wanted us to do. We possessed explanations and understandings that went a certain distance. We offered security and tradition and laughter. For a lot of years, that was enough. I have this sense that it was also necessary. I have this surety, now, that it certainly wasn’t everything. There were some things that became increasingly problematic as time went by. There was a desire to package things up so very neatly. Sunday morning services were efficient and strategic. Responses to differences of opinion were premeditated. Formula began to feel more important than being real. A real desire for everybody to be one of us, but also a real sense that there is an us, and there is a them. They carried a regret that it has to be this way, but deeper than this regret was a surety that this is how it is. I began to recognize that there was a cost of admission to that group. There were people who sat at the door, collecting it. Those people wished they didn’t have to. But I guess they felt like they did have to. They let some people in, and they left others out. There was a provisional membership. My friends did possess a desire to accommodate people that are different… But it would be best for everyone concerned if they were only a little bit different. I did make many steps forward in this place. Before I went there, there were lies that I believed. Some of the things that I learned there, I still hold on to. But that place is not my home anymore. Those people are not my community anymore. There were times it was hard. I am engaged in a different community now. And I am working hard at finding a place in many different places now, embracing many different kind of families. I don’t always get it right. I am trying and I am learning and I am moving foreward. I have this sense that I am not alone in these experiences. I believe that we are tribe and we are growing. We are pilgrims, looking for a new holy land. Perhaps we won’t settle on the same spot of land. But if you’ve read this far, I am thinking that we are probably headed in the same general direction. I have begun this blog to talk about where my journey is taking me. In every space, we find people who help us along. And maybe we can get to know each other, here. We embrace ideas that provide a structure for the things we believe, and perhaps we can share these too. Maybe we can form a group, a tribe, a community, if we can figure out a way to work through the shadow of these kinds of groups, if we can bigger than the us-and-them ideas that have caused so much trouble in the past. As important as they are, I think the very nature of online interactions will lend itself to something equally powerful. I am stumbling onto these practices that my grandfathers and great grandfathers in the faith engaged in. I am learning about these attitudes and intuitions are so different than the kinds of things we call doctrine today. I don’t know about you, but I am running out of patience, and even interest, in conversations about doctrine. I hope that maybe you’ll share a little something about where your journey is taking you, and maybe our common joys and challenges might help each other along, and we might lift each other up. Thanks for doing this journey with me.

6 thoughts on “The Complexities for a Christian around the Death of Michael Jackson”

  1. yea, it’s a strange thing to deal with celebrity.

    I’ve been reading up on some of the people who actually knew Michael. Some of their articles have been pretty interesting. They seem to make him more human, faults and all, and it’s helped to put things into perspective.

    I’d love to see what Steve Harvey has to say- they seemed pretty tight and he usually has a funny way of ‘splaining stuff.


  2. That’s a really good point– the idea that those close to him ought to have an interesting perspective…
    Who is Steve Harvey? I’m sometimes pop culture illiterate, but that name is not familiar to me.


  3. Steve Harvey is one of the “Kings of Comedy.”

    You can google some of his videos, he doesn’t some funny stuff regarding Michael Jackson. He also did an interview with him on the radio.


  4. No difference between Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, and the other, well, 146.000 people that die every 24 hours. The more visible ones just give us something to talk about.

    Don’t guilt-trip yourself over every item of uncharitable opinion that criss-crosses your brain matrix. God already knows everything you and I are thinking at every micro-moment. In fact he knows before, during, after, why, and how we think. Best thing to do is keep your eyes on Jesus. The longer, the harder, and the more uninterruptedly we keep our gaze directed at Him, the less we have in the way of opportuinity to grieve the Holy Spirit, or blame ourselves and feel wormish about the things we do. Scripture says that every hair of our heads is counted, not every brain fart. Glory to God, who alone loves us.


  5. Rabbi Shmunley ask Micheal jackson if he had a personal relationship with Jesus. Michael said absolutely! When Oprah interview Lisa Marie she said that Michael had the same light and pure love that her father had. I believe Michael was saved. I don’t believe he hurt anyone. The FBI reveal their reports on the internet and they could not find any thing on him. Michael found out about the illuminati and the New World Order and tommy moltey involment in it . When he told press about it the very next day Michael wrote his will. He knew that we are living in the last days . He also knew his life was in danger. Then is when he plan to disappear. The day of the memorial the Pope in Rome was signing a docment saying he wanted the world to become a One World Goverment. Presidant Oboma was there too. So we need to be praying for our lost love ones because Jesus is fixting to split the eastern sky.


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