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.