If I hear Darth Vader and the guy who invented Members Only jackets are gone, and the 80s will officially be over. And for some people, it already is with the passing of the self-entitled “King of Pop.”
Michael Jackson was many things to many people. There wasn’t a single person alive with the ability to speak who didn’t have an opinion on this man. And who was the last person that could say that?
His music was always there – and so were the harrowing stories – and then in a flash, all we had was his music because the man was gone. But despite the rumor mill spinning like a wheel in the middle of the Daytona 500, let me ask you something:
In the words of the hallowed Maximus Dedimus Meridius, “Were you not entertained?”
When Google crashed – yeah, Google – as a result of people trolling for insight on Michael Jackson’s death, one of quickest things that happened was downloading his music.
Folk weren’t searching for latest on pedophilia, homosexuality or really bad outfits looking like Captain Crunch.
No, it was the music, because after the source is gone, what’s left is the legacy.
It’s because people don’t really appreciate and cherish items while they are in front of their face.
Jesus people, we can learn something from this mayhem. Much was the case with Jesus and if Ridley Scott was around in Gethsemane, perhaps Christ’s words would have been echoed in a gladiatorial coliseum.
Consider the miracles. The feats of mercy. The love shown despite circumstances. Followers of Christ, “Were you not entertained?”
Why wait until it’s too late to appreciate what we have? Why wait until folk can’t discuss different ideas and ruminate opposing views to simply talk facts? Remove said things and that’s when the memories are beholden to those who had them – whether about Jesus or, in this case only, Michael Jackson.
But, as a body of Christ, we understand we are not here to live for self, but for God. We don’t worry about tomorrow, but today. We exist to serve Jesus, not man.
And so, to give closure to the countless millions in the Church who still adored Michael Jackson despite the terrible stories, I’ll ask the question out loud that you’re afraid to ask at this week’s Bible study, “Was he a Christian?”
Without question, Jackson was on a quest of “spirituality.” But where did it lead him?
Thanks to Another Brick in the Wall, Get Religion, we read a gripping article about that very thing and Michael’s troubled soul who traipsed through a Kingdom’s Hall and ended up (allegedly) in a Mosque.
And now, thanks to his brother Jermaine, that’s possibly his lasting legacy on the religious map:
If “Allah is with him always,” the King of Pop may have more issues than the debt he left behind.
He would be seen wearing a face-covering burga – for some, it was religious practice and for others, it was plastic surgery run-a-muck.
And all the while, no one seemed to care about his soul… just keep cranking out that legendary music, Michael… or however you are spelling it now.
Some consider a person’s doxology should be as private as his vote, but if you are saved, that commitment should be as public as what color you are. [Yes, there's a joke there considering the topic, but I'll reserve that at this time :)]
However, it was painfully obvious to those of us who considered ourselves “fans” that Jackson was not comfortable in his own skin.
Yeah, there’s the vicious self-altering “Before and After” pictures, but that struggle goes to deeper depths than just debates about melanin.
Again, you don’t go from the Watchtower, tour the Bible and end up on a Musallah and not have plaguing questions about God, Jesus and your eternal demise.
Jackson clearly was riddled with those questions, and he like so many before him, had a public life of good works to help him sleep well at night. From “We are the World” to the amazing benefits he did for children with life-threatening disease, but he didn’t take those with him.
Sure, we all talk about them now, but works aren’t enough, as Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us.
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.
Who was there to tell him that? Jesse? Al? A day late and a dollar short.
He was 8 years old singing with his brothers on national TV. He lived his life on stage, in front of cameras and under the eye of speculation.
And in a life of zoo animals, little children and corny dogs (otherwise known as Neverland), it’s no surprise there wasn’t someone of a Christ-like mindset to tell him about the Lord.
Back to TMatt and the “Get Religion” piece:
So what does this add up to, in a tragic life that begins with — Jackson said — years of physical abuse as a child, followed by years under the knife of doctors, lawyers, psychologists and paparazzi? There is a religion ghost here, or two. But does that mean that there is a religion thread throughout this troubled life, other than yearning and confusion?
Candlelight vigils. 24/7 Michael music on local radio. Outstanding tributes on national TV (Shout out to the BET Awards. Very nice). All are necessary for this pop music legend, but it’s not enough if that decision for Christ wasn’t made.
Heck, even the Vatican’s newspaper has dubbed Jackson the “Black Elvis”. Well, not really, but they did call him “IMMORTAL!” The Vatican! Seriously?!
“But will he really be dead? It wouldn’t be surprising if, in a few years, he was spotted in a gas station in Memphis, perhaps with his former father-in-law Elvis Presley, another of those myths – like Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix or John Lennon – that never die in the imagination of their fans. And Michael Jackson, who died yesterday at the age of fifty, is definitely a pop music legend.”
But the eternal question is “What was the King of Pop to the Prince of Peace and the King of Kings?”
And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment (Hebrews 9:27 NKJV).
Ah well, who knows? But, as you can see to the original opine, he was many things to many people.
And if those aforementioned, his friends or even his own parents didn’t care enough to ask about his relationship with Jesus Christ, I suppose the only question they’re left asking is, “Were they not entertained?”
Until the eternal answer is confirmed – and it won’t be this side of heaven – we will all have his remarkable music and continue to be entertained by the music behind the man… not the other way around.