Posts Tagged ‘Al Sharpton’

First, it was Ed McMahon. Then, Farrah Fawcett. Now, Michael Jackson.

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?

Even Michael looked like this from time to time

Even Michael looked like this from time to time

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.

Why now?

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.

If you didn’t like “Don’t Stop ‘Till You Get Enough” or “Working Day and Night” while he was alive (and this reporter SHO’ NUFF did), why rush to the Net and flush Amazon.com out of stock now?

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.

Probably looking for Jesus there too

Probably looking for Jesus there too

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?

He had a knowledge of the Bible. Listen to the “Man in the Mirror“, read James 1:22-25 and you tell me. But was it a full understanding that Jesus is Lord?

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.

Late last year, reports were viral and contagious as it was said Michael Jackson took the shahada and was now known as “Mikaeel.”

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?

To be seen soon in St. Peter's Basilica?!

To be seen soon in St. Peter's Basilica?!

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.

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Despite the ramblings of ordained brain-dead dolts like Shirley Caesar, this past presidential election was historic for several reasons – mainly because there is a black man (well, half black but you infer the reverence) in the White House.

And although I am a premiere oppugnant about pastors discussing their political preference in the pulpit, I understand the private gala affairs black pastors everywhere held in their homes watching the BarackStar accept his nomination before the throngs in Chicago.

obama-hypeYou see, before they were men of the cloth – they were men, black men, many of which can remember the plight of the Civil Rights Movement. All of which are susceptible to believing the hype amidst pomp and circumstance in this election.

So when I read quotes like this in this riveting New York Times story, I empathetically and understandably grant the levity:

“It’s ushered in a new generation of leadership,” said Mr. Brawley, 40, the incoming pastor of Saint Paul Community Baptist Church in Brooklyn. “It symbolizes the Moses generation passing the baton to the Joshua generation. So the Obama presidency presents us with both an opportunity and a challenge.

Of course it’s a challenge because it’s a mass changing of the guard. There are millions of pairs of shoes to fill. Civil rights heroes from the pulpit (affection aside for the most annoying) like Jackson, Sharpton, Calvin Butts and Floyd Flake are about to close a friggin’ thick chapter in a book entitled, “We are still oppressed.”

And now their collection of racially fueled sermons are growing irrelevant, it’s time they give white pastors a shot at reaching across the aisle, so to speak.

“It will open them up for more dialogue with white churches,” he said, “and it will open up white churches for more dialogue with them. You will have a generation of black ministers who want to embrace the reconciliation embodied by Obama. They haven’t been hurt so badly by racial segregation that they can’t reach out with a little more openness and a little less fear than I might have.”

“Generation of black ministers” is code for “old crumudgeons who are not quite bitter to ignore any attempt reputable white pastors may have at serving a colorless, genderless, hate-less God.”

The hate of the 60s cuts deep from some folk, but to generalize all people on account of the sins of a few is just as sinful as committing those sins on account of skin tone in the first place.

Obama being in office will do a lot for – and against – this country depending on who you ask about change. However, the one thing his face will do for future pastors is give hope to many spiritual leaders who believe progress in this country starts and stops by how you look.

“The onus is now on the black church to use the iconic example of President Obama to challenge our own ranks,” he put it. “We have a president who looks like us. The question is, how much do we look like him?”

There is nothing more humorous than someone abusing the English language and believing they are contributing to it [COUGH… Al Shaprton… Jesse Jackson… COUGH].

Take the classic skit, “Booked on Phonics” from ‘In Living Color’ (apologies to Wall watchers for the risque content, but it was the only one I could find.)

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That hilarity reminded me of something I saw in the news recently from the Pew Forum. You see, even religious groups find themselves in a quandary of saying what they believe, and believing they need to take Noah Webster out on a date.

You see, according to this chart given in the aforementioned report, many groups of people believe in God but may not follow his word implicitly. And that includes…

ATHEISTS and AGNOSTICS. Um, HUH?!

Let me break this down for you, free thinkers out there. You see, the derivative of these controversial words are Greek:

  • “Atheos” meaning “to deny the gods.” A is an article in speech meaning “without” and Theos means “God”.
  • And then there is “Agnostos” meaning “unknowable” from a meaning “without” and Gnostos meaning “knowledge”.

That said, referring to this slick graph, 21 percent of Atheists “BELIEVE IN GOD”, as do 55 percent of reported Agnostics.

Huh? I suggest next time these etymology-impaired people decide to ascribe to a particular religious school of thought, figure out what it means. Otherwise, we’ll just assume you need prayer because you have no clue WHAT you believe (like now).

Amazing how certain stories never get mentioned by a certain [COUGH… biased… ultra liberal media… slanted… COUGH] audience. Nonetheless, it’s Wall worthy because something as brazen as Al Sharpton’s comment gets swept under the rug and over everyone’s numb conscience on the issue.

Did you see catch this talk on the tube concerning Al (shouldn’t be called Rev. any longer because the last cloth he saw wasn’t around his neck, but rather used a wiping device) Sharpton, the respected and noted Roland Martin and Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins? If not, click, enjoy and carry on the post:

  1. First and foremost, yes ladies, Anderson is gay. Rumors floated back when he was host of ABC’s “The Mole” (anyone?). Then, Cooper was the subject of a much discussed Out magazine cover last year that named the news anchor and Jodie Foster among the 50 most powerful gay men and women in America. Not such a stunner, but his mom would be proud because those Gloria Vanderbilt jeans are probably still in his closet (Oh come on. We’re just funnin’, no?)
  2. Al, your work in the 60s and on into today for blacks everywhere has been noted, welcomed, appreciated and honored. And I thank you. But after two failed presidential bids, get the picture. Either go back to the pulpit or continue your travesty of a political career. You sir, are not someone that can pat your head and rub your tummy simultaneously.
  3. Kudos to Al for having the chutzpah to bring that up in the first place. You catch that nervous laughter from the cameramen and producers off-screen? Nice.
  4. What about Tony Perkins’ comment? “I would rather keep him from going [to hell].” Good for you, Tony. But um, you weren’t there for relief because the dire southern wind – known as Al – had the floor.
  5. And there’s Anderson’s quip. “I am personally not that concerned about [the afterlife and my position in it].” Unlike some folk in America, I like Anderson’s broadcast. Although he has writers, some of those questions are original and poignant. I’ve seen the guy in action, and he is serious about news. However, MEMO to Anderson Cooper 360: Unless you do a 180 into a prayer for salvation, you will be MUCH MORE concerned about hell than you think.

2008 has been an humdinger for political news.

What’s entertaining for the Church is WE (Wall Watchers) are in the center of most of the headlines. So many items, so little space. But suffice to say, HiScrivener will scour search engines for all the news about politics, how it affects the Church and what it says to us.

Ladies and gentlemen, Wall Watchers everywhere, may I present M.O.V.E. 2008

In other words, “McCain & Obama Vie for Evangelicals in 2008.” I know, stick to your day job. Anywhoo.

We began MOVE 2008 with “Obama’s Jesus O’rama” but it seems the floodgates have broke and these candidates will do anything to get their strategic spin doctorized… er, candid, heartfelt comments in front of the Church.

Let’s pick up with this story posted in Jake Tapper’s “Political Punch” of ABC News notoriety (and one of my personal faves). Evidently, there’s another scriptural faux pas as Barack Obama has seemed to find a way on Dr. James Dobson’s evangelical and political dander.

And even if we did have only Christians in our midst, if we expelled every non-Christian from the United States of America, whose Christianity would we teach in the schools?” Obama asked. “Would we go with James Dobson’s, or Al Sharpton’s? Which passages of Scripture should guide our public policy? Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is ok and that eating shellfish is abomination? How about Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith? Or should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount – a passage that is so radical that it’s doubtful that our own Defense Department would survive its application? So before we get carried away, let’s read our bibles. Folks haven’t been reading their bibles.

Although Obama is correct about the antiquity of the Old Testament, don’t be fooled by the words. What makes the Bible infallible is there are ageless principles behind every allegory and parable.

For example, “shellfish is an abomination.” Actually, Moses said it was unclean. There wasn’t Pepto Bismol back then, Barack. So to eat tons of shrimp, which eat what fish EAT (you know what I’m sayin’), may upset the tummy of your friendly Israelite.

Today, not to heed our diet and pay attention to what we put in our mouth… and what (enter your hunted and edible indulgence here) puts in its mouth is lunacy. Ask Muslims about pigs and you’ll see what I mean. Oh wait… nevermind.

Despite that, what’s this buffoonery about the Sermon on the Mount? So, all this crap about passivity, loving your neighbor, prayer and not being judgmental just isn’t with your party’s ideology, eh?

You’re a democrat, right? Fighting for civil rights, judging no one for acts, looks or behavior and oh yeah, STOPPING WAR (as in Iraq)? None of that sounds like anything you have espousing lately? Man, I need to check the tape.

You’re right, just radical. Shivering, ain’t it? Nitwit.

Well, since you and McCain are looking for doorsteps to any church or preacher who will listen, let’s touch on something else that dreaded mountaintop message discusses (and something all Wall Watchers should note):

Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. (Matthew 7:15)

Both of you, pay attention. There is nothing worse than someone who can only recite the Lord’s Prayer telling a TRUE Christian about Jesus. That’s like these 400 lb. armchair quarterbacks discussing effective play calling with anyone whose last name is MANNING.

It’s offensive, and not that bright. Unfortunately, people voting this year are so hungry for inspiration and hope, they’ll follow like sheep to slaughter to hear anyone quoting something from a book known for just that… inspiration and hope.

If you consider yourself a Christian, read between the lines… and vote on the issues. Those are what will affect your pocketbook and family. Not a folding chair on either side of the political aisle.

Let’s MOVE ON! If you find any news for this series, shout.