Posts Tagged ‘Michael Jackson’

So, I have a Mea Culpa. It’s been way too long since we had an episode of our award-winning brickhouse series, “God Sighting of the Month.”

We had a real trend working. God, Jesus and the Virgin Mary were routinely making cameos in saltine crackers, voyeuristically standing in a hospital window and even making music in the frets of guitars. But, I suppose the telestial troika took the summer off for the holy cottage in the Hamptons because nothing has been in the news.

Not a Cheeto, a slab of jelly with a halo or even some dude blowing his nose and investigating the holiness inside.

Then it hit me. Michael Jackson died! Maybe you heard?

Wacko Jacko is back?!

Wacko Jacko is back?! Maybe?

And with the way dolts in this world deified him (I mean, he was great, but God? Meh?) it made sense. The Prince of Peace must be giving the King of Pop his just desserts.

How do I know? Check this oddball story out of (where else) California where a Stockton family saw an image of God… Michael Jackson in a tree stump.

Although I’m thankful we are consolidating offering up our weekly “Cross Eyed” series and continuing “GSOTM,” seriously?!

These people are barking mad. (Yeah, I have been waiting all week for that line. Why do you ask?)

Here’s Felix Garcia, a 22-year-old resident of Stockton, out trimming his shrubs and like Saul of Tarsus… BAM! There was his revelation, the Man in the Birch Stump Mirror.

And now, half of Nor-Cal is taking numbers to see the hallowed tree. Some taking pictures. Others, plain curiosity. And then there is this nitwit:

“Because Michael Jackson was an icon to us,” said one neighbor. “To Stockton, Michael Jackson meant more to us than Jesus, to some people. I think they’re both about even.”

I realize is face was tougher than day-old leather, but resembling a tree? Really?

And then… well, you read the quote. I can’t go on. I’m just going back to my iPod and resist the temptation to say this is the most “Off the Wall” story I’ve heard in a while. 🙂

So, Michael Jackson was buried(ish) on global TV in front of more than 20,000 in attendance at the farewell concert tour… eh, memorial service.

It was a somber time for a genius entertainer (again, were you not entertained despite it all), and the world will never forget him. Well, not until the press forgets him first. Get this:

  • Look five rows back from the front. Who wears red to a funeral?! Seriously? Mr. Blackwell won't be there.

    Look five rows back from the front. What fool wears red to a funeral?! Seriously?! Mr. Blackwell ain't going to be there.

    The television show… eh, memorial (I keep doing that) drew almost 31 million people in viewership. Now, now, before you MJ fans start holding up your sequenced-gloved pointer finger to Jesus shouting, “Number 1!” it was two million less than Princess Diana’s funeral and four million less than President Ronald Reagan’s.

  • 19 television networks around the globe carried the thing! 19! I would be amazed, but hey, I can watch a car chase one five different networks from my couch, so not that impressive.
  • It cost the city of Los Angeles more than $4 million. Well, how’s that whole California budget crisis going now, Governator?! At end of his term, I doubt “he’ll be baaaack.”
  • The L.A. Mayor is asking the city to pay for it. No really, check the link if you’re so inclined. You know, here’s a thought. With all the talent fees that were represented on that stage at the Staples Center, maybe defer some of those costs… or better yet, take up a love offering. Yeah, that’ll happen. (P.S. Los Angeles has only raised $17,000. Keep it classy, L.A. We love it!)
  • There is now a 1,500-word resolution in the U.S. Congress to call Michael Jackson a “global humanitarian.” Again, no really. Fitting this is coming from the U.S. Foreign Relations Committee. We really are the World, eh?
  • And now, the lead spoke in the news cycle is who designed MJ’s suit fit for burial. Sigh. Do people really care about this mess? “Hey Mike’s mama? Who is he wearing?”

Okay, that was my rant. Now, for some Good News. If you were one of the 31 million who watched it, and some of the many more who scanned by one of the many channels… did you see Lionel Richie?

Since we know it was a concert, and a fancy speaking opportunity for Al not-so-Sharp-ton, Lionel made this thing what it was supposed to be – CHURCH!

My man solemnly took the stage, blew off the dust from one of hits back in the day with the great Commodores and sang… “Jesus is Love.”

As soon as those ivories began playing, I knew it! So, I’m sure, like so many others, my hands went upward and began getting my praise on! I don’t care the source. If Jesus glorified, you better recognize.

And if he can use an ass (It’s biblical, just sayin’), I’m positive he can use someone from Hollywood.

The point is this before we get to the entertainment portion of the post – and yes, that is the brilliant video from Lionel – while everyone else was posing for their camera angle, trying to get on American Idol and muggin’ for the millions watching TV, Lionel Richie understood what they needed – a word, a touch from God.

The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him. (Nahum 1:7 NIV)

No. He's dead, but I can introduce you to someone who is alive.

No. Sorry. He is dead, but I can introduce you to someone who is alive if you need.

Sundry motives and opportunism set aside, there was some hurting people in that crowd. His fans, yes. His family, more so. His kids, definitely.

And among the paparazzi, the miserable profiteers (note the picture) and the panderers, I pray those kids heard Lionel Richie sing and saw him gesticulate to the heavens.

There was praise on that stage. There was emotion in his heart. And there was God in his mouth.

Jesus is love… and he will never let you down. Hit it, Lionel.

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 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.