Thursday, 16 July 2009

The Man in the Mirror

The sound of Thriller still haunts my every move around the grounds of our school. Any doubts about the survival of worship in the 21st century have been firmly put to rest by this latest outpouring of affection that I still witness on a daily basis.

School children manage to make an emotional bond with someone they have never met - thanks to the global media. And we all feel able to act as judge and jury - weighing up the pros and cons of a man because we feel we know him.

And isn't this precisely what has torn the man apart - amongst other things our obsession with commenting (judging). He has to either live up to hopelessly unrealistic expectations or feel the gaze of the world on every silly, unwise or possibly 'criminal' act (and there have been plenty of them).

Instead of gazing intently at this celebrating we don't know, maybe it is about time we took a look at "the man in the mirror". For me, Jacko is the Demoniac of Gerasa in Mark 5. Like the demoniac he has been demonised and deified in equal measure and has felt the full isolation of being so treated. Both tortured themselves - Jacko's re-enactment of racism on himself is quite extraordinary. Both were ultimately the victims of what society made them. Only when Jesus started to speak to the demonaic as a human being - neither god nor demon - was he rehabilitated. Maybe we should have given Jacko such a luxury. Instead, his death marked just another opportunity for all of us to worship at the cult of Michael Jackson.
Maybe it is time to stop gazing at the man in the tabloids and do what Jackson himself asked and "look at the man in mirror". Maybe we will disocver that our worship of celebrities is not as harmless as we like to think.
Incidently, did you know that Jacko was a JW and he based the song "man in the mirror" on James 1:23 - "anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and after looking at himself, goes away immediately and forgets what he looks like." Lets not forget the man in the mirror!

What is Fundamentalism?

Here are a few suggestions I quite like:

"a greater concern to provide evidence for the authenticity of biblical passages than to discover their religious significance." (Barr)

fundamentalists "emphasis rational apprehension of the biblical text over subjective apprehension of the divine." (Boone)

"fundamentalists are evangelicals who are angry about something!" (Marsden)