There was a part of me that did not want to mention Michael Jackson in a blog post because, to be honest, so many already were and I didn’t want to be trendy. But as I sit in my vintage GI-Joe shirt, wearing a Phillies hat, listening to the pre-release of Sugar Ray’s comeback album with my bright orange hybrid Hummer outside my window, I think why stop now? There’s no way to truly avoid being a cliché (because you’re a cliché to someone).
As predicted, sales of Michael Jackson’s music is sky-rocketing. If you eavesdrop in any conversation at any restaurant, you’ll hear, “It’s easier to listen to him now that he’s gone.” With the news that he was preparing for a 50 shows in London, years from now, people will say, “He was in the middle of a comeback when it happened”.
A few days ago, I saw a tweet from Emergent Village which appropriately asked, “Did you hear who died? Neda. #iranelection #neverforget #whatreallymatters.“ It was re-tweeted a couple times and it served as a needed reminder. I can never forget this video.
Like many, I’m one who tries to avoid the hype (or at least certain types of hype). I’ll admit, I’m inconsistent, most of us are. I didn’t want to get carried away with all the Jackson hysteria and was tired of expressing that I felt bad for Farrah Fawcett because she was forever linked with Michael Jackson. Farrah bears the honor of being the most recent display dying with class and dignity. At the same time, I’ve been praying, watching and talking about the crisis in Iran, but I’ve been reluctant to add my green overlay because many suffer by going without basic needs like where we are going for our mission trip. I have been very consumed by the preparation of our trip to Nassau, Bahamas to help rebuild an AIDS camp. I wondered when I was I going to remove this green overlay, when Iran became free? Would I add another one for AIDS? Is this what happens when we take things like Twitter too seriously or are these good problems to consider? It reminded me of the same problem I had when wearing the LiveStong bracelet. Fortunately, they were in such demand, I was able to give mine away. But lately, I’ve been changing my mind on these types of things.
I mourn the death of Michael Jackson because I am human. Admittedly it’s easier, I also mourn Farrah Fawcett. This ought to go for all suffering in Iran and all parts of the world and all parts of my neighborhood. This is how we’re wired, may I be consistent.
While I may not join every new group that bears a cause on Facebook, nor add every button/badge/etc. created, I think some things are good … for me. As subjective as it sounds, they remind me to remember the hurting, to pray for the hope of Christ and to be informed, to care, to give, and to think what can I do. I find myself wondering maybe it’s time to change things like overlays and find more ways to express sympathy and comradery. A similar thing can be said by the constant playing of Jackson’s music across FM stations. In fact, if I’m being consistent, I may even consider putting up that infamous Life Magazine Fawcett poster in my church office right now. I know this sounds subjective, maybe that’s why I like it but may we as Christians seek the will of God, follow Jesus and be led by the Spirit. May those who do not share my Christian convictions do their part to seek a less-selfish and better world.
In honesty, I believe it is healthy to avoid sensationalizing and exaggerating our feelings, but I believe it’s Christ-like to mourn with the mourners.