Michael Jackson’s Band Wagon

June 26, 2009

If you don’t mind, I’d rather toss Michael under the band wagon.

For many of us, yesterday’s bigger loss was the death of Farrah Fawcett who finally lost her three year battle with cancer. Even with her tremendous suffering, Farrah had the courage to put together a documentary of her struggle to demonstrate the importance of not giving up.

And what was Michael Jackson doing during the last three years? I really don’t know and I obviously don’t care. After the repeated accusations of child molestation, the plastic surgeries to make him look more like Liz Taylor, and his many other idiotic actions, I got tired of hearing his name.

In many ways, I feel sorrier for Michael than I do for Farrah. Farrah was battling a physical enemy. Michael’s enemies were mostly in his own mind.

When the Jackson Five first came on the scene in the late 60’s, I was a big fan of the young Michael Jackson. As time progressed and his musical style changed, I lost interest. Perhaps that was my fault for getting old. I quit listening to rock and roll music as it evolved toward what it is today. Somewhere along the line, I switched to country music which, today, is more reminiscent to the rock and roll of my youth. With country music, a story is told and I can understand the lyrics. (That’s how I know a story is told.)

The young Mr. Jackson was very good looking. There was absolutely nothing wrong with his appearance. But then his skin began to get lighter and his nose turned into something you’d expect to see on a Caucasian. In truth, it makes me wonder what his body looked like. How far down his neck did the doctors go when they turned his skin lighter?

Enjoying cookies and milk and sleeping with little boys. I don’t care how much of a Michael Jackson fan you are – that is beyond weird. It makes me wonder what sort of demons shared that body with the fabulous entertainer.

Yes. I called him a fabulous entertainer. While I didn’t care for his music, millions of other folks disagreed with me. They loved his concerts.

During the last American Idol, I thought sure Adam Lambert would win because, of all the other contestants, he was the best entertainer. He seemed to be a natural on the stage… just as Michael Jackson was.

Kris Allen is a very talented young man, but he doesn’t have the stage presence of Adam Lambert. I think Adam lost because most Americans thought sure he was going to win. So, they either didn’t bother to vote, or they voted for Kris to make it close.

I think a similar thing happened when Bill Clinton beat George Bush. Everyone was sure Bush would win, so many voted for Ross Perot… so that Bush wouldn’t win by a landslide.

Oops! I strayed off the original topic. My apologies.

Getting back to Michael, I always hate to see a person die before his or her time, but I can’t help wondering how much Michael’s demons contributed to his demise. In a way, he’s been fighting his own form of cancer for most of his life. Maybe that explains his weird behavior.

Numerous personalities have stated that most of us will long remember where we were and what we were doing when we heard the news of Michael’s death. Some likened it to the death of Elvis Presley – another performer I didn’t really care for. Some even went so far as to compare it to the death of John F. Kennedy.

Sorry. That takes it too far. Both entertainers were extremely popular with their fan base, but the assassination of a United States President is more than a little different.

I have no idea of what I was doing on the day of Elvis’ death. I couldn’t even tell you the year he died let alone the month and day. Soon I’ll be in the same situation with Michael’s death (as well as Farrah’s), but I’ll never be that way when it comes to JFK.

I was a sophomore at Edinboro State Teachers College on November 22, 1963. I was at my off-campus housing when I heard JFK had been shot. I then walked into town where I got the word that he had died.

Come to think of it, it’s a bit troublesome that our culture puts more emphasis on the lives of entertainers than on politicians. No wonder our government is so screwed up.


Who Needs Miracles?

April 12, 2009

It is Easter Sunday and I have some questions for all of us:

Did Jesus really have to die on a cross and arise from the dead to get us to accept his message?

Did Jesus really need to change the water into wine to convince us that we should love one another?

Did Jesus really need to walk on water to get us to recognize the love of God?

Did Jesus really need to feed the thousands with a few loaves and fishes to make us realize that the Kingdom of God is in our own hearts?

Did Jesus really have to heal the leper, give sight to the blind, and cast out demons in order for us to believe the things he had to say?

Did we even listen to what He had to say?

I believe Cecil B. DeMille and other Hollywood film makers have led us astray. Unless the Mississippi River is parted to allow a baby to be saved from drowning, we don’t see it as a miracle.

All we have to do is look at that new born baby and think about the complexity behind his or her birth – that’s the miracle!

Walk across a room with a full glass of water and think about how your brain and body react to each step to keep you from spilling the water. Then think about what it would take to create a robot that could achieve that same control.

Personally, I think we spend so much time contemplating the miracles that we lose sight of why Jesus came to earth.

Several years ago I was asked to write the words for a song. I was encouraged to put myself in the shoes of someone else and write words accordingly. The people who requested this knew that I spent a lot of time with the homeless; they expected something from that perspective.

I did a lot of praying on this, and found myself writing the following words:

———————————————————–

I know I have been there to share your pain; I’ve shared in your happiness too.

I’ve walked by your side through sun and rain, nothing have I refused for you.

I have put your needs above my own, fed you and dressed you it’s true.

My life I have lived for you alone, now this, I’m asking of you.

Don’t praise me in words, don’t praise me in song

Don’t praise me at all in these ways.

Just love one another as I have loved you

And honor my Father always… always.

I died on the cross to give you life; I’ve shown you that death has no sting.

I’ve born all your burdens, all your strife; I’ve proven my Father is King.

Now I ask that you do as I do. Sing your praise by doing God’s will.

Your actions will tell me all about you. So this I’m asking you still

Don’t praise me in words, don’t praise me in song

Don’t praise me at all in these ways.

Just love one another as I have loved you

And honor my Father always… always.

————————————————————————————–

The words were later set to music by a friend from Puerto Rico, Angel “Cucho” Garcia. We performed it once in front of a group involved with Cursillo. They liked the music, but felt the words were too harsh. They insisted we should be praising God and Jesus.

I beg to differ. Anyone who constantly says, “Praise the Lord” and ignores the teachings of Christ is a person who continues to miss the message.

Jesus put it as simply as he could.

Love God, and love one another.

If we all followed those two simple commandments, there truly would be peace on earth.