Friday, February 12, 2016

Living your life, one life at a time

Timesnews 2/12/16 Religion column 

Last Sunday CBS hosted one of, if not, the most watched events in annual television.  The Super Bowl, where the commercials are comical, the Halftime shows are extravagant productions, and the audience binges on junk food & pizza all night long.  But have you ever asked, why are professional sports so popular?  

It’s not just sports of all sorts we should wonder about.  What about the upcoming Oscar’s later on this month?  Why are the events and circumstances surrounding famous actors, who happen to be paid very well for their work, so enthralling for so many people?  Social media thrives on the mindless-minuscule details of the lives of movie stars to the point of obsession.  

There’s a lot of chatter going on in the news over the Presidential elections this year as well.  Critics of Donald Trump point out his narcissistic tendencies and his “bull in the China shop” approach to leadership, while critics of Hillary Clinton remind the public of Benghazi and her email scandals -- but to what effect? In their excitement, as baffling as it is, the supporters of most politicians somehow overlook the glaring defects of their own candidates.  

Again, why are the people in Stadiums, Hollywood, and Washington so popular?  Could it be possible that deep down inside we secretly wish we were rich, powerful, and influential -- to the point we’ve lost sight of the actual world we live in?  And if so, at what cost to our everyday satisfaction in real life?   Is it any wonder then that we lavishly reward our celebrities but we support our school teachers and our enlisted soldiers with only a fraction of their actual worth?

Perhaps we are living vicariously through our teams, our superstars, and our leaders.  I know this all sounds iconoclastic, but our culture has idolized the celebrity status to such an extent that our heroes can do no wrong and we can do no right.  Instead of actually making changes or taking personal action, we’ve settled for a dim reflection of their accomplishments -- daydreaming that we are affiliated with them so closely, their victories are by some stretch of osmosis ours as well.

Sometimes when I observe people going gaga over their favorite VIP, I feel like saying, “get a life.”  Okay, I do say that under my breath.  And then I remember the words of Jesus.  Jesus said He came to bring us life, not just an existence, but real life. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10 ESV)

Life is too short to go around wearing someone else’s jersey all of the time, or their campaign-button on your coat.  Yes, our young people need good examples to look up to and we all need inspirational figures to emulate.   But in our aspirations, may we remember the difference between reality and fantasy, may we stay grounded in the good life that Jesus brought, and may we fully live out our own lives!

No comments: