What’s with all this dying?
I’m watching the internet explode with posts about David Bowie and Alan Rickman (and chipping in a few of my own). I thought this article about losing our theologians was brilliant. It captured for me why I’m grieving over artists whom I never met or even saw live.
There’s been a fair amount written about death, so I’m not sure I’ll be able to add to the collective wisdom here. But an unusual combination of things are swirling around in my head and I’m trying to figure out how they all fit together.
David Bowie was a brilliant artist, a true musical genius. I’ve never listed him among my personal favorites, but I respect his accomplishments and enjoy a lot of his music. But then there’s this:
“David Bowie was an incredible musician who inspired generations. He also participated in a culture where children were sexually exploited and raped. This is as much a part of his legacy as his music.”
Two nights ago, I watched the movie Spotlight with my daughter. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it and believe it has a decent chance of winning the Academy Award for best picture–TRIGGER WARNING, though, it’s about the Boston Globe breaking the story of sexual abuse by priests in the Catholic Church. Challenged by a college friend, I’ve been doing research since and finding out how horrifically prevalent sexual abuse is within the Protestant church and missions. Today I spent time with the director of our school, discussing the dangers and committing my help to identifying and preventing such abuse at our school. If you are part of a church, mission or Christian school and aren’t already well-informed on this issue, I urge you to read this entire article. I know it is says some negative things about certain organizations, but turning away from what we don’t want to know helps create an environment in which abusers can carry out their abuse.
Jesus always sided with the abused. He always stood with the persecuted. Many of the stories of healing speak not just of his miraculous power, but of his willingness to stand against abuse, hatred, and shunning of the weak, the victim, or the shunned. When he stopped the crowd rushing to Jairus’s daughter to speak with the women who had hemorrhaged for twelve years, he did more than restore her dignity. He challenged a system that turned suffering people into outcasts. He stood for the victim of abuse. She was considered “unclean” and had no business in that crowd, much less touching a rabbi. Jesus credited her courage to touch him and believe in his power and compassion as bringing about her own healing: “Go in peace; your faith has made you well.” The woman caught in adultery, the Samaritan woman by the well, the lepers he touched, those possessed, all of them were despised and considered outcasts because their suffering was considered their fault. They must have sinned. They brought this upon themselves.