Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Idols and Stars

Our society has a major crush on celebrities. It's like we're still middle-schoolers who go ga-ga every time the most popular jock glances our way. Will we ever grow up?

Infatuation...that's exactly what we have and we're weak in the knees with it. We're infatutated with who the next American Idol will be. We're infatutated with perfect smiles, air-brushed faces and red carpet dresses. If you take a closer look at the definition of the word, we come off looking pretty silly. Here's what the Merriam-Webster online definition says:
1 : to cause to be foolish : deprive of sound judgment
2 : to inspire with a foolish or extravagant love or admiration
That's us, on all accounts. Our society has celebrity infatuation branded on the bottom of our feet like Barbie Dolls have Mattel on theirs. We can claim Barbie's standards have are too unrealistic and out of touch. Can God say the same about us? Have we become too plastic?

For the past couple of days or so I've been going to and incorporating their daily scripture into my Bible study. Amos 5:26 really spoke to me so I decided to read the whole chapter in the NIV and Message versions. I planned on going into detail on how these scriptures parallel to the situation our society but then I came the descision on including the Message version text and leaving it up to you to take what can from these powerful words.

Amos 5 (The Message version)

All Show, No Substance

Listen to this, family of Israel, this Message I'm sending in bold print, this tragic warning: "Virgin Israel has fallen flat on her face.
She'll never stand up again.
She's been left where she's fallen.
No one offers to help her up."
This is the Message, God's Word:

"The city that marches out with a thousand
will end up with a hundred.
The city that marches out with a hundred
will end up with ten. Oh, family of Israel!"

God's Message to the family of Israel:

"Seek me and live.
Don't fool around at those shrines of Bethel,
Don't waste time taking trips to Gilgal,
and don't bother going down to Beer-sheba.
Gilgal is here today and gone tomorrow
and Bethel is all show, no substance."

So seek God and live! You don't want to end up
with nothing to show for your life
But a pile of ashes, a house burned to the ground.
For God will send just such a fire,
and the firefighters will show up too late.

Raw Truth Is Never Popular

Woe to you who turn justice to vinegar
and stomp righteousness into the mud.
Do you realize where you are? You're in a cosmos
star-flung with constellations by God,
A world God wakes up each morning
and puts to bed each night.
God dips water from the ocean
and gives the land a drink.
God, God-revealed, does all this.
And he can destroy it as easily as make it.
He can turn this vast wonder into total waste.
People hate this kind of talk.
Raw truth is never popular.
But here it is, bluntly spoken:
Because you run roughshod over the poor
and take the bread right out of their mouths,
You're never going to move into
the luxury homes you have built.
You're never going to drink wine
from the expensive vineyards you've planted.
I know precisely the extent of your violations,
the enormity of your sins. Appalling!
You bully right-living people,
taking bribes right and left and kicking the poor when they're down.

Justice is a lost cause. Evil is epidemic.
Decent people throw up their hands.
Protest and rebuke are useless,
a waste of breath.

Seek good and not evil—
and live!
You talk about God, the God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
being your best friend.
Well, live like it,
and maybe it will happen.

Hate evil and love good,
then work it out in the public square.
Maybe God, the God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
will notice your remnant and be gracious.

Now again, my Master's Message, God, God-of-the-Angel-Armies:

"Go out into the streets and lament loudly!
Fill the malls and shops with cries of doom!
Weep loudly, 'Not me! Not us, Not now!'
Empty offices, stores, factories, workplaces.
Enlist everyone in the general lament.
I want to hear it loud and clear when I make my visit."
God's Decree.

Time to Face Hard Reality, Not Fantasy

Woe to all of you who want God's Judgment Day!
Why would you want to see God, want him to come?
When God comes, it will be bad news before it's good news,
the worst of times, not the best of times.
Here's what it's like: A man runs from a lion
right into the jaws of a bear.
A woman goes home after a hard day's work
and is raped by a neighbor.
At God's coming we face hard reality, not fantasy—
a black cloud with no silver lining.
"I can't stand your religious meetings.
I'm fed up with your conferences and conventions.
I want nothing to do with your religion projects,
your pretentious slogans and goals.
I'm sick of your fund-raising schemes,
your public relations and image making.
I've had all I can take of your noisy ego-music.
When was the last time you sang to me?
Do you know what I want?
I want justice—oceans of it.
I want fairness—rivers of it.
That's what I want. That's all I want.

"Didn't you, dear family of Israel, worship me faithfully for forty years in the wilderness, bringing the sacrifices and offerings I commanded? How is it you've stooped to dragging gimcrack statues of your so-called rulers around, hauling the cheap images of all your star-gods here and there? Since you like them so much, you can take them with you when I drive you into exile beyond Damascus." God's Message, God-of-the-Angel-Armies.
I like how the NIV version puts verse 26:
"You have lifted up the shrine of your king, the pedestal of your idols, the star of your god which you made for yourselves."
We may not worship those ancient gods but don't you find it kind of odd how we call actors and singers our idols and stars? Is God saying to us that since we're so fond of them, then we can cling to them when life gets rough (and we all know it will). Will our DVD collections and autographed movie posters be able to offer us help in those inevitable tough times? Can Hollywood movie premieres save our souls? These questions may sound silly, but our infatuation with celebrities isn't that smart.


Sharon said...

Hi! Thanks for stopping by my blog and reading/commenting on "How to change your blogger header". I updated the posting and hopefully helped you with your question. Blessings!

Joy Kennelly said...

Hi there, I totally agree with you re: celebrities. Since I see so many of them through my work I realized a long time ago they're just people. I've met some real down-to-earth ones who don't get caught up in their egos so I can't say they're all bad. However, I do think society is way too caught up in it.

Maybe one of these days it will blow over though. Thanks for sharing the verses you did. Very interesting.

Joy Kennelly said...

Hey! Just found your nice comment on the end of my long one. I am so happy to have found your blog too because then I don't feel so alone out here in this quest.

I just don't think my current church understands the depth of the loneliness one can feel in a church that is dedicated to married people. However, you're right I should explore other options.

I've just been invited to a local church that has a women's Bible Study and single people who attend so I'm going to attend there too.

I just feel like I've tried long and hard at OCF and it's just not the right fit anymore. Why stay where I'm not wanted? Thanks for posting the lyrics to that song too because you're right - that's perfect!

Please stay in touch and thanks again for your kind words.

SolShine7 said...

Sharon, your blog post was a big help, so thanks go to you!

Joy, I really enjoy reading your blog, the way you share your heart along the journey is inspiring.