Saturday, June 27, 2009

27 JUN 09: Bad, Good or In Between

(BLOGGER'S NOTE: You may find the following item humorous, serious, or a little of both - but we offer these thoughts from time to time, as we keep a seventh-day Sabbath.)

We checked the news sources carefully Friday, both on TV and the web. We wondered if the events of Thursday would prompt any candidates to change their plans. But so far, NO one in our area has announced he or she is running for King of Pop.

I wondered for years where Michael Jackson gained the "King of Pop" title. Then CNN reported Thursday night the phrase came from Elizabeth Taylor. Perhaps she never came to Columbus - where plenty of people considered Royal Crown Cola the king of pop.

The sudden death of Michael Jackson is inspiring a wider range of reactions than you might think. Callers to WFXE-FM Thursday night offered sympathies and condolences. Then Friday, talk show host Glenn Beck on WDAK called Jackson "a freak." And unlike that old soul tune, he was far more than a "freak of the week."

A mix of memories come to mind when I think of Michael Jackson. There was the day I spoke up in a cable TV newsroom: "Lisa-Marie Presley confirms she married Michael Jackson."

"No way!" a woman sitting next to me said. Then she saw the breaking news on her computer screen seconds later. Prowling around the California state news wire gave me an edge of about 15 seconds.

I handled "Factoids" for CNN Headline News at the time - and found out weeks later when Michael Jackson married Lisa-Marie Presley in the Dominican Republic, a "Justice of the Peace" performed the ceremony. The celebrity couple paid him 50 dollars to do it. You'd think they would have thrown in an autographed album or something....

The church groups I've attended over the years were as mixed about Michael Jackson as I was. Songs such as "Bad" and "Human Nature" didn't seem to reflect godly themes. Yet one congregation couldn't stop dancing to "Billie Jean" after a spring dinner - including a delighted church pastor, who might have stopped that after the child molestation complaint came out.

Michael Jackson tried a lot of things in his 50-plus years - but do you remember his short fling with religion? He spent some time with the Jehovah's Witnesses, and reportedly did some witnessing in a shopping mall one weekend. This is one time I actually wish the Jehovah's Witnesses convention was in town, to find out what led to Jackson leaving.

But here's the most foreboding thing for me about this week's news - I was born 25 days before Michael Jackson. So when I awoke early Friday to a bit of pain in my chest, I actually wondered if my death would get as much coverage on the evening news.

Michael Jackson's death is a reminder that no one knows how long they have to live. A current Christian song puts it well: "I guess we're all one phone call from our knees." In fact, I was there recently - but I make sure to spend time on my knees BEFORE the call comes. If you do that, the blows of life can be easier to bear. Even the final blow can be less of a knockout punch.

Several people who called "Foxie 105" the other night said they're praying for Michael Jackson's family. That's a nice thing to do. But don't forget to pray to God all the time. The Biblical book of Philippians says you should "in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." To borrow from a Jackson album, let God write "HIS-tory" in you.

SCHEDULED SUNDAY: The e-mailer who claims to have a police "rap sheet" answers a reader's challenge....

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author -- not necessarily those of anyone else in Columbus living or dead, and perhaps not even you.

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