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Friday, May 6, 2016

The Shepherd's Heart: Through the glass

Thursday, July 9, 2009

All the commotion over the recent plethora of celebrity deaths reminded me of a song I heard many years ago by then Contemporary Christian Music newcomer Randy Stonehill. (By now you know that Randy is one of my all time favorite songwriters.) The following spoke of the way we get hypnotized by the fame and fortune of others; of how we make them into heroes, though they have done nothing to earn or deserve that honor; and how they let us down by not really being who they appear to be. I would submit to you that we've seen much evidence of such idolatry as of late.

Through the Glass Darkly

I heard God was at the palace doing a one night stand

So I went out there to see Him with my hope in my hand

He was just a boy of fifteen without much to say

And when he started signing autographs I walked away

I was standing on a corner by the marketplace

When a fellow with some leaflets shoved one right in my face

Well he poked me with his Bible like it was a loaded gun

And I said whatever it is you're selling man I don't want none

All our superstars are suicidal casualties

And our heroes die in motel rooms and motorcades

Oh it seems like all our dreams are only fantasies
And I wonder if we'll learn from the mistakes we've made

I bumped into Mr. Jimi at a London hotel

And he said let's get together but he didn't look well

When I woke up in the morning all the papers read 
Jimi Hendrix overdosed last night in bed

All our superstars are suicidal casualties

And our heroes die in motel rooms and motorcades

Well it seems like all our dreams turn into tragedies
And I wonder if we'll learn from the mistakes we've made

Now I'm waiting at the bus stop for the bus to arrive 

And I know there must be more to life than staying alive

Well I don't know where I'm going when I climb in 

But it can't be any emptier than where I've been *

When will we realize that we cannot invest our hopes and dreams, our love for that matter, in man-made superstars? Whether they are singers, musicians, politicians, or preachers, they are all made of flesh and bone. They breathe the same air we breathe. They are built with the same biological structure as everyone else. Most of them face the same insecurities you and I face.

I used to be swayed by the fame of others. But as I have aged I have tired of the let-downs and disappointments. I have learned to not be at all surprised when some big timer falls from the pedestal; when this week's hero ends up dead at the hand of last week's mistress; when everyone's favorite politician falls from grace while his sordid love affair is played out on the news each weeknight at 5:30 p.m. Superman and the Lone Ranger were, after all, just figments of someone's imagination before becoming colored ink on paper and characters in dime novels and then making their way to the silver screen and to television.

I do not intend for this to be a memorial to Farrah, Billy, Michael, Ed, or any of the other famous people who have passed on in the past couple of weeks. Rather, it is intended to encourage each of you to live your own life.

Don't live vicariously through someone else's fame and glory. Chances are, they will let you down in the end. They may even end up drowning in their own vomit, overdosing on pain killers, caught up in a sex scandal, or assassinated by some lunatic with a chip on his or her shoulder.

* Written by Randy Stonehill
1980 King Of Hearts (BMI)

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BOB G. STEWART, Columnist
The Shepherd's Heart