Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson is dead

Oh what a circus! Oh what a show!

It was TS Eliot who said that the Lord who created must wish us to create, and employ our creation again in his service which is already his service in creating. The passing of an artist, any artist, leaves a void in creation. And the passing of one so globally significant becomes both political and religious at once. Like the deaths of Elvis Presley, John Lennon and Diana Princess of Wales, it is not so much their passing as the manner of it. To die is natural. To die at just 50, to pre-decease one’s parents, feels so profoundly unnatural that it becomes an offence against God.

In the political realm, this is indeed a day ‘to bury bad news’. In the religious realm, one observes again the cult of celebrity: another christ has been crucified, and the shrines to this god of the age will spring up everywhere spontaneously. Like all true greats – those whose creation is genius and grace – he will live on: the ‘King of Pop’ will live on in his music and video footage – a million daily resurrections to satisfy the spiritual longings of his disciples and those who came from the four corners of the earth to worship him. And they are legion.

It is believed he suffered a heart attack. If one tries to live like Peter Pan, there will come a time when the reality supplants the fantasy. He preferred the company of children; his best friend was a chimp; he reportedly slept in an oxygen chamber and endured numerous plastic surgeries. Since the accusations of child molestation, he has been a virtual recluse.

It is axiomatic that genius and madness are a hair’s breadth apart.

Notwithstanding his ever-lightening skin, Michael Jackson was the embodiment of the dream of Martin Luther King. His talent was such that he forced America to accept the inalterable equality of black people, and so paved the way for Oprah Winfrey, Tiger Woods and Barack Obama. Michael Jackson did for music and movement what they have done for television, sport and politics. In that sense, his achievement is historic and he is iconic. The word ‘legend’, rather like ‘great’, is much debased in this superficial world, but Michael Jackson was a legend in his lifetime who never really belonged in this world. His search for a face was a quest to discover his identity.

But now he sees face to face, and knows even as he is fully known.

Requiem aeternam.
Absolve, Domine,
animas omnium fidelium defunctorum
ab omni vinculo delictorum
et gratia tua illis
succurente mereantur
evadere iudicium ultionis,
et lucis æterne beatitudine perfrui.


Anonymous sydneysider said...

"Rock with you" was a great song and every time I hear it memories come flooding back of fun nights on the dance floor, oh so long ago!
Michael Jackson was a great entertainer and will be missed
Requiescat in pace

26 June 2009 at 09:36  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace,

When I reflect upon Jackson, I am reminded of the myth of Narcissus. So stunningly handsome was that man that every girl fell in love with him. He by the use of arrogance and pride ignored all their advances. A young woman fervently prayed to a goddess that he would know what unrequited love was. Her prayer was answered. One day whilst walking through the woods he came across a pool of clear water. As he bent down to take a drink he saw the most beautiful image. He fell in love with it. His hunger evaporated. His health degraded. His image faded. He died, his eyes transfixed upon the image.

It is my sincerest belief that Jackson never grew up. He did not know the distinction between the ‘I’ and the ‘You’.

26 June 2009 at 09:56  
Blogger Gnostic said...

He had talent. Everything else is subject to tabloid interpretation and his bizarre lifestyle. Personally I think he should have stuck with the face nature gave him. It was handsome and pleasant. A million miles from the freakish mask he hid behind.

26 June 2009 at 10:31  
Blogger John Woolman said...

He is said, insomuch as one can believe anything said in print or electrons these days, that he had his cardiac arrest in the presence of his private doctor. This is a most unusual occurrence unless the doctor was named Shipman.

Let us hope that his premature death is fully investigated, in the public interest, rather than to assuage the interest of the public.

26 June 2009 at 11:27  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

May his soul rest in peace.

26 June 2009 at 12:37  
Blogger Dave said...

Will he have to explain to God why he changed the perfectly acceptable face that God gave him?

26 June 2009 at 13:03  
Blogger Dr.D said...

Why do you think him extraordinary? In this day, he is the most ordinary sort, carried away with himself. We have another one, currently pretending to be President. They are everywhere. Really quite common.

What would be rare would be one with humility and the good of people in his heart.

26 June 2009 at 13:07  
Anonymous joshly said...

May his soul rest in peace.

26 June 2009 at 14:09  
Anonymous Adrian P said...

Well my two boys will miss him, and it has to be said he had a Truly Great Talent, as fot the Accusations, well it's true there are men and women who will abuse children, but it's also true that people will make false accusations in order to gain monetarily, a not guilty verdict in a court of law is fine by me.

Goodbye Michael, you will be missed.

26 June 2009 at 15:01  
Blogger McKenzie said...

He was a character in the plot of life. He played out his part and the narration will continue until the end.

I don't think he was considered another Christ. He was a great artist. He made music and much more besides. We have an innate quality about us to want such things, and he produced a marvelous rendition of his time.

Music serves to mark events in our lives, and it is this which embodies such people deep into the psyche of our daily existence. He was an evolution in simple terms. He came about, a big bang moment in the world of pop music. Of course, I have other theories about such evolutionary moments, but it is suffice to say it happened.

Generally speaking, I never gave the man much thought, and yet I was stunned at the news, and saddened. Such things have far-reaching effects of poignancy which cause reflection, cogitation and contemplation. Such is the nature of life and death.

I was not going to comment on this, but something clicked when reading a book. A totally unrelated book, and having no links or connections which should have compelled me to fire up the PC and log on. The notion will remain in my head, where it belongs.

Cranmer of the priestly caste, and all others of such, could maybe take something from the nature of man from his life and death. He connected with young and old alike, and left a strong impression upon many. There are many frequencies within the human community. It is necessary to broadcast on more than one, and really helpful to use a channel that people actually listen to.

26 June 2009 at 15:33  
Anonymous martin sewell said...

In this world, how long do you think it will be before the Consipracy theories arise?

26 June 2009 at 15:46  
Blogger Frugal Dougal said...

Well said, Your Grace; I just wish Radio 2 would play slightly less of his music today!

26 June 2009 at 15:48  
Blogger McKenzie said...

What do the people expect and look for in a priest? Only the virtues a priest ought to have. What do they complain of? Only that we are not sufficiently priests! They have a very high and splendid ideal for us, but one which is truly the ideal of priest hood. They do not expect us to be artists, scholars, administrators, businessmen, or specialises. In final analysis, they ask nothing from us that is foreign to our mission. Even the intellectuals do not expect us to dazzle them with our 'erudition' or to be clever at juggling with theories. They ask us only to give them some solid food, because they want to avoid malnutrition if they can.

The labouring man will not necessarily give his trust to the priest who affects the ways of the working class. He will perhaps think a priest a good fellow; but unless he senses something more than that in him, it is not that priest he will turn to when in need of real help, but to another, to one whom he feels to be a man of God.

The case is no different with the professional man. He will be glad to invite to his table a 'distinguished' priest, whose fine manners, polished conversation, and lite4reary culture will charm his family and his guests; but when he runs into troubles of conscience, or family difficulties, it is to a true priest that he will go for help, even though the true priest may lack all of these attractive qualities. When it comes to going to 'the priest', people forget everything else they may have grumbled about him at his sermon.

-A Book

Frugal Dougal

You have something of the pompous twat about you compelling you to release anal retentive energy through your keyboard.

26 June 2009 at 16:06  
Blogger Christian said...

Dr Cranmer,

I am some-what surprised by the prayer you attached at the end of your article. After all, was it not you who helped pen Article XXII: "The Romish Doctrine concerning Purgatory, Pardons, Worshipping and Adoration, as well of Images as of Relics, and also Invocation of Saints, is a fond thing, vainly invented, and grounded upon no warranty of Scripture, but rather repugnant to the Word of God"?

26 June 2009 at 16:13  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Mr Christian,

But of course.

It must be 'vinculo delictorum' which causes you difficulty.

Consider it metaphor, if it assists. Michael Jackson found his purgatory in this world.

26 June 2009 at 16:26  
Blogger monomakh said...

I barely understand His Grace's venia for this singer of trashy music. Requiem, and with that aeternam!!! for that kind of soul might be beyond the pale of purgatorial fire and the delight of the demons of toll-house? This only inspires, again, to say: Sic transit gloria mundi...Rather may God have mercy on his soul.

26 June 2009 at 16:46  
Blogger Christian said...

Dr Cranmer,

I am probably being a little unfairly theologically pedantic here but "lex orandi, lex credendi". That you chose to remove such prayers from your "Book of Common Prayer" would seem to indicate that you do have not considered such metaphors to excuse the un-Reformed nature of such prayers.

26 June 2009 at 16:56  
Blogger Mr. Rush said...

M.J. is not dead!

If Elvis is still alive, then Michael will live forever. Not only will he live forever, he is now a child; he is having the childhood he never got to enjoy.

26 June 2009 at 17:40  
Blogger McKenzie said...

Trashy music is so vile a sin as to press the buttons which operate the solenoids of anal retentive energy, and yet homosexuality used to not only be a sin, but also illegal, but now even the church takes it up the arse in order to be inclusive. Maybe the ABC could indulge in a bit of trashy moon walking, it seems to press all the right buttons.

26 June 2009 at 17:57  
Anonymous not a machine said...

the changes he went through was an artistic statement on the universality of his music , perhaps it would not have cost him so much if he had tried to bridge such an impossible gap .

if he tried to be a child when nature was enforcing its laws , you perhaps can understand the consequences.

It is unfortuanate that global stardom has grotesque downsides , but i cannot deny his music and artistic perfromances had long lasting cultural impacts .

26 June 2009 at 18:24  
Blogger Chrysippus said...

Having just heard Uri Geller on the radio one would have thought that the world famous psychic could have used his abilities to warn one of his best friends of his demise.

26 June 2009 at 18:31  
Blogger McKenzie said...

What do Michael Jackson and God have in common?

They both seem to have achieved everything in their wildest dreams, and then went insane.

26 June 2009 at 19:04  
OpenID jamestheless said...

Praying for the dead does not necessarily imply acceptance of "the Romish Doctrine concerning Purgatory".

The Eastern Orthodox Church, for example, holds that the departed faithful are as much part of the Body of Christ as are the living, and sees no reason not to pray for them. While each person receives a particular judgment immediately after death, the ultimate decision will not be made until the final Judgment at the end of time. So it is perfectly legitimate to hope that a believer may show the fruits of repentance that were not apparent during his or her time on Earth. Like the early Church, Orthodoxy has no concept of a stage of purificatory punishment.

In fact, praying for the dead pre-dates Christianity - see 2 Maccabees (early 2nd century BC).

26 June 2009 at 19:19  
OpenID jamestheless said...


"Maybe the ABC could indulge in a bit of trashy moon walking, it seems to press all the right buttons."

It wouldn't surprise me if Gordon Brown is practising his moonwalk in 10 Downing Street as we speak. I recommend keeping a close eye on Youtube this evening.

26 June 2009 at 19:22  
Blogger McKenzie said...

Genesis 1

Reading Genesis 1 brings back fond childhood memories of listening to and occasionally joining in discussions (yes, I was and still am a nerd at heart) about the origins of the universe. Is the earth 6,000 years old or 6 billion? Are the “days” of Genesis 1 literal, 24-hour spans of time, or are they simply a literary device meant to hold the story together? The opening lines of the Bible have been dissected with scientific rigor and made to support one argument or the other.

But you wouldn’t use bunsen burners and microscopes to analyze Robert Frost or T.S. Eliot. And that’s what the opening lines of the Bible are. Genesis 1 reads more like poetry than prose — and definitely more like poetry than scientific text.

Which is pretty cool, really. For Jews and Christians, whatever else these words may be, they are in some way God revealing himself to us. God decides to start a conversation, and his first words take the form of a poem.

When I read Genesis 1, it hits me: the God behind these words is a God who values beauty. Not just beauty in what he creates (which the text calls “good” not once but seven times — very significant to Jewish readers); he values beauty in the description, too.

The first words of the Bible are not that concerned with the how of creation. They’re all about the who (God) and the why (for us). The details are carefully arranged not to make a scientific point but a theological one — about who God is and the way the world was meant to be.

(Although, if theology is the study of God and how he relates to the world, then a point about theology is a point about everything, really.)

Michael Jackson If N' I was God

If N' I Was God
Well just for spite
I wouldn't set the sun at night
'Till everyone was treaded right
By everyone else they see

If N' I Was God
I'd fix it so, without explaining
Folks would know, they'd know
What's going on inside
Of everyone else like me

Nobody hurt nobody else
Oh I know, I wouldn't let it be
Nobody have a need to pray

Except, for thanking me

If N' I Was God
I'd make us wise
So everyone could realize
That everywhere beneath the sun
(Everyone needs everyone)
Everyone needs, everyone

And God… that in heaven what I would do
If N' I… were…. you…uh uh …

Ah yeah
If N' I Was God
I'd make us wise
Everybody touch
Everybody's hand, ah yeah!

Reach out and touch somebody's hand

You got to, you got to love everybody
You got to, you got to love everybody, yeah

You got to, you got to love everybody.

26 June 2009 at 19:32  
Anonymous Got the Guts to wear God said...

Hmm…some of the more godly people on this blog seem to be making the most ungodly comments!

The media crucified him. And now they're all over him. They wanted him to be guilty. I don't believe a thing in the media. I follow it so that I have a breast of the lies they spout. MJ was a victim of extortion. He was a sitting duck. Too naive to realise who the sharks were, and god knows he was surrounded by them.

@ Monomakh. I’m sorry you missed Michael’s magic. It is the magic that is God.

@ McKenzie. “Cranmer of the priestly caste, and all others of such, could maybe take something from the nature of man from his life and death. He connected with young and old alike, and left a strong impression upon many. There are many frequencies within the human community. It is necessary to broadcast on more than one, and really helpful to use a channel that people actually listen to.” Couldn’t agree more.

@ Cranmer. Thanks for being a modern Arch Bish and posting about Michael. The church and spiritual groups alike, fall short on getting in touch with the evolving consciousness or our youth. MJ transcended this from the start. He is a much older soul than he is human being. Physical appearances are given too much attention in our world. He came across as eccentric, yes. But he didn’t deserve to be crucified. I am glad that he now has the peace he deserves; a peace that he could never find in his lonely life here.
MJ, a musical genius. He was my number 1 growing up…and my number 1 growing old. I can’t believe he’s gone:0(
But then again his energy lives on…we can never die. There is no death.

26 June 2009 at 19:48  
Anonymous Hank Petram said...

This sermon has taken me aback. I confess to being nothing short of amazed at the enthusiasm that His Grace displays for Michael Jackson and his performances. At the risk of arousing angry disagreement, I believe there were just two moments in Jackson's life when he was handed the right formula for displaying his exceptional talent as a singer and dancer: first with the Jackson Five and later in “Thriller”. The credit, in the first case, goes, I believe, to the boys’ father, and in the second case, certainly, to Quincy Jones. Left to his own devices, Jackson presented the sad and even degrading spectacle of a celebrity who had no interests in life other than being a celebrity. He lacked the initiative or judgment, or both, that might have enabled him to make proper use of his own outstanding musical talent. Very sad.

26 June 2009 at 22:20  
Anonymous mouse-ity is best said...

I don't think he was a genius - the noise is too horrible and I certainly don't call it music. I don't even call that talent - just exhibitionism.

Furthermore, if that was his voice I heard amid the hysteria of the BBC World Service last night - then why are all the girls having vapours about a girl's voice? And why are all the boys going wild about a guy who looks and sounds like a girl?

So, frankly, I'm glad he's out of it - for our sake.

However, I'm also glad for his own sake - I believe that someone like that must have suffered monumentally from the day of his inception. Child abuse? I bet he was its victim long before the media latched onto the idea of accusing him. And I bet all the freakishness and ambiguity was a reaction, a comment, about a world in which he could do nothing right - except being a freak.

So yes - May God have mercy on his soul. I hope Your Grace is right, and that Jackson's terrible existence here among 'humanity' - the dregs of God's creation - has purified that spirit for eternity.


26 June 2009 at 22:21  
Blogger McKenzie said...

The spirit of the Pharisee:

"Thanks, Lord, that I am not like the rest of men....."

May God indeed have mercy!

26 June 2009 at 23:31  
Anonymous mouse-ity .... said...

Forgive me if I'm unsure of your pronouncement on Pharisees, McKenzie!

I can imagine that God might use phenomena like Jackson to open the eyes of those who want to see - in the same way as with Jade. However, they and their 'celebrity' cannot awaken any pride about 'humanity' in me - because their whole shenanikins(?sp) nauseates me!

Watching the street from a skyscraper gives an example of the perspective: then I never fail to see us as the oddest and sickest of creatures - strutting about on two legs, full of importance, and all dolled up in unnatural gear.

Skyscrapers are also unnatural: but they lend distance, and they detach the eye from the habitual perspective.

At the same time, my respect increases daily for special individuals who brave the scum, the poison, and the entrapment, that inhere in the creations of 'humanity.' And - because we can't do much with the eremitic thing nowadays - I shall be more than grateful if God ever considers that I, too, have paid my dues or done my best; so that, when He lets me out of here, it may be in the right direction.

Indeed, May God have Mercy.

27 June 2009 at 01:40  
Anonymous sydneysider said...

I'm not sure how old you are McKenzie but there must be a place in the entertainment industry for this kind of craziness.Stand up comedian perhaps!These suggestions are well meaning and intended with affection,of course.

27 June 2009 at 06:09  
Blogger McKenzie said...


27 June 2009 at 09:06  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

John Woolman,

No mainstream news mentioned finite details of Michael Jackson's demise.
Vast sums (reportedly) will be lost by tour promotors etc. Insurance payouts may depend on the actual cause; a close aide of Michael Jackson's voiced his conceerns to the news cameras regarding the star's high use of painkillers and the dangers attached.

27 June 2009 at 09:49  
Blogger McKenzie said...

No offense taken. I am no less responsible for Michael Jackson than anyone else who has ever tapped a foot, or a fingernail on the side of a glass of larger while eying the posterior of one's preferred gender. But I laugh at the fact that I mention the spirit of the Pharisee and I am dragged before Caesar for some humiliation and character assassination. I would expect nothing less though, it is the 'temper of the times'.

My own position (stand up) is that the signs of the times are unmistakable, and it is vitally important that men and women of conviction first acknowledge the scope and complexity of what we face, and what challenges lay ahead.

We all contribute to the loss of self-respect, loss of ambition, and the kind of 'idle hands' that the old maxim tells us are the 'devil's workshop'. In a study by an American chap called C. Northcote Parkinson (helluva name), he suggested six symptoms of decline in any civilisation. These included a rise in 'Liberal opinion' -- that is, the popularisation of attitudes and policies controlled by sentiment rather than sound moral judgment.

Someone called Carl Michalson (name dropping today) wrote nearly fifty years ago that Jesus Christ is the "Paradigm which forms the very possibility of an ultimately meaningful history". The lessons of history are confirming this fact. We long for relief from the nightmare of fear and uncertainty, everywhere people are in crisis and desperate for hope. In the end, the only reliable answer for a civilisation in distress is a return to the 'hinge of history' and the source of Truth that makes life meaningful AND TOLERABLE.

Our society is screaming the symptoms of cultural dysfunction; signs of decay that may be discovered in great societies from antiquity to the present - symptoms that, in sufficient combination indicate the impending demise of any culture.

Our challenge today is not to run from conflict but to engage in it. Our 'flight or fight' reactions should propel us forward into the center of controversy. We should remember that in the parable of the talents, as spoken by Jesus in the Gospel of Luke, the landowner tells his servants to go forth from the vineyard and "occupy 'til I come". Not to run away and flee to the hills and hide our eyes, but to go into the fields and bring forth the harvest.

To me, this does not include ramming a cork up your arse and condemning everyone who does not behave like your old grandmother.

"Its the way you tell 'em".

27 June 2009 at 10:20  
Blogger McKenzie said...

The Deception Of The Self Righteous

27 June 2009 at 10:47  
Anonymous Got the Guts to wear God said...

Well said McKenzie!

The world is full of the self Righteous condemning all and sundry. Only it’s not a cork up their arse…it’s their own heads.

Michael made people feel good. If you didn't start rocking to some of his stuff...I fear that you may be already dead.

27 June 2009 at 17:05  
Blogger Brad said...

Michael had embraced Islam a few months before his death. From Jehovah's Witnesses to Islam, job in entertaining/singing/dancing-pretty standard black religious/professional life.

27 June 2009 at 17:17  
Anonymous mouse-ity... said...

Self Righteous? So where does that place people who Judge others to be self righteous? And, much more seriously, where does that leave someone who refuses to participate in vice?

Any attempt to explain oneself to some of the voices here is clearly wasted unless one agrees that Jackson is a latter day Christ and that the noise he propagated is music!! There's none so blind, it's true; nor so deaf, I'm sure.

I'm also sure that my critics here are not gentlemen: the corks, you bozos, you Jacobeans, are for my ears; and the blinders go over my eyes when I scroll by those dreadful pictures.

And, for the record, if you're followers of Freud - then you're closer to the fans of Marx than you admit. Though, if you've understood those 2, or Jackson, as carelessly as you read me, then that explains a lot.

I thank God that He alone is the Judge of us all.

Meanwhile, 'Me a gone, sah.'

27 June 2009 at 20:04  
Blogger Brad said...

Actually, I am glad that I'm not 400$million in debt, not addicted to pain killers, have never groped my crotch in public, not a member of what can only be described as a disfunctional (and religiously fundamentalist) family and never, ever have I been zonked out enough to dangle a baby for the "amusement" of reporters.

27 June 2009 at 21:11  
OpenID BL%40KBIRD said...

He is with God now (Allah Akbar) and his fellow pedophile Mohammed.

27 June 2009 at 21:40  
Blogger cottus said...

Growing up in Los Angeles once upon a time, there were two Michael Jacksons. This is the real Michael Jackson:

When a caller claimed, at the height of the Vietnam war, that only fools or dupes ended up fighting in Vietnam, implying that anybody with any smarts and sense could and would easily dodge the draft, Michael Jackson, with typical British understatement, if memory serves, said "that, sir, is beneath comment" and moved on.

I trust this is an appropriate place to write this - it meant a lot to me then and it still does.

28 June 2009 at 07:25  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jackson was a complex and talented character. I disapprove of his off-stage behavior but suspect he was, himself, a victim of cruelties we'll never know.

28 June 2009 at 20:51  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He was a sick man who molested little boys. How can this be overlooked?

29 June 2009 at 00:49  
Anonymous truth said...

God help him

29 June 2009 at 01:30  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Millions of little members of the worldwide F.F.A. (Future Followers of the Antichrist) have finally learned how to find a certain part of their lower anatomy and quickly touch it while dancing - thanks to Michael Jackson, the highest paid Lower Anatomy Toucher of all time! Special thanks also go to the Jesus-bashing, Hell-bound Hollywood moguls who were just as quick to see higher profits in lower anatomies! [Just saw this opinion on the web. Other grabby items on MSN, Google, etc. include "Separation of Raunch and State," "David Letterman's Hate, Etc.," "Tribulation Index becomes Rapture Index," and "Bible Verses Obama Avoids." - something for everyone!]

11 July 2009 at 06:35  

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