Friday, October 31, 2014
I enjoy telling my students about young people who sat in those same chairs over the years. Over time, I have been blessed to teach the siblings of several famous entertainers. That is always impressive to my current classes! The following, from 12-12-05, details my brushes with fame.
Barely into December, our Westbury Christian School girls' basketball team has already played a staggering twenty-one games, sporting a sparkling 17-4 record. Win # 17 came Friday with a 50-44 victory over a tough squad from Barber's Hill High School. The win wasn't the main story, though. When Coach Russell Carr saw me at worship Sunday morning, his first words were "Guess who was at the game Friday? Van Chancellor!" To the non-fan, Van Chancellor is the coach of the WNBA Houston Comets. It's not a stretch to say he is the Phil Jackson of womens' basketball, leading the Comets to the first four WNBA titles and guiding the US Olympic team to a gold medal in 2002. It turns out he was only there to watch his son coach for Barbers' Hill and not looking for the next Lisa Leslie but his mere appearance in our gym created a buzz.
There is something about the famous that generates excitement. Sometimes, even a passing encounter is big. One of my former players dated NFL defensive end Grant Wistrom while he played for the St. Louis Rams. Sarah and Grant came to my folks' house for dinner while I was in Missouri for Spring Break. George Brett, member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, married one of my brother Dave's basketball players. Sometimes, even the sibling of a celebrity is worth noting. The brother of the star of the TV drama, The Gilmore Girls, spent two semesters in my freshman Bible class. One year, I had an eighth grade Bible student who mentioned that it wasn't easy for her to be the sister of Beyonce Knowles of Destiny's Child. To show my ignorance, I had no idea at that time the identity of Destiny's Child or its enormously famous lead singer. The young lady, Solange Knowles, came back to visit several years ago. By this time, Solange had her own recording career and fan base. As we talked outside the office, a line of middle school girls magically appeared seeking autographs. It was hard for me to comprehend that this young lady was no longer a child. In fact, I've run across mentions and pictures of her in Parade, People, and Sports Illustrated. To these kids, she was a star but to me, she was simply an older version of that thirteen-year old cheerleader who possessed braces, incredible energy, and a high average in my class.
Jesus created a buzz wherever he went. Crowds grew as the stories of his miracles were told and retold. John 7 reports widespread whispering about him and rumors of who he might be. Houses where he taught were so packed the paralyzed could not get in. People tried to reach through the masses just for the hope of healing in his touch. His entry into Jerusalem the week of his crucifixion caused a religious leader to remark that 'the whole world has gone after him!' And yet, this did not stop the people from turning their collective backs on him. Even his closest friends were swayed by fear and doubt, leaving him to face the cross, if not alone, then underrepresented by those who had earlier praised the heavens because of him. Our culture is no different. Adulation is temporary. Athletes are glorified one week, reviled the next. An entertainer is red hot, then passe. Politicians are swept into office in a landslide and voted out by the same margin in the next election. Jesus isn't about the buzz. In the Parable of the Sower, he warns of those who hear, get enthused, and quickly fade to disinterest. That's us when we buy into the hype of the hot/cool/happening person whom the media anoints as the NEXT NEW THING. Remember the Eagles' "New Kid In Town?" They described our lack of loyalty with this line: 'They will never forget you 'til somebody new comes along.' When it comes to our souls, there won't be somebody else coming after Jesus. There will be pretenders but the Master referred to himself in Revelation 22 as 'the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.' Not much wiggle room in there if he is right-and Christians take him at his word. Our fame won't save us but our obscurity doesn't impart righteousness either. I take it God isn't impressed by our standards of fame. We'll be judged on the Lord's scales rather than by the world's applause meter. It only takes one set of clapping hands-the ones scarred by Roman nails- to orchestrate a final standing ovation for the believer.
Applicable quote of the day:
"The nice thing about being a celebrity is that if you bore people, they think it's their fault."
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Posted by Steve Hawley at 7:05 PM