I confess I didn't like Whitney Houston too much. I preferred Dolly Parton's version of "I Will Always Love You" When I heard she died my first thought was that I thought she had already died a few years ago. As far as I knew she was a has-been druggie and I was annoyed by all the coverage.
I'm one of those people who keeps the TV on for noise and it's usually CNN so I was pretty annoyed all week because it was all Whitney all the time. I had no intention of watching the funeral. Surely there would be some cute show about kittens on Animal Planet, I thought.
I had a funeral myself this morning. I came home, turned on the TV and Bishop T.D. Jakes was really preaching it. I wished I had preached like him. I could not turn off the TV.
I did not know that Whitney Houston was a person of deep faith who never left her home church. I did not know she was insecure and never felt she was good enough. I did not know Whitney Houston. I did not know her to admire her but I did not know her to dislike or judge her either.
That's the thing. We don't know these people. What we do is use these people. Interestingly Andrew Root spoke about this at the Luther Mid Winter Convocation. As our identity is wrapped up in consumerism, we consume celebrities and throw them in the trash when we are done with them.
This is why I don't believe the church is going away anytime soon. It's just not going to be the way it used to be and we are going to find it in places we did not expect, like live-streaming on CNN. And a lot of the community will be strangers tweeting it. But it will be the church and it will be there to tell people - You are a beloved child of God and you are not something to be used and thrown away. Praise the Lord. Let the church say AMEN!