It feels like a sucker-punch…

a few weeks ago, out of the blue, I looked up Rachel Held Evans because I hadn’t heard from her in a while. I have enjoyed her blog, and though at times I have been at odds with her view point, I have always been challenged by what she had to say.

So I looked her up, and discovered she was ill and in a medically induced coma. I couldn’t believe it. What? Naturally, I figured the doctors knew what they were doing and she would be fine. Then I saw the news today, it was sobering, it caught me by the throat and wouldn’t let go. I involuntarily exhaled all of the wind from my lungs. She was gone.

I cannot even imagine what her husband Dan must be going through right now. She was only 37 years old, and I feel as if the world has been sucker-punched right in the gut. How could something like this even happen…and yet it does. How could something so random and seemingly innocuous even take place in our modern-medicine-filled-world? It feels as if a large boulder has been placed on our collective chests and we are immobilized by the sheer weight of it.

The “pat”, Christianese answers like “well, it must have been God’s timing” and “everything happens for a reason” just feel like bold-faced lies, and I don’t want to hear them said. There is a certain bitter taste that wells up in my mouth and I feel that when someone so young (with a young family) and so much potential in the world dies it just seems so unfair. I have felt this way numerous times, and I wish that there was some way to quantify the sudden passing of people like this…but there’s not. We live in a very fragile world and every one of us is very much mortal. Life and Death balance precariously in our world and (as morbid as it sounds -sorry) any moment could possibly be our last.

I won’t cheapen Rachel Held Evans’ death by trying to summarize and “mortalize” a neatly packaged missive, stating that we never really know when the Lord will take us…but I will say that this all just feels heavy and unfair. I know we have never, ever been given a life that was guaranteed to be fair, but when a loved one or someone we respect dies so suddenly we feel it in the core of our souls…and it feels so very unfair. Please keep Dan Evans, Rachel’s husband in your prayers, as well as their small children and the extended family.

Perhaps we will all catch our breath again, but for right now, it just feels like a massive sucker-punch…and it’s okay to mourn…but it just feels so unfair.

-Just a thought.

Child Stars -Hollywood’s Role Models of Death

childstars

I admit it, I’m in a bad mood.  I’ve just grabbed my soap box and I plan to stand on it for a moment or two.  I have a confession to make.  I hate child stars and child actors.  But let me clarify.  It’s not specifically the person I hate, it’s what these networks which are cash cows hell bent on their endless cravings of greed have done to them. I hate the system.  I hate the build up of these children, as the television, movie and music industries exploit and seemingly pimp out these young stars and bleed them dry of their lives.  These industries commercialize and exploit young children and their families.  Brainwashing happens…not like it’s done in the espionage world but these kids are taught at a young age that appearance is everything.  They are told in so many words “don’t get fat”, “look your best”, and you’ll make us money. Parents and the child stars are sucked into these lifestyles and the industry works these children to either an early grave from drugs or suicide or until they grow up, grow old, get in trouble with the law and lose their ‘shine’.

Far too many of these ‘pop tart’ stars are milled out every year as the ‘next big thing’ and our children are subjected to these standards of acceptance and perception of perfection.  I’m sick and tire of it.  I can’t tell how much it grinds on me to see former child stars like Miley Cyrus and Lindsey Lohan flop around on music videos flaunting their half naked selves in order to break the ‘childhood star perceptions.   I can’t tell you how much it annoys me that some of these stars who have lost the lime light claw and scratch for any sort of media attention even to the extremes of partying, rehab and arrests.

It is a sad, vicious cycle of self deprecation, egotistical flaunts and greed.  What makes it even worse is that our children look up to these stars.  They’re in some ways peers to our children.  Turn on the t.v. and they are there, front and center.  Perhaps it’s time to turn off the television.  To stop supporting these networks that pimp out child stars upon the public stage.

I’m so sick and tired of hearing about the latest childhood star who was found dead.  When will these networks be held responsible for the monsters that they have created?  When will we reach a point where people will wake up and discover the acting lifestyle with its glitz and glamour has a dark and twisted underbelly?

I’m almost ready to come down from my soapbox…almost.  But look at the victims of these industries for a moment with me, and this is just a tip of the iceberg:

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Corey Haim: (December 23, 1971 – March 10, 2010)

80’s child actor who starred in many box office hits but struggled with drug addiction and the pressures of performing successfully.  Though his death was ruled accidental overdoes he fought his demons of Hollywood.

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River Phoenix (August 23, 1970 – October 31, 1993) He died on a sidewalk outside a nightclub of a drug overdose.  He also starred in movie hits as a child actor and ironically enough was even a spokesperson for an anti-drug campaign shortly before his death.

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Heath Ledger: (4 April 1979 – 22 January 2008) Heath was a child star from Australia who started off on television and became world famous actor.  He wasn’t much of a chronic but drug user but struggled with sickness and sleeplessness and overdosed on medications.

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Cory Monteith (May 11, 1982 – July 13, 2013)

Star of t.v.’s hit show ‘Glee’, Cory Died after failing to stay in rehab and overdosed on drugs.

ImageAmy Winehouse: (14 September 1983 – 23 July 2011)

Drug overdose

ImageJonathan Brandis  (April 13, 1976 – November 12, 2003)

Child star in movies such as Sidekicks, Neverending Story and tv shows like Seaquest.   He discovered acting to be very difficult as an adult, dealt with bouts of depression and heavy drinking.  Gone too soon, died of at his own hand -suicide.

Image Dana Plato (November 7, 1964 – May 8, 1999)

Suicide.

Image Lee Thomas Young

(February 1, 1984 – August 18, 2013) -Suicide.

There so many more that could be listed here.  Some died from drug and alcohol overdoses, others vehicular accidents, and still others suicide and murder.

I recognize there are many choices that people make.  I recognize that not every child actor ends up this way.  But seriously the statistics of drug overdose or suicide are so much higher with former child stars than any other demographic.   What does this teach our children, what does this teach us of our culture today?  We live in a very fickle world where beauty and popularity lasts mere moments and then it’s gone.  Do we allow culture to teach our kids, do we allow it to replace us as the parent or the teacher or the guardian?  We are our children’s parents, our child’s role models, we are their instructors in this life.  Step up and act like it.

Ok…now I’m stepping off of my soapbox for a while.

Sad News: General Bond to Retire.

GenBond_Linda

Today shock waves reverberated around The Salvation Army world when the news of the sudden retirement of its General, Linda Bond was announced. Many expressed sadness and confusion along with many, many questions.

(The Official News Link: http://news.salvationarmy.org.uk/announcement-retirement-general-linda-bond )

I believe as an Army we should refrain from idle speculation and avoid the winds of gossip and instead lift up our leadership and General Bond in prayer. If we are truly One Army, then we ought to come together as one Army and bathe this sudden transition in prayer. Though many hearts are burdened and saddened with questions, may our mission and our purpose never waver! We are an Army of Holiness and if we are truly sanctified people then we have placed our trust fully on God in the midst of often turbulent news.

I, personally was honored to hear General Linda Bond preach the word of Christ, and I felt His Holy Spirit fall upon His people. I was challenged and blessed by her ministry, and though I am but a lowly corps officer I felt God’s empowering words flow through her messages.

General Linda Bond has left a lasting impact on this Army, though her leadership was cut a year short, I am confident in the One who appointed her through the Army leadership located around the world. I also pray for whatever lies ahead for General Bond as she heads into retirement, knowing that the Lord is truly not finished with her yet.

May God continue to Bless The Salvation Army, it’s ministry and mission around the world…and may we ever be diligent in proclaiming Christ in everything we do!

God Bless you General Bond, and we will continue to lift you up in our prayers as you move into retirement!

***Update: please read a follow-up to this article on this blog regarding the High Council and dates of initial proceedings: https://scottstrissel.wordpress.com/2013/06/17/electing-a-new-general-of-the-salvation-army/

General Linda Bond official photo 2011 - blue_0

 

A CALL TO A MONTH OF PRAYER: https://scottstrissel.wordpress.com/2013/06/21/general-election-an-officers-perspective-and-a-call-to-a-month-of-prayer/

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