I wasn't necessarily a Michael Jackson follower as far as music fannery goes. Indeed, he delivered some mighty and powerful music as he pierced the entertainment industry with remarkable talent. I am a Jackson fan in that he represents much of humanity; a person valuable to God.
I've held a special place in my heart for this man since I read a quote of his in an interview maybe 20 or 25 years ago. He said nobody wanted to be his good friend. Possibly several missed his statement. For one, I got it. Everyone wanted a connection to the pop singer (an autograph here and a photo there), but few would love him unconditionally for who he was; a plain and needy man. From the time of that interview I have grieved for him as his life surely displayed his loneliness in the midst of a crowded concert halls and stadiums.
As a side note it was reported Elizabeth Taylor rushed to be with him as he passed. I feel the same toward her; although we have never met. It made me think of her back surgery in New York two decades ago, at least. I read later she received over 5000 cards. Amazing. A few weeks later her secretary wrote me a note expressing Ms. Taylor's personal appreciation for the letter of encouragement I sent. She, too, is most likely a lonely lady in need of God's tenderness and mercy.
The biggest flashback in all of this is Jackson dying at UCLA Medical Center. That's where Curt Flood's wife asked me to meet her as Curt had taken ill in his final days. I was so fortunate to be with Curt in the last few hours of his life. It killed me to tell him good bye and head for LAX.
We must be connected to the Son of God in such a way, my estimation, to remember even those who appear to have it made carry incredible hunger to be loved and accepted as a part of a graced community. Many years back our church bought small ads in the Daily News and the Hollywood Reporter offering Bible studies by mail as well as a phone number. We had a slim amount of requests for the studies.
One day, though, a young woman called me with the initial introduction that she could not tell me who she was. She asked if we could just talk. She wanted to talk about the possibility God could be true. I was honored to have the talk.
What goes on with such occasions? No measurement of religious exercise. No charting of effective outreach. The assurance.....we encouraged one heart that day which may have never heard God loves the entire human race.....including her.
I wonder if it may be time to polish the ads and reach to this lonely industry once again. Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, and now Michael. Surely their friends and admirers are crushed in heart. Maybe we could encourage just a bit without getting in their way.