Friday, June 26, 2009

What Does It Mean that Michael Jackson was "Deeply Spiritual"?

Since the surprising announcement yesterday of Michael Jackson's sudden death, many are now describing the pop star legend as "deeply spiritual." Aware of Jackson's Jehovah's Witness upbringing, the question naturally arises, "What was Jackson's faith in more recent times?" And, even more important, "Was he an active participant in the faith of his choosing?" The question becomes important now that the media and supporters rush to describe him in ever glowing terms, elevating his supposed spiritual side. One early hint of his current spirituality came when his brother, at a press conference announcing the star's death, wished a blessing upon Michael from "Allah." In doing some quick searches on the net it became more and more obvious that, indeed, the star did convert to Isalm back in 2008, less than a year before his death.

According to his own admission, Jackson continued to practice his JW faith for several years after childhood and the launch of his professional music career. He describes when he would don special disguises in order to fulfill the church's practice of distributing Watchtower literature door-to-door and at the local mall. When his drift from his childhood faith began, and how committed to his new Muslim faith he truly was, we may never know.

From the perspective of a Christian, however, the label "deeply spiritual," while possibly descriptive of the star's private thoughts and views, remains deceptive to those who do not realize his lack of genuine faith in the true God. In the days to come as people mourn his death with almost religious fervor, Christians will be reminded again and again how painfully confused our world has become with regard to faith and eternity and the identity of the true God as revealed in Christ. One can only mourn the fact that in his lifetime search for truth he was not led to the only place he might have found lasting peace in the only Savior from death and sin, Jesus Christ our Lord. This is the true sadness of his passing.

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