Monday, February 25, 2013

Chris Brown: At It Again

Photo from CNN.COM

I’m frustrated! I’m frustrated with Chris Brown and all of the other celebrity figures who get special treatment by the justice system, or who are infamous and yet still loved.

Examples: NFL players who commit murder without consequences; NBA players who get DUIs and have their wrists slapped with a “fine”; singers who abuse their wives, do drugs, and live immoral lifestyles and yet are rich and famous.

A few weeks ago, I noticed an article on CNN about a certain celebrity, the title: The Ever Divisive Chris Brown. Evidently, Chris really wanted a certain parking space that Frank Ocean really wanted too (can you say, “first world problems”?!) and is being investigated for an altercation over the space. But I’m not frustrated with the fact that a fellow sinner like Chris got into a fight. I’m not frustrated with him for hurting Rihanna – although that did make me mad.

I’m frustrated because, regardless of the filth, fans still stand up for him and his “talent.” I’m frustrated because he will still be rewarded with millions of dollars this year. I’m frustrated because he has built a personal brand that can’t be touched by his own bad decisions. I’m frustrated because he will still show up on the Billboard Top 100 this year and will most likely perform at one or two awards shows.

How is it possible that any person with such ethical and moral issues, can enjoy success?

The article asks this differently: “As with controversial celebrities before him, at the core of the reaction to Brown are those age-old questions: What are our behavior standards for our celebrities, who sets them, and can they be enforced? If someone does something heinous, should we cease to find them entertaining? And just how much should a star's personal life override his or her work?” [quote]

I summarize it this way: when does talent stop justifying a person’s behavior? Should talent ever justify behavior?

There is a verse in Scripture that talks about this, but it doesn’t make me feel better.

In Matthew it says, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

I know. I thought it was a typo, too, but it was in the Bible. We are supposed to love Chris Brown and all of the other celebrities that commit heinous acts.

HOWEVER, that doesn’t mean we need to support his music or his lifestyle. I think the question CNN raises is the wrong question. They asked, “If someone does something heinous, should we cease to find them entertaining?” The real question is: “If someone does something heinous, should we stop letting them entertain us?” And the answer to that question is: YES! Absolutely! We should stop supporting Chris Brown. We should stop wearing jerseys of NFL players that murder people or get DUIs. If we don’t stop buying their music and jerseys, we are not loving them – we are supporting their ability to engage in bad behavior.

What do you think? Do you agree? You may comment below…

Monday, February 4, 2013

Was Beyoncé Inappropriate?

Photo from:
Bare skill. Exposed talent. Raw performance. Three of the many ways Beyoncés performance can be described. Facebook was alive last night during the half-time show.

There were positive comments:
Beyoncé used up all of the electricity. 
Anyone else obsessing over this half time show??? AWESOME. 
Take that Madonna and Janet, Beyoncé just showed you how to perform at a Super Bowl.
And negative comments:  
Couldn’t they have kept the sandy hook chorus around for halftime? We had to change the channel. 
Close your eyes kiddos, half time is not family friendly. 
She needs to put some pants on. 
There were people who were excited to see Destiny’s Child make a comeback on the main stage. Others were glad Justin Timberlake didn’t show up and cause a wardrobe malfunction. And some argued that the entire performance was a wardrobe malfunction. And that leads us to a question: how are we, as Christians, supposed to respond to a performance like that?

Most likely there will be two sides of the argument – the promoters and the detractors.

The promoters will quote, “Be in the world not of it…” meaning that it was okay to watch the show because they weren’t the one’s baring (almost) all for the world to see. They will say that they “appreciate Beyoncés talent,” and that “it’s a guy’s fault if he watched the show and stumbled – he should know what he can handle.”

And the promoters will have some good points, and be right about a few things.

But then the detractors will weigh in, and say things like “America’s culture is falling,” and “God would be sad to look down and see her dancing like that.” They will say, “the half-time show was inappropriate,” and “a good voice doesn’t justify her outfit.”

And the detractors will have some good points, and be right about a few things.

But what is the balance? What is the right way to view the Pepsi Halftime Show featuring Beyoncé? Weigh in on the discussion, comment below…