Posted in: Opinions
By Amos Kasibante
Jun 29, 2009 - 3:24:31 AM
Michael Jackson should and will be a subject not only for journalistic comment or sociological and artistic study, but also for theological reflection. This suggestion might come as a surprise considering that unlike Bob Marley or Lucky Dube, Jackson does not mention God or spiritual subjects. And unlike Elvis Presley, it has not been said of Jackson that he was more famous than Jesus Christ. Does the suggestion to turn Jackson into a subject for theological reflection meant to inappropriately smuggle the famous King of Pop into the theological arena or turn him into a theological subject? No, because theological reflection does not limit itself to a few subjects, but reflects on any subject that impacts human beings and human history in a significant way. It is, therefore, not surprising that Jackson’s life has been described as iconic.
An icon is something or somebody that reflects depth in human life and helps humans to understand themselves better. It is a mirror reflecting human beings to themselves. The reason Jackson was famous was because he touched something very deep inside human beings.
He was able to transcend his own culture in USA , the West, South America and Africa, but appealed to people in India, Japan and China among others. However, we should see the genesis of his musical talent in the history and culture of USA and of Black America in particular. He must have been touched and gained inspiration from the Black soul tradition, which had its origins in religious experience. Not mystical experience as such but an experience that spoke from the depths, about suffering, endurance, and overcoming. Jackson’s Blackness is also crucial, for he brought stardom, hitherto restricted to White achievement, to the Black race. His talent is therefore a cultural contribution of the Black people to the culture of the world.
Michael tapped into the deep energy and creativity at the heart of human life, for music comes from the depths. It is part of creation itself. Music has a divine quality about it. A song that is popular in Christian circles in schools in Uganda says that Jesus is Lord of (the) dance. Song and dance is an imitation of the singing and dancing God. God has got style and moves with grace. The greatest gifts we have from the divine are creativity and imagination.
Another aspect of Jackson’s life that calls for theological reflection is the controversy surrounding his life.
There is a sense in which Jackson was a tragic figure. He was an extremely vulnerable, some would say insecure person. That made him love children, but it also rendered him susceptible to charges of child sexual abuse.
Perhaps the most controversial aspect was the plastic surgery, which turned his handsome baby-face into a kind of whitish mask. The actual cause of this death is yet to be established, but it is now common knowledge that his reliance on medication to relieve many of his physical and mental ailments might have been fatal.
But Jackson’s life is also a parable about the life of each one of us: Our vulnerability and capacity to self-destruct. And his tragic death says volumes about a fact which stairs us direct in the face, but which we often refuse to acknowledge - that death has no formula, that death is no respecter of persons, and that it does not take the elderly. May Michael Jackson’s soul rest in
Rev. Kasibante lives in the United Kingdom
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KIZITO MICHAEL GEORGE - Central Region, Uganda