Last summer, Amy Winehouse departed this life at the age of 27. Today, the entertainment world is in mourning again, as yet another famous performer passed into eternity over the weekend. While we don’t yet know what caused Whitney Houston’s death, many news reports are talking about her problems with drugs and alcohol.
My wife and I were talking about the public outpourings of grief in the entertainment world. Flowing out of our conversation, I have some questions for the entertainment industry — and its consumers, including Christians.
- Were those who grieve for Whitney Houston today partying with her last week? Did that help her?
- With whom are you going to party next week whose life will be devastated or ended by addiction soon?
- When you see someone’s life being destroyed by addictions, why do you continue to work with them, give them gigs and roles in movies, help them put on concerts, as if what they are doing to themselves doesn’t matter? Why do you support and enable their addiction? Why don’t you say, “No, the only help you’ll get from me is help getting yourself sorted out?” Which is more caring, to cry after someone is gone, or to take drastic action to try to prevent their departure?
- When you as a consumer of entertainment see that someone is an addict, why do you continue to buy their music and pay to see their movies? You are giving them money with which they are self-destructing, giving them acclaim that is ensnaring them. If you agreed with point number three, why do you not put your money where your mouth is?
- Do you ever think about the fact that the sound of your applause could be drowning out that warning voice inside that is saying, “You are in deep, deep trouble. You need help. You need God.” Does that person need your applause, telling them they are doing great, or is it deadly to them?
- When will the world, often led by the media/entertainment industry, stop pushing an evil and twisted message that “having it all” makes one happy? When will consumers stop supporting that message by buying entertainment products that push it? Whitney Houston “had it all,” rich, famous, etc., and she was still an unhappy addict.
- Will people in our society ever wake up to the fact that the important things in life are not fame, money, pleasure, and talent? Will Christians (and even those who aren’t Christians, but have a moral compass) ever stop supporting an entertainment industry that constantly pushes a horrible and destructive values system? You may not know if the performer is an addict, but you know the values system they are living and encouraging in others.
Whitney Houston had an amazing voice, one that could have been used to the glory of God. But there was money to be made, fame to be sought, pleasure to be enjoyed, everything to be had. She joined the entertainment industry. And even after her addictions were public knowledge, people who would never do some of the things she ended up doing provided the funds for her to continue in them. They provided the acclaim that kept an addict on a pedestal (which is where we humans are always most vulnerable), and now they shake their heads sadly at her fall.
Meanwhile, the entertainment industry goes on, using up and destroying the entertainers, pushing their consumers to adopt false values such as the love of money and of pleasure, exalting the praise of man as a good thing, spinning further and further along its nihilistic path. Christians go on buying their products, praising the performers, filling their minds with that which does not edify.
Some of those in the industry who knew and loved Whitney the best weep for her today. Next week, some of those same people will “party” to try and forget the pain — the pain of losing friends, the pain of empty lives, the pain of loneliness and fear and the suspicion that no one loves you for anything but your money or your talent. And the next victim(s) will move deeper into the grip of addiction.
7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.