What do we do when a celebrity dies? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
A little over a week ago, the world received a shock. I remember I was at work that day and I had just randomly started thinking about Betty White’s 100th birthday coming up. In the break room in the past few days before that, I had seen on what I think was Entertainment Tonight that plans were underway for her birthday party. Everyone was ready. It was coming. Let’s celebrate!
Except we didn’t. Before the new year on December 31st, Betty White died.
Then on Sunday night, I received a message from friends about the death of Bob Saget. If your family was like mine at one time, watching America’s Funniest Home Videos was a staple in the household. Bob Saget hosted that and although he was not a bit funny, we did enjoy the videos. I know he was on Full House, but I never watched that so I can’t comment.
When these people die, we mourn and it’s not because we’re normally close to them, but more I think for the nostalgia. For Betty White’s performances, I mainly watched The Mary Tyler Moore Show and I remember her from her husband being the host of Password. I never watched The Golden Girls. I have already said where I remember Bob Saget from.
I suppose you could say it’s like the past dying in some ways. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie Patch Adams, but I have not seen it once since Williams’s suicide. I suppose it’s like my own parents talking back about their past experiences and mentioning someone and saying “They’re dead now.”
Yet there are some matters that need to be said.
First off, most of these celebrities probably had plans, which is not bad, but they never got to pull them off. Saget was on a comedy tour. He had no idea his time was limited to that very night. It’s something to consider that one breath is all that separates you from eternity.
After I get done here, I will take a shower and after some time, I will go to work. I have no guarantee I will come home tonight. I don’t even have a guarantee I will get to work okay. I act like I will and I don’t think we should live in terror that we will die at any moment, but I do need to remember more often that every moment is a gift.
So let’s look at what happens next. What will happen to many of these celebrities? Will they enter into eternity with joy or will they enter it with shame? Will they love the presence of God or will they hate it? Right now, their choice is made and they are done. What would it profit them if they gained the adulation of the world and lost their souls? I’m not saying that happened for sure for either White or Saget. I can’t speak on that. I am saying it could have.
Hollywood is one of the most influential systems in the world today, and we Christians have to admit it’s full of depravity. So what are we doing about it? Do we write them off because they’re celebrities? We often treat them as gods and goddesses and our magazine racks are filled with stories about events in their lives to which I often want to say, “Who cares?” Why should anyone live vicariously through a celebrity? What difference does it make who so-and-so is dating? Don’t you have enough issues in your own life to work out?
However, these people have struggles like everyone else. They have questions and problems like everyone else. They also need Jesus like everyone else. Are we trying to influence Hollywood at all or are we just avoiding it? There is no reason Jesus Christ cannot redeem Hollywood. There is no reason He cannot use you to do it, except for one. You are unwilling to be used. That includes me as well.
When we get to Hollywood also and start making our movies, can we please also make good movies? Right now, for the most part, Christians make movies only other Christians want to see. What good would an evangelism method be that only reached other Christians and never those who don’t know Christ? One rare recent movie I understand was an exception to this was Lee Strobel’s The Case for Christ.
Christian movies for the most part are universally bad and Christians go see them because they’re Christian and that’s what you do. Sadly, that’s often the reason we could give for going to church as well. What if we made them so well and they were so popular that non-Christian celebrities wanted to be in them?
There will be other celebrity deaths in 2022. Are we trying to reach these people that seem out of reach with the gospel? Do we consider that they are a breath away from eternity? Do we consider that we are?
God loves them as He loves us. Let’s show Jesus to them as we should.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)