FAME, A FICKLE FRIEND

June 12, 2018

The Philadelphia Eagles, who represent the city of “brotherly love”, will not be honored for their Super Bowl victory at the White House.  Evidently, the number of committed attendees had diminished to an embarrassing number leading the President to disinvite the heroes of the gridiron.  Mr. Trump has spoken out against the NFL players who refuse to give proper acknowledgment to our flag which has led to a childish protest.  The reality is, a much larger boycott of far greater significance is in the works.  White males, particularly older ones, are deserting the football flotilla in droves.  Players trimmed out in pink in October isn’t nearly as much about breast cancer as an effort to attract a new demographic.  If cancer is the paramount concern, where is the purple in November for prostate cancer?

Last week I had lunch with five other men, one of which is a former NFL running back.  He was very vocal about his recent divorce from the league.  He vowed never to watch another game unless the organization enforces their own rules showing utmost respect for our flag and national anthem.  Every man at the table agreed that they were done with professional football.  Without a doubt that group can be duplicated thousands of times across the fruited plains.

In the larger sense there is an increasing number of average hard working Americans who are growing very weary of entertainment celebrities professing to be the moral conscience of the nation.  If they protest we are all expected to take notice because they are, after all, famous.  Fame is no guarantee of intelligence, power of reason or the ability or will to pursue thoughtful research.  Unfortunately, it is often an anchor to stupidity, leaving the pretenders of wisdom with nothing more than name recognition.  The farms and factories of America harbor more common sense than Hollywood and all of the professional sports venues in the land put together.

The Bible, as expected, presents a splendid picture of fame’s fickle friendship:  “Now Korah,…..took men; And they rose up before Moses with certain of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown:  And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them:  wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the Lord?” (Numbers 16:1-3).  Korah and his band of brothers presumed upon their notoriety to challenge the leadership of Moses.  It seems their major complaint was that they and their celebrity friends were not being granted enough influence in the decision making process.

Keep in mind this is some of the same bunch that had previously constructed a golden calf to be worshipped while Moses was on the mountain receiving the Ten Commandments.  That debacle cost Israel 3000 men (Exodus 32:28) to be accompanied by an unspecified plague (Ex. 32:35).  In spite of God mercifully delivering them from slavery and miraculously providing their every need, an insatiable appetite for recognition prevailed.  God’s opinion of unsubstantiated celebrity commentary is discovered in the immediate outcome:  “and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods.  They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them:  and they perished from among the congregation (Numbers 16:32, 33).  This was actually the sixth time that the elites had murmured against God and Moses causing the Lord’s fuse to grow shorter.

Chapters 2-8 of 1 Chronicles is dedicated to the genealogies of the tribes of Israel.  Occasional information concerning the character and abilities of the tribes accompany these ancestries.  Some from the tribe of Manasseh were said to be “mighty men of valour, famous men, and heads of the house of their fathers.”  The next verse gives insight into the result of this stardom:  “And they transgressed against the God of their fathers, and went a whoring after the gods of the people of the land, whom God destroyed before them” (I Chronicles 5:25).  History indicates that without exception, when a nation changes course and takes the wrong fork in the road, those leading the parade enjoy celebrity status.

The danger of being distinguished knows no boundaries; even the best can be adversely affected.  “And Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt.  For he was wiser than all men;…and his fame was in all nations round about” (I Kings 4:30,31).  Heads of state came from all directions to observe the fruit of this incredible wisdom (See I Kings 10).  But alas, as wise as Solomon was, he fell prey to the demon of self-flattery:  “And Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and went not fully after the Lord, as did David his father” (I Kings 11:6).

In the final analysis, a praying grandmother living in a log cabin in the Ozarks has more wisdom to offer than all the big shots in the sports / entertainment industry and the news media.  The wise man doesn’t compete; therefore, nobody can compete with him.

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