Why We Should Care About The Death of Heath Ledger

23 01 2008

One area of Christianity that I often look upon with bewilderment is our stated desire to win lost souls combined with our distaste for the people who embody the spirit.  It seems self apparent that we enjoy looking down on celebrities because it makes us feel better about ourselves.  After all, they’re nothing but a bunch of liberal, drug sucking, pill popping, booze swilling, child abusing, bi-sexual miscreants who got lucky in life.  Right?  Wrong.

As we observe the media frenzy surrounding the death of Heath Ledger, the spectre of drug abuse has already arisen.  While there is no early indication that this was a factor in his death, once the media tastes blood, it becomes a full blown attempt to dismember the reputation of another celebrity gone too soon.

I’ll admit that I don’t have a lot of use for celebrities that preach their secular religion, profess concern for the poor and embattled, and scorn politicians as if they held some greater insight to governmental affairs.  These celebrities then prove to be, at the very least, disingenuous or hypocritical.  Very few live a life true to the philosophies they regurgitate.  And therein lies the problem for you and I, the common folk, if you will.  The problem becomes the words “nothing but” in the first paragraph.

It is so easy to disassociate people from their souls when we find them contemptible.  Certainly, there are a fair number of individuals who idolize their favorite stars.  But in general, the church has long been a haven for bitter sentiments directed towards the Hollywood elite.  This is both wrong-headed and dangerous.  When we allow ourselves to forget that EVERY person is someone who God desperately loves and desires, we are forsaking the heart of our calling as Christ-followers.  This does not in the least dismiss the need to respect and love the poor, disenfranchised, and unlovely.  Rather, it is my concern that whenever we dismiss the value of any soul, we’re standing in opposition to the Gospel.  There’s no question that some figures are truly repugnant and hard to abide.  But each one is someone who has whethered their own life hurts and disappointments.  One has to wonder what their life would have portended had someone taken the time to show them real love… the help, hope and healing of Jesus Christ.

We have a lot of work to do.  The reputation of God has been bruised by brusque retorists who have represented a non-Biblical picture of Jehovah God.  May we take this moment to reflect, in the light of the tragic passing of a young man whom God loved, that every soul is precious.  While it may be more difficult for the wealthy to “enter in”, as Christ said, we dare not devalue anyone.  Doing so makes it far too easy to believe that we have the right to discriminate and separate the sheep and goats ourselves.

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5 responses

24 01 2008
persistentillusion

Heath Ledger was not a drug addict. He was someone who, in preparing for the role as the Joker, went to a very dark place mentally. When the movie wrapped, he was unable to pull himself back. He had spent months at a crazy level of intensity and couldn’t dial it back down.

He had serious problems sleeping; so much so that he told an interviewer that he had taken two Ambien and only gotten one hour of sleep.

That is the most likely reason that the masseuse was on the way over there…to help him relax so maybe he could get some sleep. He wasn’t a drug addict and he didn’t purposefully OD on sleeping pills. He was someone who was extremely sleep deprived and desperately trying to get some.

24 01 2008
gregfish

Nowhere do I say that Heath Ledger was a drug addict. Rather, I used his untimely death to spur discussion concerning how we view all people who have obtained that level of success. You or I neither one know the intimate details of his life, but that is completely irrelevant to my message that all people are of value. When we dismiss Heath as “just another ____(whatever)____ from Hollywood that died” we miss the point that we are all children of God with importance and worth. None of us have the priveledge of deciding if anyone is without worth. I apologize if I offended you, but please reread the article for its actual intent – to use this sad occassion for greater understanding.

24 01 2008
persistentillusion

I did, in fact, read your article. I also appreciate that you are trying to make a positive point…

It appeared, however, from “It is so easy to disassociate people from their souls when we find them contemptible” that perhaps you were using him as an example of a possible contemptible person whom you should show compassion and Christ’s love to.

Yes, I agree that all people are deserving of Christ’s love, however, it frustrates me that he could be classified as a contemptible person. He is an amazing actor with an incredible gift and people HAVE been vilifying him as a drug user.

24 01 2008
gregfish

I’m glad to know something more specific about what upset you. If my wording was inadequate to convey my true intent, I again apologize. I have no idea what kind of person Heath was, but he is part of an industry that is easy to hold contempt towards if we’re not careful.

Let me clarify. When I said,

“After all, they’re nothing but a bunch of liberal, drug sucking, pill popping, booze swilling, child abusing, bi-sexual miscreants who got lucky in life. Right? Wrong.”

…I would hope that you know I’m speaking in terms of things I’ve heard people say, and ended it with my own assement; this statement is wrong. I furthered that sentiment by saying,

“The problem becomes the words ‘nothing but’ “.

And not to beat this to death, but please note my comment,

“May we take this moment to reflect, in the light of the tragic passing of a young man whom God loved, that every soul is precious.”

Finally, please understand that my intent was summed up in the title, “Why We SHOULD Care About The Death of Heath Ledger”. I did not intend to seem as if I was classifying him as a contemptible person. The issue is that many will dismiss this incident and devalue this soul. When we do this, we also risk devaluing the souls of those at the other end of the economic spectrum.

I might add that there are countless people who also put their hearts and souls into their jobs and die unnoticed deaths. Heath is no more or less important than these. Rather, if we dismiss the importance of a person at one extreme, then we also risk dismissing all others. I hope that makes a modicum of sense. Again, I didn’t meant to insult someone who you hold in high regard. Rather, I too mourn the loss of someone who obviously needed someone to show him the help, hope and healing of Christ. Thanks for taking the time to dialogue with me… it has helped me along in my thinking. Blessings!

24 01 2008
rjperalta

I particularly like you comment that says, “one has to wonder what their life would have portended had someone taken the time to show them real love…
the help, hope and healing of Jesus Christ”.
May God help us,
Thank you,
Richard

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