(Republished by permission. See also two commentaries below.)
Truth in Media's GLOBAL WATCH Bulletin 97/9-1 04-Sep-97
Topic: EUROPEAN AFFAIRS
Princess Diana and Mother Theresa
OXNARD, CA, Sept. 4 - She chose to live in the fast lane of the aristocratic jet set. She died in the fast lane of a Paris underpass after trying to outrace some photographers.
We are told it is a tragedy. It is. Any time someone dies in this world, it is a tragedy. Especially if it is someone who cared about other people. Since it is considered bad manners to bring up the deceased person's shortcomings in a eulogy, we'll skip over them.
We are told it is a Greek tragedy. It is not. Old Greeks had more common sense than to travel at 121 mph through city streets in murderous projectiles called automobiles. Thank God no innocent bystander or driver was killed.
We are told the paparazzi had killed her. They did not. Not unless you're prepared to blame the tip of a whip for striking you, rather than the hand which held its other end. Paparazzi are the convenient scapegoats. They were merely doing their job. Professional sports players, not to mention racing car drivers, are revered by the masses for this kind of hustle. They are also paid a lot of money, just as the paparazzi were trying to earn.
Contrast their hustle with the media buzzards like Barbara Walters or Peter Jennings, for example, who are now feeding off the remains of this news story, like the desert vultures feasting off a corpse.
So who killed Princess Diana? Mostly herself. But also the West's living dead. The West's living dead? Yes. The Tom, Dick and Harry's... and the Jane, Sheilagh and Mary's... They held the end of the whip.
Who are these people? They are the hundreds of millions of miserable human beings, mostly in the West, who don't have a life of their own; at least not a satisfying and fulfilling one. Deprived of spiritual food by the materialistic industrial era, these people have vicariously lived the high society life they were craving through the TV characters like Princess Diana. Would they have wailed as loudly (or at all?) if their favorite cartoon character died in a car crash?
More importantly, do they weep for the Unknown Soldier who died while fighting for their freedom or safety? Do they cry for the Unknown Fireman who perished while trying to save a stranger's home. Do they shed their tears for the Unknown Policeman who was killed while protecting someone's life or property?
Instinct tells me they don't. Unlike Princess Diana, these true heroes are unknown to us because our society is being brainwashed into de-emphasizing the patriotism and unselfishness, while elevating the glitz and greed.
That so many millions can be made to feel such deep emotions for a person they've never met, is yet another example of industrial man's degradation from physical to virtual life. It is also another victory for the industrial elites, who can now manipulate emotions of the masses on a scale unprecedented in human history.
Which ought to send shivers down the spine of any free man still walking tall on this world.
The staged-for-TV massacres of Sarajevo civilians by their Muslim government, apparently using foreign screenwriters, directors and producers, are recent examples of how dangerous this and macabre New World really is (check out the May 1992, February 1994 and August 1995 massacres - to mention only three of a number of such gruesome "Sarajevo TV productions").
Unlike Hollywood productions, however, these government-sponsored murders spilled the real blood of real people (their own, at that!!) in the hope of winning the sympathy of the world's TV viewers.
In a bizarre way, this is the ultimate New World Order nirvana... real life becoming a servant of virtual images. And as with the upcoming London funeral, the big-name TV buzzards (Jennings, Christiana Amanpour, etc.) were on hand in Sarajevo to record the carnage.
So when the expected millions of the living dead line the streets of London on Saturday to see the funeral procession; when the predicted hundreds of millions of their international compatriots join them through the TV screens; when Britain falls silent for one minute in a tribute to Princess Diana... that's when this writer plans to be, in body or in spirit, at the graves of all those patriotic soldiers whose names mean nothing to us; all those unselfish firemen, all those brave policemen, or all those decent neighbors we never met.
Unlike Princess Diana who lived in the fast lane, and died in it, too - these ordinary heroes lived their lives in relative obscurity. They died without the pomp and ceremony awarded to those born with a silver spoon in her mouth.
Will you turn off your TVs on Saturday and join me in a minute of silence for the true nobility of mankind?
Bob Djurdjevic TRUTH IN MEDIA Phoenix, Arizona e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
http://www.beograd.com/truth/ (Truth in Media home page)
http://www.forbes.com/tool/html/97/aug/returns0805/ (Djurdjevic's August 1997 FORBES column, "The Japanese are coming (maybe)"
http://www.forbes.com/tool/html/97/july/returns0708/einstein.htm (Djurdjevic's July 1997 FORBES column, "Move Over Einstein, Signor Da Vinci Is Back")
http://www.djurdjevic.com (Annex Research home page)
(1) What it Means to be a Somebody
A few days ago, Princess Diana was killed in an automobile accident in Paris, out of control at nearly 120 mph ramming into a tunnel abutment. The outpouring of emotion, grief, and devotion to her is almost without equal.
What does it mean to be a "somebody"? The pursuit of heroes and heroines is an indication of the poverty level of human culture. Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, John Kennedy, and many others have come to symbolize for us just that -- what it means to be a "somebody". Nobody wants to be a "nobody". Diana was (at least potentially) our sister in Christ . That is the first fact to remember about her. And if not our sister in Christ, then a sinner yet in need of redeeming and beloved of God.
Some have noted that Diana was very interested in people, and that she tried hard to be the princess that people wanted her to be. Others have noted that Diana was interested in people, at least insofar as the media let her be known to us, from an essentially secular stance. She did not give the impression of a Mother Theresa whose interest in people stemmed first out of her devotion to God (as Stephen Noll at Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry in Ambridge, PA, rightly noted). [Update: After having written the above, I just a few hours ago (9/5/97) learned of the death of Mother Theresa, due to a heart attack. I cannot help but wonder if the Lord timed this event to draw the contrast for the world between that which the world runs after and that which He is offering....]
It is an essential part of the Christian Gospel that God has shown us the answer to how we become a "somebody": Pick up your cross daily and follow Me. And it has been a very consistent response by the human race to God that we admire people who do that, but not in our neighborhood please. Few of us, Christian or otherwise, would feel comfortable with Mother Theresa or St. Francis in the house next door. And, we can safely assume, there will be no comparable wave of grief and devotion sweeping around the world at the death of Mother Theresa. The contrast is almost jarring. The human race is not really much interested in God's version of the "somebody", the person fully made and completed in His image. When that perfect image visited us, we did our best to get rid of Him.
Most of the devotion to Diana (and to other worldly heroes), it would be fair to say, is the worship of an image, a "virtual" somebody. The image of Diana is no more real than the image of Elvis or Marilyn. But, because most of us live our lives in separation from that which is substantial, that is, dependency upon and obedience to God, we must seek our meaning in the world of shifting sands. We latch onto the "somebodies" who appear to have made it, who appear to have been gifted by the gods. And so we hook our wagon to a falling star. And then we try to deny the fallenness of the star. Jesus is the only non-falling star -- precisely because His selfhood is not of this world.
Diana may have been a Christian, at least in the "baptized" sense. It does not appear that she was a Christian in any serious sense, i.e., that she sought her "selfhood" in the image and likeness of God. If she were to bump into Jesus, it is not evident that she would fall on her knees in worship, or that she would proclaim Him King of kings and Lord of lords -- perhaps especially of English princesses. The image of Diana that the world worships is that of a goddess, not a saint.
A goddess finds her selfhood, her "sombody-ness", within the confines of the cosmos, by "being herself", by "self" expression, and "self" fulfillment -- i.e. by impressing people that she is a "somebody" (it necessarily gets ingrown and circular, and therefore unstable). A goddess (or a god) is not really the autonomous, independent being that they look like. They are all heavily dependent on the adulation of those who tell then how to be goddesses and gods. But as Marilyn, Elvis, and Diana each found, that does not lead to a happy ending.
God is quite in favor of having selves, and of our "being ourselves" - that is why He created us. He asked Adam and Eve to populate the world with them. But He also designed us to get our selves from Him, not from the circumstances around us, i.e. not from the unholy trinity of the world, the flesh, or the devil. We are to get our selves from the Holy Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. There is no ambiguity from God's point of view. Jesus was quite clear on how to be a somebody in the eyes of God.
Diana was a beautiful and winsome person. She was the delight of the public. She apparently did try to be a good princess. That is not to be belittled. But it was obligatory upon Diana to point beyond herself to her Creator so that people would say, not , "What a beautiful and successful woman! the image of my dreams!", but rather, "Thank God for Diana...." It was obligatory upon her to be the princess that God wanted. The people needed to know that she was God's gift to them, not her own gift. Without our spiritual center in God, it is not possible really to be good, only to put up a good show. And the world likes the show more than the substance.
And she needed to know that the people were God's gift to her. As we all are to each other. That is how we live by grace, that is, by gift. Living by grace depends on whom you thank.
Had Diana sought to be the princess Jesus was asking her to be, she, almost for sure, would not have died in a 120 mile car accident with a drunken driver. We will never know, of course, what her and her escort's alcohol levels were.
Let us pray that Christians (at least), will see Diana's life and death through the eyes of God. Let us pray that the Archbishop of Canterbury and others who will officiate at her funeral will not try to be the clergy that "the people want", but will see a sister in Christ, a sinner in need of redemption, that they will stand up as Godly men, using the opportunity to preach the Good News of "How to Be a Somebody in the Eyes of God".
[The following was a response to some responses to the above.]
Friends in Christ,
Some folks have thought I, and perhaps others, were "judging" Diana in the forbidden sense ("Judge not...") by comparing her (a bit unfavorably) with Mother Theresa.
I was careful to note that our knowledge of Diana comes through the media (for most of us, at least) and that that was the basis of my remarks. My remarks are obviously open to correction because my knowledge of her is so imperfect. But the impression given by the media is not that of a saint. The media is, of course, not interested in sainthood, other than as a curiosity.
And the fact is that we often have to make character judgements of people. The eulogist at the funeral did it, and so do the newspapers, and so do all the rest of us. People get upset mostly when the judgements are negative about someone they like.
What is forbidden, I think, is not assessments of people's motives or actions, but consigning them to hell (or heaven). That is God's job, not ours. But we are quite clearly to make judgements on the character of people, understanding, of course, that we are very fallible and might need to be corrected.
Nowhere in Scripture does it suggest that we are not to assess the character or the motives of people. On the contrary, it is a part of our spiritual maturity that we learn to do so accurately, looking, as best we can, to the inner persons rather than to the outer shell. One might ask: "Well, who are you to think you can know the inner character of a person?" Simple, they reveal themselves. Some people hide themselves, so it is harder to tell.
People also ask: "Who are you to think you can know the mind of God?" And again, simple. He tells us. God has spent a great deal of time, effort, and pain to tell us. The real question is rather: "Who are you to think you cannot know the mind and heart of God?" We are told to look at the heart, not at the outside.
Can anyone name a figure of note anywhere in Scripture that did not judge the motives of people? Is anyone wanting to defend the idea that Jesus did not judge motives?
Those folks who are suggesting that I (or someone) has judged in the forbidden sense are themselves making judgements. It simply is not possible to live in society without making moral judgements about people, and moral judgement are about their motives. Knowing the motives of persons is one of the essential ways we know them at all. I want to know that the teachers of my children really want to teach the truth, I want to know that my banker is honest in his dealings. I want to know that my family loves me. I want to know that my priest really believes in God and is not faking it. If a person says such and such, but then acts in a way contrary to that, I might well judge that his motives were unsavory.
To say that we are not allowed to assess motives is to make social life impossible. We need to do it accurately and compassionately. But, with all of its potential pitfalls, we need to do it.
I said that Diana's good works were not to be dismissed. God leans all the way down from heaven and says "Thank you!" for our good works (see Matthew 25, on the Last Judgement). But it is still true that she did not point us on to God in any way that would inspire people to say, "Thank God for Diana!" She was not a window to God. They would more likely say, "What a beautiful and successful and (yes maybe even) good woman!" And, for most people, at least, it would stop there.
She may indeed have better than that in her, she may have wanted to point her people on to God, but that was not the image that she projected, nor the image most people were (are) running after. So one suspects, at least, that that was not her conscious aim.
In any event, whether Diana does or does not make it into the Kingdom is not my point, and not my business. My post was about the public image of being a "somebody" which the general public pursues.
The difference, again, comes down to whom, ultimately, you thank. To whom are you grateful for life and its blessings?
Someone noted that if we were all to be judged by the character of Mother Theresa, we are lost. But it is much worse that than. We are all to be judged by the character of Jesus. And, apart from the free gift of grace, we are indeed all lost. We live by grace, not by deserts.
But, let it be said, being judged by the character of Jesus does not make like harder, it makes life easier, for it is the truth that will set us free, not a pseudo-truth designed to pamper our pride, sooth our self-pity, and flatter our pretensions to being autonomous, independent decision-makers.
So, let the thanks be to God,
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