Texas Baptist news nsmlogo

April 15, 2001

It's in the stars

___By Donna Van Cleve
___SThe stars direct us, teach us and help us determine our futures. We worship the stars. We make offerings to appease the stars. We name our children after the stars. We make every effort to align our lives with the stars. Even our knowledge of history is based on what we've learned from the stars. But do you really think the stars are worth the exorbitant salaries they're paid just to play-act or play a sport?
___ Whoa, vertigo.
___I turned that corner too quickly.
___I was listening to a song by Robbie Williams the other day that made the statement, "We got stars directing our fate." Poor English, but still a lot
of truth there. My first impression was that he intended it from an astrology angle, in which I do not believe or practice. But it hit me that he could be referring to the stars in entertainment, whether it's arts or athletics. Either way, following the stars is an unreliable path for our lives and futures.
___It's one thing to cut our bangs in the Farrah Fawcett feathered-back wings-style (does that date me?), but it's another thing altogether to base our mores and value systems on what we see on the big and little screens, as well as what's printed about the stars. And it's a sad fact that we know more about entertainment gossiOnline Onlyp and trivia than current events or historical facts.
___Maybe our history classes should be taught through movies, sitcoms and soap operas. How many of us think of Charleston Heston when we hear the name of Moses? The story of the Titanic went down a little easier alongside the fictional story of Jack and Rose, didn't it? And if history doesn't have enough action or sexual tension, Hollywood takes great liberties embellishing the facts. One of my favorite movies, "The Sound of Music," is a far different story from the actual truth of Maria and the Von Trapp Family.
___For the majority of us these days, our heroes are not men and women of distinguished character and abilities who have accomplished feats involving courage and noble intentions toward individuals or mankind.
___Our heroes today are men of great bulk and anger whose goals in life are to pound their opponents senseless, or so it seems, spouting insults and profanity to inspire all of us, especially our children, to a lower level of baseness.
___Our heroes today are women whose clothes, or lack thereof, leave nothing to the imagination, and then they act so shocked and cry "Wolf!" when their actions and appearances bring out the worst behavior in men.
___ Our heroes today are musicians whose music and performances grab hold and influence us in ways we sometimes can't explain.
___Heroes today are actors who are worshipped because of fictional characters they play. It takes an individual of strong character and sense of self to be able to separate reality from fantasy and to not base one's self-worth on ratings and ticket sales of the most recent performance, or that one big hit in the '60s. It is almost expected of stars to have drug or alcohol problems and steady relationships with psychiatrists, and yet we put entertainers on some of the highest thrones of worship and adoration. This is not to say there aren't men and women of great integrity in these fields, but it's a dangerous thing to pattern our lives after the illusion and fantasy of the roles they play.
___The tragedy of Sept. 11 gave rise to many examples of heroic action, and for awhile the stars took the backseat in our nation's focus. But all the glitz and hoopla surrounding the Academy Awards have shown the stars have reclaimed their thrones and the center of attention again. It's so much easier for us to dwell on the best- and worst-dressed lists than the crisis in the Middle East, or the problems in our communities, or our neighbors who need to know the love of Christ.
___We're not going to win the world without Christians getting more involved in the media, whether it involves the news, sports, entertainment, movies or television drama and sitcoms. Outside of school, those avenues are most people's sources of knowledge, values, truth, history and leisure—even to the point of displacing relationships.
___Folks are floundering around trying to find some meaning in this life to latch onto, and if they know more about Stephen King than the King of Kings, we Christians are letting the stars determine their fate, and that's a scary thing.

___ Donna Van Cleve is director of the public library in Cotulla, a writer, wife, mother and member of First Baptist Church in Cotulla, where she is pianist.

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