In Memory of Herbert W Armstrong (31 July 1892 – 16 January 1986)

Shortly after Michael Jackson died, there was a swarm of news articles, blog articles, Facebook postings and general adoration for the King of Pop.

However, not everyone was saddened by his death.  Do you remember Congressman Peter T King from New York?

“This low-life, Michael Jackson — his name, his face, his picture — is all over the newspaper, television, radio… Let’s knock out the psychobabble. He was a pervert, a child molester, he was a pedophile. And to be giving this much coverage to him, day in and day out, what does it say about us as a country?”

How is it that people with great vision and talent can be so flawed?  A mixture of good and bad, or more correctly, good and evil.  That’s the stuff we are all made of.  The account in Genesis keeps getting played out in real life so very often.

Do we every really rise above it?  Only with God’s Spirit do we stand a chance of truly cleansing ourselves, but it still isn’t easy, is it?  Then, just when we think we got something licked, something new comes along to challenge us in areas we didn’t even know existed.

So, what are we to do with MJ?  Should we leave him on a pedestal and idolize him?  Should we vilify him?  Or, should we just let dead men rest in peace?

Personally, I never cared that much for his style of music, but there are some worthwhile ones.  Perhaps I’ll take the ones I like and leave the rest.

Someone recently said I was “eclectic”.  Perhaps so.  It’s made me a good manager to be able to pick from what works and use it and to be able to discard what does not.  If a particular methodology or theory stacks up to reality, then why not use it?  If it does not, then why not discard it?  Frankly, it doesn’t matter too much to me who came up with the idea, as long as it’s reasonable and practical.

Will I always pick good fruit?  Probably not.  Unfortunately, it is difficult to learn to pick from the right tree.  It looks so much like the other one, after all.  The good fruit on both look very similar in shape and size, and it is easy to get them mixed up together.  Sometimes, we have to learn again and again which one is the right tree.  We need to prune away the other tree so that the fruit and branches don’t intermix with each other.

So, how can I throw stones at MJ for eating from the wrong tree when I, who should know better, still get them confused?  Even more to the point, he was never convicted of the charges against him.  Perhaps we should just let it rest.  After all, we all will have to stand before our Maker and explain our actions someday.  Maybe it is more profitable to worry about my own misdeeds.

Have we learned from MJ’s life?  His mistakes?  His successes?  Can we leave the rest behind us?  Will we allow his actions and misdeeds to turn us off to music entirely?  Will we allow his actions and misdeeds to keep us from listening to any singer ever again?  Will we allow anger for what he did and supposedly did to cloud our judgment?  We can play Amateur Hour and sit in our armchairs and psychoanalyze him from afar and long after his death.  Or, will we do the opposite and gloss over everything bad he ever did and keep him on a pedestal that no man deserves to be on?

Come to think of it, is there really any difference between the two?  One wears rose colored glasses and the other dark sunglasses, but in the end aren’t both views as equally distorted?

Of course, you know we aren’t really talking about Michael Jackson, are we?

 11Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man [including yourself] take thy crown. (Revelation 3:11, King James Version)

In Memory of Herbert W Armstrong (31 July 1892 – 16 January 1986).

You can read a fairly objective review of his life, his beliefs, his many failings and his many triumphs at Wapedia.


  1. Ingenious. Well done. VERY well done!

  2. P.S. At the Sabbath service I attended, HWA never came up. For that matter, neither did MLK Day. Haiti was mentioned often — for obvious reasons.

  3. @Richard: You know, HWA's death didn't come up where I was at either. It might have been intentional, I suppose, but since the anniversary fell ON a Sabbath, I would have expected at least a token mention.

    The lack of a mention of MLK Day is not as surprising, though, given that Americans generally don't treat it like a holiday any more than President's Day.