Christians can get a little snarky sometimes when celebrities die. It’s a problem.
The problem is that we as Christians often want to invalidate the death of a celebrity (especially suicides) simply because that celebrity wasn’t an Evangelical Christian or didn’t in some way espouse or support Evangelical values. Somehow, by way of their celebrity lifestyle, and some by the way they chose to ultimately end that life, we turn celebrities into the enemy while we forget that the Apostle Paul said that our fight is not against the people around us, but against evil itself.
When Stephen Hawking died, God was sad. When Kurt Cobain killed himself, God was sad. The same goes for many who died and who seemed to be evil or otherwise didn’t live in a relationship with God. I think Christians should be sad, too.
There’s also a temptation to poo-poo the people who are saddened at the death of a person they’ve never met, but I’m not sure that’s a correct attitude either, much less a reasonable one.
You see, I have an uncle who lives just outside of Dayton, Ohio. I like him. But the truth of the matter is that I’ve probably spent more time with Anthony Bourdain than I have with my Uncle Chris.
Chris owns a bar and dabbles in photography and makes a good living for himself and my aunt. Honestly, I haven’t seen him in a couple years and I don’t think there’s any love lost over it. Not because we don’t like each other or anything like that; it’s that Chris and I live separate lives, and that’s fine. We owe each other nothing, but always enjoy each other’s company. He’s a good, fun guy. Again, I like him.
For the record, I’ve never met Anthony Bourdain, but he was someone I liked. I spent many hours on Saturday mornings or the occasional weeknight watching The Layover and Parts Unknown. I watched the man share what seemed to be his deepest joy in life—learning about food and the people that cooked it. It made me want to travel and do the same, even though I’ll never be able to afford it. If I’d ever ran into him on a night out, I would have shook his hand and told him thank you and asked for a photo or something, or maybe even asked if we could have a drink together. I have a feeling he’d a been up for it.
Maybe not, because like I said, I’ve never met the man in person, but the truth is that Bourdain, through his television shows, shared more with me than my Uncle Chris has. And I really like my Uncle Chris.
So it stands to reason that when I heard about Anthony Bourdain yesterday, that he had killed himself in his hotel room, I was sad. All I can say is that I deeply enjoyed his gifts and felt that I knew him a little bit. I deeply appreciated and enjoyed the things he shared with me. And that’s all gone now. There won’t be another Anthony. I think that makes God sad, and it makes me sad too.
Illustration Credit to Jenny Mörtsell (http://www.jennysportfolio.com)