The man is not in the ground and there are already MJ sightings. 

I, for one, am perplexed and amazed at the sound and fury this death has caused.  As a whole, the mentally challenged community is extremely aware of current events.  Therefore, I wasn’t surprised when several people were upset by the death of this pop singer.  Within the mentally challenged community, Johnny told me that he now knew that Jesus was coming back soon because MJ was dead.  Another member showed me newspapers and requested prayer for the world who had lost this great man. 

What has surprised me is the amount of press coverage his death has received.  The revolution in Iran, the surge in Afganistan and the removal of US troops in Iraq were pushed off the front pages.   News of Obama was eclipsed by the man’s demise. 

 Because you have probably also faced this issue with your members, here are some ways you may chose to deal with this issue.

  1. Ignore it. 
  2. Share with the distressed person the need for our hearts to be clean and pure before God at all times.  None of us know when we may be die.  Only God knows that.  Therefore, we must be prepared.
  3. Pray for the person who is upset.  Ask God to give him or her peace in the middle of this time of grief.  Remember this person is truly hurting or s/he would not bring this issue up to you.
  4. DO NOT pray for Michael Jackson.  Remind the person that we can pray for MJ’s family but we can no longer pray for him.  He is dead.
  5. DO NOT assure your members that MJ is in heaven.  As much as I can glean from the reports, Jackson was not and did not claim to be a Christian.
  6. After several requests, I chose to pray publicly for all the people who are grieving because of this death.  I asked the Lord to help them to understand how important it is to make a firm commitment to the Lord now.  I asked that these people use this time as a time to call on the Lord for salvation.
  7. I plan on teaching some time in the near future how important it is to nurture close friendshipa with people we know and how futile it is to become attached to celebrities that we do not know and we will never meet.

I’m sure there are more and better ways to deal with this problem of hero/celebrity attachment within our culture.  What are some ways you have dealt with it?  Did you face the same concerns with your members?