Phillip Hoffman…Phillip Seymour Hoffman

It was just about grief, when I sat in the dark car in my driveway listening to his voice.

He had a wonderful voice.

He played ordinary men well.

And I, as a human on this planet, will miss him being on this planet.

But not as much as those who needed him.

Which is why I say this–of course he was a consummate actor…

But

… until the Heath Ledger and Phillip Seymour Hoffman stories are moneyballed for why?

Why do talented (famous…rich) young men kill themselves with dangerous drugs and too fast cars?

Then I will say it–better for his partner, his children, his mother if he had been an ordinary man with an ordinary job and no bags of death hidden in his apartment.

We will miss his acting, do we have the guts to admit he would have been safer as a plumber or a high school English teacher?

Do we dare?

No One Is that White

I have clung to this verse rather feverishly through the last 4 years:

Isaiah 53:12 (NIV)
Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

Because I am a transgressor
And he was numbered with me

It really does not feel good being a transgressor. First there is the spiritual malaise of sin. Then there is the divide it creates between me and God. Next there is this fun fact: while all regular humans are sinners, we pretend we are not.

Jesus was no regular human.

He was poor, dark, and hated. His nickname was “bastard.”

He bore our shame.
He bore my shame.

Isaiah 53 is a chapter as hard as obsidian, so painful, so crucial. And it was written by a guy who walked around naked for 3 years just because God told him to do it.

I figure the naked walking was God’s writing seminar. Not fun or pretty, but soaring, redemptive, essential.

Do you know Jesus?

If you do, you know the only color that matters when describing him is blood red. Blood shed for me, one miserable transgressor.

And if you don’t? Walk that road, that narrow road he lights for us, to the Cross that sets us free.

Isaiah 1:18

The Picture

The poster shows familiar faces–Oprah, Ashley Judd, Tori Amos. There are people in it I did not know were sexual abuse survivors. I was a struck by the stories I did not know as the dozens of people who were survivors who weren’t on the poster.

Each made a choice to tell their story. Each has helped me to tell ours.

Victims become survivors when someone shows them they are not alone. What happened to them has happened to others.

We need to speak out.

To heal
To save others
To break the power of silence

Celebrity Perils

Mark 1:38-45 (NIV)
Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” [39] So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons. [40] A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” [41] Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” [42] Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured. [43] Jesus sent him away at once with a strong warning: [44] “See that you don’t tell this to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.” [45] Instead he went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news. As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places. Yet the people still came to him from everywhere.

Jesus came to seek and rescue people. He is a superhero, the only real one…

The guy could have been anything, done anything. He could have ruled the world. Instead he wandered the lonely hills of an agrarian outpost casting out demons?. Curing skin diseases?

Yep. He loves people so he helps us with our sadness, our loneliness, our hunger. But for him that is not enough. He came to take away our curse–death itself. He came to restore the kingdom of life.

So the strong injunctions to varies entities to shut up about his superhero identity make more sense.

He did not want us to be so blinded by his bling, his miraculous events, that we lost sight of his heart.

Jesus is in love with each of us
I am afraid not all of us get close enough to him to love him back.