Stop. Look. Listen and speak...

Most people would know about Steve Irwin’s death earlier this week. Fewer people will know about Peter Brock’s untimely death. For my international readers "Brockie" was the most popular and well known Australian motor sport identity.

What I noticed was the level of public grief for these two celebrities. Their deaths shocked us, left us numb. This shouldn’t surprise because we convince ourselves that death has no part in everyday life. We spend stacks of money on the anti-ageing cream and hair dye to cover the fact we’re slowly dying. Death rarely enters our suburbs, let alone our streets or homes. It is a stranger—an unwelcome one.

When death does break into our circle of celebrity or family, it comes as a rude shock. It's unfair, it's not time (it's never time) it's too soon, it's too much, it's more than we can bear. Seeing a celebrity die reminds us that we are truly fragile that even power wealth health and prosperity cannot protect us from the final realities of this life.

As I walked around this week I noticed society struggles to come to terms with these deaths. I over heard this just yesterday.

“I mean what can you do or say... I guess he went out doing the very thing that he loved.”
If doing the thing you love most is life is all there is, it is the pinnacle of your existence, then I’d agree that is definitely it is the best way to die… But is this all there is? It seems to fall short and is… well inadequate. My feeling is that people comments (for example my mate’s) show this. It just doesn’t explain the pain, the death, the finality of it all.

At this point I want to say affirmatively that there is a point. There is far more to life than just the here and now and the pursuit of what I love. God exists and he himself gives life, meaning and purpose. He gives me the reason to live. It is him I live for not the endless pursuit of enjoyment and doing what I want. It’s him to whom I owe my life in this world and the next. Now what about you?



Jek said... 9/10/2006 5:47 pm  

I immediately thought of John 5:28,29 when Steve Irwin died, and it gave me comfort to know that such a passionate lover of nature will one day have the opportunity to experience it all under the perfect conditions of God's governemnt. (Matthew 6:9)

Ruth said... 9/10/2006 8:35 pm  

Is either of these men having a 'state' or public funeral??

ckjolly said... 9/11/2006 4:54 am  

I like the title of your post ... it reminds me of how we are to minister to those in our culture around us. When the world (and fellow Christians) comes to us for answers we need to love them ... not merely say the words, but put our arm around them and hear them out. As we listen to them and ask questions to flesh out the reality of their dilemmas, we begin to know and understand their situation.

Too many Christians are lacking in love and are quick to judge ... why should anyone respect anything you have to say if they are immediately put on the defensive?!

Next, one must speak the Truth in love ... lettiing the Good News of man's sinful nature redeemed by Christ's sacrifice permeate his speach.

The Bible is not an encyclopedia of answers in which one can turn to the concordance and put one's finger on a verse and say "Ah ha! There's the answer to my problem!" It is a record of God redeeming people. Calling them out of their messed up, sin-filled, selfish lives, and to a holy calling of glorifying God in their transforming mind, speech, and actions.

We are so often quick to speak and offer solutions from our own wisdom and experiences (which has its place), but Christians are called to be ministers of the Gospel not only in word (preferably the Bible) but also in DEED. Come along side the one who is crying out for mercy. Let them see by your actions the Christ you claim to serve.

Justin said... 9/11/2006 6:45 am  

CKs comments are gracious. Mine maybe less so. Although I don't mean it to be.

I have found the regularly-stated-this-week phrase: "I guess he went out doing the very thing that he loved" to be empty and meaningless in our hedonistic culture. It seems to be to be all our society can say (as you point out Mike). It feels like cobbled together fig leaves in the garden of grief.

It seems deeply ironic that “the thing one loves” (meaning ‘gives me pleasure’) is the one thing that kills me. Why is that good? It makes more sense to me that the thing I love makes me live.

I get the comment, of course. I get its power to briefly soothe grief. But it seems meaningless in the context of secular hedonism.

PS Ruth -- Irwin: private, Brock: state. But you prob know this by now.

Ruth said... 9/11/2006 9:44 am  

Thanks Justin - I wouldn't have a clue - I keep telling everyone - I neither read, listen or watch the I am current affair devoid....I just ask people for info on their blogs!!! :-)

JK said... 9/11/2006 6:03 pm  


Phil said... 9/11/2006 6:51 pm  

thanks for this post mike. of course "Living for Him" is the "endless pursuit of enjoyment". But I know exactly what you were getting at...

I think it makes sense that the God who created crocodiles and made cars possible must be greater than these things, and hence more enjoyable, and more worthy of our pursuit.

Donners said... 9/13/2006 10:18 pm  

Yay, Phil's online!

I have to agree with Justin. Whenever people say someone 'died doing what they loved' it just makes me depressed.

Steve was a very passionate lover of nature and put a lot of money and time towards protecting animals and that is very good, I think his work has done a great deal towards raising awareness about these things. I'm thankful for his work. , for his enthusiasm.

however, I'm still sad. I can't say that dying doing what he loved is enough. To soften the blow of death does not do anyone any favours.

Michael S said... 9/13/2006 11:25 pm  

A thought provoking post...but I do disagree with some aspects of your post and some of the comments on the "going out doing what you love" issue.

I don't think it's hedonistic to have a passion for something, to be good at something, or to enjoy something. And just because people remember you for your passion and skill and enjoyment of a particular facet of your life, that doesn't mean that is the sum of your whole existence. I think Phil's comment is on the right track - God made all and everything. Besides, I imagine that such great men as Irwin and Brock were spiritually well adjusted beings.

Of course death is always sad, that is part of humanity. However I don't think it's necessary to get on the high horse to lament the hedonism or godlessness of society just because people seek comfort in the things in a person's life they can identify with, in solidarity with others.

I don't think it's necessary to walk around with your spirituality stamped on your forehead for your death to mean something to you or the people mourning you. It is exactly times like these that can provoke others into thoughts on the meaning of life and death.

Dying doing what you love might be small consolation, but at least it demonstrates that people are thinking about mortality.

chick said... 9/13/2006 11:50 pm  

Brocky was a theosophist.

mike said... 9/14/2006 8:13 am  

Hey chick
Thanks for the comment... care to expand on what a theosophist believes. Are you one yourself?

mike said... 9/14/2006 11:45 am  

Thanks people for commenting. I think you misunderstand what I'm getting at. The post wasn't a critique of hedonism Christian or otherwise.

I also never argued that enjoyment was the sum of Steve and Brockies exsitance. Re-read the post carefully.

I was merely making the observation that people struggle to make sense of death. I agree whole heartedly that death should prompt us to " thinking about mortality." and the afterlife.

The reason I posted about this was because "it is exactly times like these that can provoke others into thoughts on the meaning of life and death."

Thankyou for your comments :)

Horrylz ;oD said... 9/15/2006 12:47 am  

If a man has achieve whatever life is was in him to do, what's the difference between death and living ?

Pablo said... 9/19/2006 10:55 pm  

For a feline perspective on Steve Irwin's death, check out my blog. But don't go there expecting thoughtful Christian discussion. That's covered well enough here.

Jonny said... 9/24/2006 11:30 pm  

Peter Brock had the right attitude regarding car racing, racecar building and driver training. He displayed the right attitude when it came to loosing races. (Some people are sore loosers, Brock didn't always win.) He often said he had a "philosophical" view on life, winning and loosing, and he did.
He was known for some trippy thinking, describing a higher state of awareness, looking down on the racecar from outside his body. Fair enough...
But for his interview with Andrew Denton... he was waaayyy off track. Up in the clowds... Gave very little advice about his race car building/driving. Instead we learn he has left his wife, and started an affair with a different lady who was already married to someone else! He was squirming, tryiing to justify his life.
When famous people are given licence to invent their own morality it all goes wrong.

As for his death, I think I understand how it happened. I have done the exact same thing myself, only I didn't die.

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