Four and five year olds today listen to Hannah Montana. When I was four, I remember dancing around to my parents Michael Jackson records. Eventually my mom got me a cassette tape, and I think I literally listened to it so much, it didn't work anymore. I even remember listening to the song, "Man in the Mirror", and being greatly impacted by the lyrics:
"If you wanna make the world a better place,
then look at yourself, and make the change."
Jackson started out as the lead singer in the, all brothers band, The Jackson Five. Great, classic songs came out of that band. At such a young age, he showed such tremendous talent. Following the band, he tried to make it as a solo artist, and eventually became the greatest pop star in the history of the world. His songs will forever be legendary.
No one will ever really know what exactly happened with Michael after that. From becoming obsessed with plastic surgery, to the multiple molestation charges made against him, I think it can be agreed that he was a very lonely and confused man.
Through all of this, we can make an impact by praying for his friends and family (especially his 3 young children). I'm not sure if Michael had a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, and I am not one to make that judgment, but we need to remember that it is a very sad day if Michael didn't. Life is so fleeting. It is here today, and can be gone tomorrow.
Andrew Sullivan says things that I wasn't really brave enough to say:
"There are two things to say about him. He was a musical genius; and he was an abused child. By abuse, I do not mean sexual abuse; I mean he was used brutally and callously for money, and clearly imprisoned by a tyrannical father. He had no real childhood and spent much of his later life struggling to get one. He was spiritually and psychologically raped at a very early age - and never recovered. Watching him change his race, his age, and almost his gender, you saw a tortured soul seeking what the rest of us take for granted: a normal life.
But he had no compass to find one; no real friends to support and advise him; and money and fame imprisoned him in the delusions of narcissism and self-indulgence. Of course, he bears responsibility for his bizarre life. But the damage done to him by his own family and then by all those motivated more by money and power than by faith and love was irreparable in the end. He died a while ago. He remained for so long a walking human shell.
I loved his music. His young voice was almost a miracle, his poise in retrospect eery, his joy, tempered by pain, often unbearably uplifting. He made the greatest music video of all time; and he made some of the greatest records of all time. He was everything our culture worships; and yet he was obviously desperately unhappy, tortured, afraid and alone.
I grieve for him; but I also grieve for the culture that created and destroyed him. That culture is ours' and it is a lethal and brutal one: with fame and celebrity as its core values, with money as its sole motive, it chewed this child up and spat him out."