Monday, July 03, 2006

Star Jones and Christian Suffering

What a title...what a subject on which to blog. I must admit...I never watch ABC's The View, but I did know who Star Jones was before she quit, then was fired, and then the media feud began. So, why blog about it? Well, today I had to take care of a couple of tasks that kept me in my car for over an hour. On commercials breaks during "The Dave Ramsey Show," my mind wandered back to the portion of Jones' interview on Larry King Live that I caught while channel surfing.

I have known for a long time that Star Jones claimed to be a Christian. She has apparently made that known on the show and in interviews. However, here's what I don't get...what's up with the way that she left the show? She had agreed to share her news about leaving on last Thursday's episode, but because she was overwhelmed by the tabloid coverage outside her home, she blabbed two days early. ABC was going to let her go with dignity and honor her for the work she had done in her 9 years. She decided that was unacceptable, so she went down in a blaze of glory.

Here is why I think this news story is relevant as we think about our responsibility as believers. First of all, Star said that on the day she surprised producers with the early announcement, she had called her pastor, prayed and sought counsel from him, and then decided to blab. What exactly did the Lord give her peace about doing? Deceiving her friends, co-workers, and employers? Sacrificing her integrity and dignity because "the tabloids are coming, the tabloids are coming"? Broadcasting the message to the world that as long as you have prayed, you can do whatever you want and God will surely uphold your case?

What would happen if Star had simply taken unfounded tabloid criticism, turned the other cheek, done her work as unto the Lord, and been let go on July 13 (the scheduled last day)? What could her testimony be after that? Maybe she was suffering for her conservative view of certain issues. Maybe she was just suffering because it's a sinful, money-driven industry that she works in, and these kinds of decisions happen all the time. Maybe she was just going to have to suffer for no real reason except that suffering happens to all of us in this life.

If she had just simply taken whatever the network was giving out, maybe then she could talk about the sustaining work of God in her life. If she had walked through this with dignity, the interview with Larry King wouldn't have been so much "Defense (clap clap), defense (clap, clap)". I cannot speak for Star Jones' views or theology or lifestyle other than this last, public move, but I can say that we can all take a lesson from this.

There will be suffering in our lives...Jesus promised it (John 16:33). Whether we are fired unjustly, purposefully persecuted for our faith, or any number of other situations I could mention, suffering will happen. I think there are at least two lessons we can learn from this entertainment news flash. First of all, when injustice, persecution, and suffering come, it is not appropriate or right to compromise our walk with the Lord. We have to walk through suffering with holiness and integrity, choosing to obey the Lord rather than cater to our fleshly desire to react. This means that there is a way to be fired that is Christian and a way that is not Christian. Unfortunately, the wrong road is chosen too often.

Second, there will be justice for all of us, but it will not be immediate. Those of us that trust in the Lord and do not rely on our own understanding know this: a day of judgment will come. It will be a time when the Lord punishes evil and rewards faith. This kind of hope and knowledge motivates us in holiness as we walk through suffering.

Now, I know that's a lot coming from a TV host that got fired, and maybe I just wasted 20 minutes of my life typing this. A TV host leaving a show isn't big news to me, but the moment that person claims to be a believer and implies that God influenced how he/she acted in a situation, I listen more carefully. The unfortunate parallel to me is this...the kind of "silent firing" originally intended for Star Jones happens in a lot of churches to a lot of godly men, but that's for another blog...maybe the next one.