Pastor's Blog
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April 25, 2016, 12:00 AM

"Prince" Reflections...

So… on my wife Betsy’s birthday – April 21, 2016 – musician and pop superstar Prince died. Tributes celebrating his music and life have been shared in multiple ways and places all across the globe. The balloons and flowers and various other expressions of grief outside his Paisley Park compound rival the tribute in Brussels after the bombings there. An all-night “block party” where thousands danced and sang to Prince tunes occurred in downtown Minneapolis. Saturday Night Live over the weekend devoted the entire episode to remembering the times he appeared as a guest on the show. Bruce Springsteen opened a weekend concert with a rendering of “Purple Rain.” Many people have lamented the star’s untimely death, recalling the place his music and performances had in their younger years. A whole new generation of fans for whom Prince is a current musical giant have shared words of shock and disbelief about his death on social media. The Minnesota Wild held a moment of silence to remember him at their hockey playoff game on Sunday night. And Minnesota state senator Karin Housley has introduced a measure to make purple the official color of the state in honor of the musical legend.

That being said, I confess Prince was never a part of my musical experience. From the snippets of his songs and guitar performances I’ve heard over the years, there can be no debate that he was an extraordinary musician. I grieve with those who engage his music the same ways I engaged the music of Simon and Garfunkel and Chicago and Billy Joel and ZZ Top and Maynard Ferguson and Chuck Mangione – among many others.

I say all of that so you’ll know the place I’m coming from when I say what I’m about to say. It is not meant to disparage Prince, his music or his legacy in any way. But the overwhelming attention his death has received causes me to ponder this, once again: I wonder when we as a people will care about the plight of the hungry and the poor and the suffering to the same degree we care about the death of a multi-millionaire celebrity? The death of celebrities and sports figures and media heroes certainly are as grief filled and sorrow producing as any other person’s death. But why do we focus so much on them when multiple children die every day because they lack simple things like clean water and a meal more often than once a week? When will we mourn for those children in the same overwhelming ways we mourn for our celebrities?

Guess I don’t have any answers to these questions – but I’ve sure been thinking about them again since last Thursday……as the nation – indeed, the world - takes on a purple hue……..


Pastor David

PS – These thoughts brought to mind a song written by Kurt Bestor a few years ago reflecting on the ethnic cleansing going on in the former Yugoslavia at the time. It’s been used to reflect on other events as well, such as the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School.  Interestingly, it’s called “Prayer for the Children.” Check it out here:


04-26-2016 at 3:25 PM
Pat Mann
I may be "old fashioned;" but, to me there are no "super heroes" other than my Lord Jesus Christ. I think it's all about where one is in life "Fans or Followers!" Now remember, this is me, and not tearing anyone down. Love ya'll ;)
04-25-2016 at 8:40 PM
Anne Bakker
I am one of the many who has actually been in mourning over this man's death. To me, his music, his personna, his gifts were unmatched by today's "musicians", and he did so much good in the world that the average person is unaware becasue he was such a humble, solitary person. He represents, to me, a period in my life that was joyful, new, and beautiful, and I will forever think fondly of those times when I hear his music. I, too, am a champion for the hungry and the poor, and do my part to the best of my ability and my finances through my work and my personal life, but I don't see mourning his life as less than or greater than those precious lives that are lost daily. I guess it comes down to what one relates to most easily....when put that way, it is sad that we don't place balloons at every death site or lay teddy bears at the feet of starved children.....I personally felt a loss this past week that surprised me...but I felt much the same way three weeks ago over the death of an AF Commander at the hand of another's all in what we know, and how close we are to the experience, I think. Thanks for such a thought provoking message!
04-25-2016 at 8:29 PM
Colleen Holtz
Good words to ponder. It has always bothered me that we, as a nation, can still have children going to bed hungry or in need of a bed.
04-25-2016 at 7:59 PM
David Janz
Good observations, Sue. Not questioning Prince's motivation or contributions at all. Just find it interesting how we as a society respond to things as we do. Thanks for the conversation!
04-25-2016 at 7:48 PM
Ray Jones
Our value-system is a mess. I'm not saying we cannot appreciate musicians & the talent they have... Same with athletes. They're larger than life... But look at what they make compared to teachers... Who really has more influence?
04-25-2016 at 7:42 PM
Susan Agin
Much like you, Prince was also very concerned about the plight of the poor and suffering. He donated millions of dollars to schools and shelters in his home state., He held concerts, whose sole purpose it was to raise money for uniforms and athletic equipment for inner-city schools. In the 1990's he became a devout Jehovah's Witness. We took our son, Justin to see prince in concert for his first concert. It was a rock concert with Prince and Shaka Khan. He sang a lot of his own original music and also gospel music. It was a tremendous contrast. He was an immensely private entertainer and a lot of the good he did went unnoticed by those who did not benefit from it. But much like the man who rescued the starfish after the storm, it made no difference to anyone other than those who were saved. To them though, it meant the world. We could all learn of loving our fellow people and humbling ourselves in the eyes of God from Prince Nelson.
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