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Saturday, March 14, 2015

Be Kind to Celebrities...and Yourself

What is the closest you have come to meeting a world leader or celebrity? (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 1401).

Imitating Christ’s Humility ( "Christ dignified everyone." --Negelle Cameron ).

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. (Philippians 2:3-4 NIV).

“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought. (Matthew 5:5 The Message).

For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. (Hebrews 3:4).

There were two occasions. One was in the late 1960s in Miami. Candidate for president Eugene McCarthy was scheduled to speak and have a "meet and greet" at a large hotel in Miami. I wanted to meet him. So I went to the hotel and rode the escalator up to the second floor where the affair was taking place. Many people were in the lobby and I could see Eugene McCarthy greeting well-wishers directly ahead of me. Suddenly the feeling came over me that it was impossible to meet this man. Perhaps it was a deep sense that I was unworthy. In any case I went to the down escalator and promptly left.

The second occurred sometime in the 1990s. Mother and I were on a trip to a family reunion in Quaker Lake, North Carolina. We went out of our way to Plains, Georgia to sit in on one of  President Carter's Sunday school classes. We sat in the back of the room (we had arrived just in time) and listened to the lesson. President Carter announced that visitors could meet and greet him and have photos if they agreed to stay after Sunday school and attend church. Even though mother and I had friends to meet for lunch that day in Americus, I do not think Jimmy Carter would have minded if we had exchanged a quick handshake following class.  But again the same feeling that I mustn't do it came over me. After Sunday school we immediately left out of the nearest exit.

I don't think if either of these occasions happened today I would feel the same way. At that time I tended to exalt celebrities and prominent people to a level of inhuman perfection. What a great disservice to prominent folk harboring such a personal weakness is. Like everyone else, they need people to accept them regardless of their human imperfections. I have not been in the proximity of celebrities since. But if this is any indication, I used to avoid any kind of personal contact with professors – avoiding them at socials and virtually shunning them before and after class.  Those days are long since gone.  Now I enjoy chatting and interacting socially with them, for example arriving early to class to enjoy their conversation and company.

The key concept to grasp is evidenced by the Scriptures quoted above. In essence the outcome of thinking ourselves lesser than others paradoxically obtains major psychological benefit by getting the focus off of us and our bruised or inflated egoes onto others; thus inducing perception of our essential identity and humanity and mutual origination as creations of God.  It is incorrect, then, to conclude I was years ago thinking of Eugene McCarthy or Jimmy Carter. My mind was in actuality focused upon myself alone.

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