Famous and Forgotten

Shooting Star

On the Plains of Shinar, according to Genesis 11, the people verbalized both their plan and the motivation driving it:

“Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves..” (v. 4)

It was a quest for fame that compelled them to action.  Unfortunately for them, they soon reaped the consequences of their vanity, and in a sad ironic way they reached their goal of lasting notoriety.  They aspired to fame; they achieved infamy.

I am breaking no new ground when I suggest that our present culture – perhaps especially our youth culture – may benefit from some reflection about aspiring to fame.  While there is nothing inherently wrong with fame, it has been said that fame used to be a by-product of success or achievement, or of some tremendous virtue; but in our media crazy world fame has seemingly become a virtue of it’s own.  There is perhaps no better illustration than the proliferation of Reality TV, and the – which has fastly made famous many with no apparent talents, and many with no apparent virtues.

The Wall Street Journal recently offered an interesting reflection on the fleetingness of fame: Famous Today, Forgotten Tomorrow.  In this cultural commentary the author recounts the astronomical statures of Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, among others, and how each is all but forgotten – virtually unknown to this present generation.

It got me thinking.

While Proverbs 22.1 tells us: “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches…”, a good name does not necessarily mean a known name.  A good name is one that is respected by all who know it – or rather, appreciated by all who know the person who wears the name.  Just as fame used to be, a good name is inseparably linked to one’s virtues.  And gaining a good name, not a known name, is a noble ambition.

Good News From the Front in the War on Christmas

War on Christmas

With all the War on Christmas rhetoric that has seemingly spewed these past few years, LifeWay Research has some good news from the front lines.  While I am not certain any full fledged war has actually existed, it seems there have certainly been a variety of insurgences erupting.  Such things have probably almost always existed but, as the culture wars rage, reporting of instances opposing Christmas – some quite ludicrous – seemed more numerous than ever.  But now a recent study offers some calm.

LifeWay Research data now shows that most Americans favor more traditional expressions of Christmas, and want more emphasis on Jesus during this season of the year. In fact, even most of those with no faith affiliations, dubbed by some as the “Nones”, say they have no problems with expressions celebrating Christ.

Over on his blog at Christianity Today, The Exchange, Ed Stetzer analyzes the research data, and provides a link to the downloadable research report.  Click: Americans Want to Keep Christ in Christmas.