I too am one who would include Michael Jackson as a part of my childhood memories. I recall the day my sister got both the Thriller and Jackson 5 albums for her birthday. For months we would gather around our bright blue Fischer Price record player, slip out the huge round black vinyl records, drop that needle and dance away. We eventually wore out the Thriller record and replaced it with the tape - which would be permanently found in Jen's cool ghetto blaster:) I recall being terrified of the song thriller with Vincent Price's creepy voice and haunting laugh at the end. (I still get creeped out by that part today.) Oh and those times we would attempt to watch the video of dancing Zombie MJ chasing after the girl , without being scared out of our minds were numerous. Then there were my cousins Danny and John who were huge fans. They had the sparkly glove, the doll, the posters, the buttons - I think that Dan even mastered the moon walk :)
With all of those memories in my own small life, no doubt MJ was very influential. He was indeed an incredible artist - pushing the edge with all of his eccentricities. I suppose though that his death really reiterates that he was indeed simply a human being. He made himself appear to be so inhuman, and he became such an icon that he almost seemed immortal. And the reaction of the world yesterday and today and I'm sure over the weeks to come only puts him in the position of idol even more.
I don't know if I'm abnormal or if others think about this when a celebrity dies too, but I can't help but wonder where Michael Jackson is now and what he is experiencing. Being a Christian who often meditates on the after life, it's almost an automatic place where my mind goes. I think it's so interesting that we as men can't help but turn a celebrity into even more of an icon in death. We make them even more inhuman, and forget that they too were fallen men. It's almost ironic to me when I juxtapose all of the earthly images with what I imagine is happening for MJ now. I'm pretty certain that for Michael Jackson all of the fame and idolization has been stripped away. To God, Micheal Jackson is not the "King of Pop". To God, Micheal Jackson is simply a mortal man who met his Maker yesterday. In God's eyes, Michael Jackson has only ever been His child, His creation. Is MJ in heaven? I don't know - that's one of the mysteries of death, not knowing for certain - only God knows. Being the King of Pop with money and celebrity didn't exempt Michael Jackson from death though. I can't help but think that as soon as MJ met God face to face yesterday - that all of the worship, fame, and idolization that he received and even tried to create for himself on earth seemed extremely minute, inconsiderable, frivolous, and even ridiculous compared the reality of the amazing shekhinah glory of the one true God, King of all kings including the king of pop.