Comforting the Oppressor

And the winner is… oh s***, not again.

Wouldn’t you love to hear this from an announcer at an awards ceremony? When Titanic just kept taking on Oscars, or Beyonce’s name was called again and again at the grammys? If I was an announcer, opening the sealed envelope, I would want to call out a name that’s surprising and unique; a real come-from behind champion; a cinderella victor. But somehow most of those revered but un-nominated envelope celebrities manage to read the names with a degree of gravitas or joy.

I couldn’t do it.

The unfortunate fact is, even the surprise winners at the Oscars or Grammys or Golden Globes, etc, are not very big surprises. Every last nominee is a member of the inner circle in some way or another. Maybe there’s a few nominees for “Best Reggae Album” or “Best Foreign-Language Film” that have escaped our notice over the past year, but they certainly are the exception.

And I will guarantee you one thing: the best album of every year is almost certainly an album that 99% of Americans have never heard. And the best new artist is some nobody practicing day and night in their basement or garage. But they will not walk the red carpet this year, or next year. Nor will they want to.

Our society has a narcissistic way of rewarding fame and fortune–the last things on earth that need or deserve a reward. You sold a gazillion albums! Here’s a little gold statue! You starred in a movie that netted a billion dollars! Here is a moment in the spotlight, and the finally the recognition you deserve!

What a bunch of bull s***.

It’s not just the entertainment industry, either. Who were the primary recipients of the government’s bail-out money? The Fortune 50 companies who should have known better. Instead of taking pity on the broken and outcast, our tears are shed for the gilded insiders. Instead of comforting the oppressed, we comfort the oppressors.

Jesus was not impressed by royalty, or status, or wealth. He didn’t go out of his way to talk to members of the upper-class, unless it was to call them out of it (think Zacchaeus or the rich young ruler.) He said that the first will be last and the last will be first.

I kind of hope there’s no such thing as an awards ceremony in heaven (I’m sure hell will be full of them.) But if there is, I have an idea what it would be like. The nobody-artist practicing in her garage will get center stage, and the director with imagination, skill and a shoe-string budget will take home the statue. But most importantly, the people who have surrendered their lives and comforts for the sake of broken will be lifted up and crowned with honor.

They will hold their crowns high in the air for everyone to see, but they will not give a speech. They will throw them all down at the feet of Jesus. The cinderella victor.

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