THE BENEVOLENT BULGE
By Paul Proctor
September 14, 2005
"Ye shall know them by their fruits." � Matthew 7:16
If you haven�t yet noticed, musicians, comics, actors, athletes, politicians, preachers and other contemporary entertainers, especially rich and famous ones, seem to have a rather nauseating tendency to believe that their act is somehow suitable for any and all occasions. If someone is sick, it�s showtime! If someone is starving to death, it�s showtime! If someone is tragically killed, injured, abused or dying, it�s showtime! If someone is lost, homeless or needs money, it�s showtime! If someone needs food, water, clean clothes or a good night�s sleep, (you guessed it) it�s showtime!
Now, I am quite certain that some of those who promote and/or participate in televised fundraisers often volunteer themselves with the best of intentions; but before we sing their praises and shower them with our earnings and accolades, we should know that even though they are donating their time and talents, they will be handsomely rewarded for their services with plenty of ego-boosting, image-building, career-advancing, product-selling photo-ops and camera time with which they can freely parade their performances, punch lines, platitudes and platforms before the world. These charitable events are not only good for future profits, projects and personal appearances but are also quite a handy way to carve your name in stone (so to speak) for everyone to fondly remember you by later when your career begins to sunset along with your celebrity status.
The other evening when I overheard a TV commentator proudly announce that Garth Brooks was going to once again come out of retirement and bless us all with more melody and rhyme on yet another televised charity concert to raise more money for the latest round of victims, I found myself storming out of the room in utter disgust (much to my wife�s amusement) shouting: �GOOD GRIEF GARTH � DIDN�T YOU SAY YOU HAD MORE MONEY THAN YOUR GRANDCHILDREN�S GRANDCHILDREN COULD SPEND? WHY DO YOU NEED TO PANDHANDLE FOR OTHER PEOPLE�S MONEY ON NETWORK TV? WRITE A CHECK FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!! (Sorry, the boob tube occasionally does this to me, which is why I don�t watch it much anymore.)
According to VOAnews.com, "Shelter From the Storm: A Concert for the Gulf Coast" ended up raising almost 51 million dollars. The performers included such names as Garth Brooks, Kanye West, the Dixie Chicks, Alicia Keys, Rod Stewart, Paul Simon, Neil Young, Sheryl Crow, Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige and U2. The article goes on to say that the proceeds would be donated to the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army. I wonder if that�s before or after expenses? For some reason, those kinds of questions never seem to get asked or answered amid all the pomp, gush and tears.
Now, just to give you a little snapshot of the problem here; on a 1999 list of �Highest Paid Celebrities,� planetgarth.com lists Mr. Brooks at #15 with 54 million dollars in earnings; and that, I remind you, was only one year of one celebrity�s career and was six years ago! Don�t you think between these 11 aforementioned superstars, they could have come up with 51 million between them without showcasing their scripted sympathy and support for all to see?
What is it with Limousine Liberals and other people�s money? Somebody tell me how a wealthy star�s cameo appearance before millions of adoring and may I say, less financially fortunate fans, for the sole purpose of getting in their pockets, is being charitable, sacrificial or generous. Is the biblical account of the widow�s mites really that hard for them to grasp? (Luke 21)
Anyway, here we have homeless, handicapped, sick and injured residents of New Orleans floating around in a filth that no one can sufficiently describe, desperately looking for some way out, not to mention looking for something to eat and drink; and the reigning king of Nash Vegas wants to offer up a song? What�s he going to sing for these ravaged refugees: I Got Friends in Low Places, The River or how about Unanswered Prayers? Give me a break!
Who�s really benefiting here, the emerging victims, the re-emerging Garth or the ever-emerging Wal-Mart? (His new business partner) It�s like watching all those corporate suits of camaraderie and compassion choreograph themselves out before the TV lens each year to ceremoniously speechify to a yawning audience before releasing their grip on those sacred checks into Jerry Lewis� grateful grasp so as to help their company�s image � I mean Jerry�s Kids.
And of course, we�ve all been waiting with great anticipation for �America�s Pastor� to once again take the world stage and use his �God-given influence� (and the latest greatest tragedy) to peddle his Global P.E.A.C.E. Plan with all of its Purpose Driven products, programs and paraphernalia; which he managed to do right on cue and quite shamelessly, I might add. If you were fortunate enough to miss his more recent interviews, you�re probably not aware that one of his favorite talking points is how he now humbly tithes 90% of his book royalties to his church, takes no salary from Saddleback and has even gone so far as to refund all that they ever paid him in the past for his pragmatic preaching and pastoring.
I guess there�s just no limit to what we�ll say and do when the cameras are rolling and we�ve become so full of ourselves that our egos begin to bulge right along with our bellies and bank accounts; which ironically seems to occur most often when we neglect to feed on God�s Word.
�Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.� � Matthew 6:1-4
� 2005 Paul Proctor - All Rights Reserved
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Paul Proctor, a rural resident of the Volunteer state and seasoned veteran of the country music industry, retired from showbiz in the late 1990's to dedicate himself to addressing important social issues from a distinctly biblical perspective. As a freelance writer and regular columnist for NewsWithViews.com, he extols the wisdom and truths of scripture through commentary and insight on cultural trends and current events. His articles appear regularly on a variety of news and opinion sites across the internet and in print.
...the result an ungodly agreement between Israeli leaders and Palestinian terrorists whereby Israel willingly exchanges certain parts of God�s Covenant Land in hopes of co-existing peaceably with its sworn enemy. ...