I grew up in the transitioning time between when the press and everyday people looked up to and promoted the positives in “great” men and women and when the mode of the day became to look for the dirt to tear them down.
I’m not arguing for one side or the other. There are men and women who have great and admirable characteristics and achievements. There are men and women who have dedicated their time and energies to working hard and being the best at their game. There are men and women who have helped lead and usher in great advancements in medicine, commerce, politics, sport. There are public figures who shine the light of Jesus boldly and for the benefit of all mankind.
Those same men and women all also have faults, sins, things they hide, shame, baggage. They, like you and I, are human, fallen, sinful.
But the viewpoint and emphasis of our culture changed somewhere along the way. At one point it was a great story to build someone up, to make them larger than life. At that time there was collusion to gloss over or cover up their shortcomings. That was the time of childhood heroes, of astronauts and explorers, of great generals and world leaders.
Maybe it was Watergate. Maybe something earlier, but that changed. Our times are all about digging for the dirt. Finding the faults and lies and exposing them. It has not gone to the degree that, for the purpose of fame and 15 minutes of celebrity status, men and women now create their own dirt to expose. Sex-Tapes. Trans-Gender Interviews. “Leaked” emails and snap chats and text messages. Wardrobe malfunctions. The more outlandish and sensational the dirt, the bigger the coverage, the more press, the more exposure, the more fame.
Public figures lie. Public figures are self-serving. Public figures are sinful, petty, immoral. That has always been the case for some, if not most public figures. The difference is now that exposure of that doesn’t bring shame and repentance, it brings self-righteousness and fame.
So, who do you look up to? Who is your teacher?
Jesus is the clear answer. Second, the attributes of Jesus we see in others. I admire the way my BSF co-leader is dedicated to praying for every child in our group. I admire the way my pastor is passionate about going word-by-word through the bible, even the really difficult and uncomfortable parts. I admire the way a policeman puts himself in harms way rushing in to a building where there is an armed homicidal man. I admire the way a new immigrant enlists in the armed services as a show of honor and dedication for the country that adopted him. I admire the recovered alcoholic woman who devotes her life and meager inheritance to buying a house to help other women get off the street, living with them, feeding them and forming the home (centered around Christ) that they never had before.
The person does not appeal to me, but the Holy Spirit at work and evident in the person shakes my soul. I think the Holy Spirit in each of us is completely interconnected. When we see and hear and witness the Spirit alive and working in others, our hearts cry out for communion and joy to be united in the oneness that is God.
The punishment of the great prostitute who sits by many waters
The kings of the earth (committed adultery), inhabitants of earth (intoxicated with the wine of her adulteries)
Adultery is to violate a sacred relationship covenant (normally a marital covenant) by participating in behavior or activities reserved to only be shared within the relationship (e.g., extra-marital affairs/sexual immorality). In this case, the sacred covenant relationship was between mankind and God and the adultery was idolatry and self-worship
those of the senses, sights and smells, sounds and feelings, but mostly taste – eating not only for nourishment sake