Leave It To Bieber

People can tell a lot about you by the people with whom you associate.

Those who hung out with Hitler, Al Capone, Pol Pot, Bin Laden, Clive Palmer et al, wouldn’t be invited to too many Castle Hill barbeques…so what does that say about Hillsong and their new best mate Justin Bieber?

Besides being responsible for some of the most banal and pointless music in the history of poseur-ism, in the last two years he has been charged with:

• vandalism (usually egg throwing)
• drug use
• driving under the influence
• driving without due care and attention
• dangerous driving
• assault
• resisting arrest

He has had a suspended sentence, been required to pay tens of thousands of dollars in restitution and been required to attend anger management courses on multiple occasions. He has just turned 21 and there are Hells Angels twice his age with nothing like his rap sheet. Even putting the best possible spin on all this, he still comes across as a self-absorbed psychopath with no more godliness in his heart than Hannibal Lecter.

So why on earth would a so-called Christian organisation want to confuse their congregation by feting him at their conference?

The answer can only be money. Or the weird blend of notoriety and mass hypnosis that inevitably leads to money in this idiotic world we have to live in.

Whatever else it might be, Hillsong is a network marketing organisation. In order to keep marketing they need to keep their product visible and that’s what they’ve done by bringing Bieber downunder. Celebrity power equals bums on seats – no matter how vapid, spoilt or antisocial. I swear they’d take Alice Cooper crooning love songs to Satan if they could get him!

But how do the Hillsong rank and file feel about Biebs?

Do they somehow perceive the countenance of God in the lyrics to Baby? Is there some profound messianic message in his dangerous driving, drug use and casual vandalism?

God moves in mysterious ways after all, but even if I had paid the Hillsong tithe and bought all their merch, I’d be raising an eyebrow at the sort of role model they were wanting me to buy into this time. They’re just following the Scientology template, I suppose, but seriously… Using an arrogant brat of a popstar to market a church is like using naked women to market chastity belts!

But what if it’s successful?

What if the use of an antisocial mediocrity like Justin Bieber did somehow result in higher Hillsong attendances and further sales of music and tee-shirts? What sort of church would that truly reflect?

A church that values celebrity over any sort of virtue.

A church that holds up as an exemplar a self-obsessed vandal with assault and anger management issues.

A church that wants you to believe that a recidivist egg tosser and dangerous driver is really a kind and gentle human being who is just here to be part of the crowd…not to exploit the crowd and encourage others into the fold.

If you belieb that you’ll belieb anything…which is exactly what Hillsong are counting on.

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Keeping it Clean-ish: A review of Mr Cleansheets by Adrian Deans

I don’t often reblog reviews of my work. Seems a tad self-serving, but I really enjoyed this review from a university academic. Mr Cleansheets has now entered the canon of post-doctoral research, which is clearly where all my work belongs.

Yes, I am a total wanker.

shugmcgowan

Everything about my reading and research of football novels (and I can say, hand on heart, my research has led me to read hundreds of them – not exaggerating) made me not want to read Mr Cleansheets. It looked every bit the mediocre romanticised tosh so often turned out when a failed footballer wrestles their fantasy onto paper. If only for the solid recommendation of a very smart and well respected Norwich City fan (a phrase you might never see again) I would not have paid as much attention. I would have had a look at it one day, but not in a hurry.

Then I started reading it.

As I imagined, it’s filled with silliness and melodrama and reaching coincidence, but it differentiates itself with pace and humour, action aplenty, rounded characters, and a solid story. As far as football fiction goes Mr Cleansheets makes it beyond the fourth round…

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