'The moral flabbiness born of the exclusive worship of the bitch-goddess SUCCESS. That—with the squalid cash interpretation put on the word success—is our national disease.' William James
I watch X-Factor. Don't stop reading though! In fact, watching things like X-Factor help get a grip on where society is at.
The X-Factor is a UK phenomenon generating millions of pounds of Mr Cowell and accelerating the desire within society to be a superstar. X-Factor seemingly enables the average, everyday person to become a global pop-star overnight and fulfil the dreams you have always had but have never before been able to achieve. Thousands of people audition in front of the 'expert' judges for a chance to progress in the competition and these judges decide your fate with a vote; a yes or a no; you were good enough or you didn't cut it. And people go hoping that their dreams of stardom and fame, of money and success, will be realised through this thing called the X-Factor.
We live in a society where fame is the goal and dream for many people. The desire to earn lots of money by being famous is the root of shows like the X-Factor. The spiel is that it is creating a chance for talented singers and musicians to get their break and fulfil their dreams, but the reality is that people want to be famous for fame's sake, for money's sake, and the X-Factor is a means through which that can happen.
Fame and money are obviously something that society places high priority upon, something that society worships; this is societies bitch-goddess. And show's like X-Factor feed this goddess and give it power and strength, drawing people in to it's lure and false promises of contentment, joy and peace.
The X-Factor, aside from the fame and money issue, draws on two key elements; 'being a victim' and 'a new image'.
'Being a Victim'
Everyone who goes on X-Factor has a sob story. They are a victim. Life has been unfair, things haven't gone their way. X-Factor builds this up and makes these stories a defining part of the show, playing to the audiences emotions and encouraging the contestants to see themselves as a victim. And here is a massive problem in our culture. So many people see themselves as a victim. The student protests are an example of this. Society wants us to put the focus on ourselves and think as ourselves as victims, as people who haven't been dealt the right hand in life and that we should take what is rightfully ours. So everyone is looking for a way to be a victim, a sob story they can tell so that they can get what they want. So on the X-Factor if you work in a supermarket, you're a victim; if you've had difficulties in your life, you're a victim; if you're hamster died last week, you're a victim. The reality is, we have all had good times and bad times. We have done jobs we love and hate. Life sucks sometimes. But that doesn't mean you're a victim.I want to recognise that there are some people who really have had terrible lives and experienced horrendous events, and that these people have been victims. But more often that not, those who have had terrible lives never see themselves as victims, but are thankful for the good things they do have.
Most people are not victims because we have got it so good.
The fact that you an turn a tap on a drink clean water means you are in a privileged position.
If you are reading this, then you have access to a computer...
If you have clothes to wear, food to eat and a bed to sleep in, then be grateful.
We are called not to see ourselves as victims but to GO and relieve the suffering of others, to GO to the oppressed and abused, to GO to the poor and homeless, those who suffer and have no voice.
Quite frankly, we need to grow some balls and be justice seekers and life givers, going to those who really are victims in our communities and around the world.
'A New Image'
So X-Factor turns you into a victim which in turn begins a process of you becoming something other than who you are. As a show it is seeking to turn people into pop-stars and so encourages people to change, to become something other than who they truly are. Each week they are moulded and shaped into the image of celebrity and it is hoped that they become a commodity that will make a lot of money for other people. It is more than a mask being worn, it is a changing of character and personality. You are changed to become a person who represents fame and money, who feeds the bitch goddess with your very soul. You will do your trip to Africa and film it so people can see how compassionate you are and that money hasn't changed you. Success therefore, is seen by your status, by what you own, how much money is in the bank and how many twitter followers you have. The X-Factor is a symbol of false images, creating people in its own image distorting what is really important in life.
Success is not what you own, how famous you are or how much money you have, success is whether you have loved your neighbour and loved your God.
Success is whether you have sacrificed your own needs for the needs of others.
Success is whether you have loved in extravagant ways by giving your time and energy to others.
Success is seen most powerfully as we gaze upon the Crucified God. Here is where we see the reality of all human 'power', all human 'wisdom', all human 'success'; crucified with Jesus. What is most important, most life changing, most relevant and most transforming, for today and all our tomorrows, is this Crucified God.
It is in this Jesus where we discover who we really are and who we are really being called to be.
He is the only Victim who can heal the wounds of others.
You are created in His image, and He is the only One who can make you feel beautiful.