Jan 5, 2010

Pass The Bacon

There is a trivia game that some people play called “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon”. It loosely rests on the assumption that any actor can be linked through his or her film roles to actor Kevin Bacon within six steps. This was started because (supposedly) Kevin Bacon once claimed that he had worked with everyone in Hollywood. And so, we try to connect Kevin Bacon with other famous people.

The phenomenon of connecting oneself with someone famous seems to potentially infect all humans. We want others to know us because we may be (loosely) connected or know someone who knows someone who knows someone who is famous. We want to be famous and so we try to be connected with someone who is. We get autographs, photos, handshakes, and “high-fives” from celebrities just so that we can feel important because we “connected” with someone who we deem important.  

It’s pretty sad that as a society we continue to keep the importance of who you are on a greater scale that it really deserves. Even as I write this I am tempted to show you my personal invitation for the Religious Inaugural Celebration of President William Clinton that I received in 1993 (and kept) personally from the Honorable James E. Johnson – former Assistant Secretary of the United States Navy during the Nixon Administration. Hey; did I mention that I played both Sting’s and James Taylor’s custom Olson guitars before either Sting or James Taylor did? 

What about the (supposedly) unknown people who have had great influence on our lives as they go went about their business simply doing what they do best. The world is filled with people who set up tables, and clean floors, and set out surgical instruments so others can get the credit. No connection with Kevin Bacon; just “nameless” “faceless” people who did ordinary things that made all the difference in the world.  

My High School English teacher, Martha Cosgrove, told us that her sister Jessica Lange was auditioning for a remake of “King Kong” and that one day would make it into Hollywood as an actress. We all said; “Yeah, right!” And none of us believed that history teacher Larry Hagerle really had been a quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings (until we looked it up). Both of these teachers were loved and had influence upon my lives simply because they were good teachers (along with many others such as Mark Kaplan, Joel Andrychowicz, Barb Meldahl, Lynn Bollman, Elizabeth Pawlitschek, and L. Grasmick; along with so many more who helped this angry young man make sense of this broken life). 

Christian singer and song writer Larry Norman has had a great influence on my Christian walk, but it was his father-in-law, “Jungle Al” Alquist, who God used to present the gospel of Jesus Christ. “Jungle Al” was one of the most beloved biology teachers at my public high school. “Jungle Al” earned his nick name because he spoke freely at my public high school of his missionary journeys and of God’s protection and provision, and his love for Jesus.  

I still remember in 1973 when one of my eighth grade teachers at my public junior high school held an assembly to talk about the commitment he had just made to Jesus Christ. I was able to track him down a few years ago and called him to let him know that his witness had born fruit in my life.  

The Bible is filled FULL with stories of “nameless” “faceless” people who did ordinary things that made all the difference in the world. People who had no connection with Kevin Bacon; but God saw them and had their stories written down for us to read. 

Ordinary people who went about their day to day activities and their stories made it into the pages of scriptures; even if we don’t know their names. Someone filled the water pot that Jesus used to turn the water into wine. Someone raised a colt from birth that was used by Jesus to ride into Jerusalem, and fulfilled one of the 66 Messianic prophecies from the Old Testament. Someone broke the alabaster jar and poured the costly fragrant oil on the feet of Jesus. Jesus said; “Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her." (Matthew 26:13) 

Our lives are filled FULL with stories of “nameless” “faceless” people who did ordinary things that made all the difference in the world. Ordinary things like sending us cards on our birthdays and notes of encouragement when we were down. I have a friend who to this day still speaks of a smile that he received from a girl when he was a young lad that radically affected his life even today in his fifties. No connection with Kevin Bacon; just “nameless” “faceless” people who did ordinary things that made all the difference in the world.  

I say that perhaps we need to “pass the Bacon”; quit trying to connect our name with somebody else who others feel is someone important; and make a commitment to be who we are and do our best in this world; knowing that we do make a difference in more lives than we may ever know.

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