Yesterday afternoon my wife called with the news that David Bowie had died. I was surprised by the level of emotion I felt. After praying and thinking about it off and on throughout the rest of the day—taking in a couple of news reports and remembrances on the radio along the way—I came home and posted the following eulogy on Facebook:
Hats off to one of the most talented, creative and innovative artists of my generation. Heads bowed in prayer for his family and for any grace that may have been or may yet be granted his soul. There’s much of his legacy that is very, very dark, not the least of which was inspiring thousands if not millions of young people to—as the title of the song he produced for Lou Reed declared—”Take a walk on the wild side.”
When I heard about his death and the album he released last Friday, I got online and checked for clues to the state of his soul in his “last days.” I knew from the research I did for Hell’s Bells 2–The Power and Spirit of Popular Music that he had dabbled in everything from Buddhism (at one time he almost became a monk), satanism, the occult (Crowleyism), Nietzschism, and, yes, Christianity.
Like most people, as he got older and shadow of death became more sharply drawn, he showed more and more interest in God, describing himself —like so many today—as “deeply spiritual but not religious.” He married Iman, the supermodel from Somalia and a nominal Muslim in a civil ceremony, but later insisted they be married in a Christian church so their marriage could be “sanctified by God.” They had their miracle baby, Alexandria, christened. Faint evidence of a converted heart, admittedly. But perhaps as the chilly Jordan river began to lap his shoreline and the hounds of heaven pursued…
About the album: he had worked on it knowing he was likely dying. The song title “Lazarus” caught my eye. The words, like most of his lyrics (his weak suit IMO) were vague and a tad pretentious. Then I watched the music video he made for it. Chills. Death’s acid-etching throughout. Eerie, dark and ambiguous. Just like the man.
God only knows.
To acknowledge the passing of a man who had been rumored dead so many times before, Iman tweeted: “The struggle is real, but so is God” along with the caption “Rise.” David Bowie most certainly will… on that Great Day, when Christ returns and inaugurates the New Creation and when everyone will rise again with new bodies. (John 5:29; Dan. 12:2)
The only question—the ultimate question for all of us—is to what end?
What about you, dear reader? Are you ready for that Day?