Skip to content

5 Lessons from the Kennedy “Curse”

May 19, 2012

Yet another tragedy for the Kennedy family.  The famed, wealthy, and politically powerful family has had their share, none more fascinating than the assassination of President John Kennedy.  This week it was the suicide of Mary Kennedy, the estranged wife of Robert Kennedy Jr., whose father was the also assassinated Robert Kennedy.  While we might think, after all these years, that public interest would wane in the Kennedy family, we would be wrong.  It seems that every tragedy brings us back to the many before it.

I wonder why it is we are so fascinated with the Kennedy family.  My guess is that it is their inability to escape human tragedy even with all the fame, money, and power they have.  Camelot is no more and jars us because we forget that those who are so advantaged are really, in the end, the same as us.

So, what are the lessons we learn from the supposed Kennedy “curse?”

(1)  Grief is the great equalizer, and tragedy is universal.  Death knocks on all of our doors.  You can’t buy your way out of it, nor can you escape it.  Riches may keep many of life’s tragedies away for a time — starvation, some diseases, etc. — but not forever.  When tragedy strikes, it is just as devastating to the rich as it is to the poor.  When death strikes, we all take with us the same amount of money.  None.

(2)  Money and power can’t fulfill.  OK, so we already know this one, but it is good to remind ourselves.  Money and power are temporary fixes and don’t meet the deepest need in our heart.  Only Jesus can redeem us and give us the grace and hope that we always desire.  It doesn’t cost anything either because Jesus already paid it.

(3)  We categorize people’s worth based on their position in society.  As many as 30,000 children died around the world today of malnutrition or preventable diseases.  How many stories and articles have been written about them?  They are dying without any voice.  Rarely do people think of them or wonder what life and death are like for them.  But if your name is Kennedy, we hear about it.  We mourn.  We scratch our heads.  Why?  Because all people might be created equal, but they don’t remain that way in our society.

(4)  We long to identify with heroes and forget that they are vulnerable.  I like to wear a jersey of my favorite athlete.  Why?  Because I want to identify with him so deeply that, when he wins, I feel like I have won, too.  I have long said that someone needs to unpack a theology of identification as a human need met by the gospel of Jesus.  In the OT, they identified with the High Priest who mediated for them on the Day of Atonement.  In the NT, we identify with Jesus by faith and receive His sinlessness and reward.  Our longing to identify is based in our need for Christ.

(5)  Martyrs exhibit powerful influences.  OK, so the Kennedys were not martyrs.  Their deaths were not calculated sacrifices for a cause, necessarily.  However, have you ever noticed our culture’s fascination with famous people who die tragically or before old age?  Death is a powerful influence.  Those that die leave an influence.  Of course, this reminds me of the influence of the death of Christ.  No wonder God saved the world through death.  The death of Jesus released great love and hope that still influences those who believe in Him.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: